DOHA (AFP) – A movie that sparked controversy when it opened on general release in France this week will headline the Doha Tribeca Film Festival next month, the organisers said on Sunday.
French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb’s action-thriller “Outside the Law,” about a 1945 massacre of mostly unarmed Algerian civilians by French soldiers, will open the festival which starts on October 26.
The Doha-based US-inspired event is a cultural partnership between the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises.
New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, founded by US actor Robert De Niro to reinvigorate cultural life in Manhattan after the September 11, 2001 attacks, helped to organise the first Doha festival last year.
“Outside The Law, the film that disturbs,” was Le Parisien newspaper’s front-page headline on Wednesday as Bouchareb’s controversial movie hit French screens.
It opens with the massacre in the town of Setif, and focuses on three Algerian brothers who survive and then live in France where they join Algeria’s armed independence movement.
When the film was first shown in France at Cannes in May, riot police were deployed outside the festival hall to hold back demonstrators.
And at a pre-release screening in Marseille on Monday, far-right National Front members and former French residents of colonial Algeria brandished banners denouncing “French financing for an anti-French film.”
Ten productions have also been selected to take part in the Doha festival’s Arab film competition, among them four world premieres, the organisers said on Sunday.
“We are nurturing the new generation of film makers, supporting regional and international film financing, and supporting the new wave in Arab film making,” festival director Amanda Palmer said.
A number of foreign films will also be screened, including “Miral” by Julian Schnabel about an orphan from Jerusalem and “The Conspirator” by Robert Redford about the assassination of US president Abraham Lincoln.
Cash prizes totaling 410,000 dollars are on offer in the five-day festival hosted by the gas-rich Gulf emirate of Qatar, Palmer said.