Doha Film Institute to co-finance 'The Idol'

Film tells the true story of Mohammad Assaf, a wedding singer from Gaza who found fame after winning Arab Idol
The family and friends of Mohammad Assaf celebrate after he won the final of the Arab Idol competition. (AFP/Getty Images)
The family and friends of Mohammad Assaf celebrate after he won the final of the Arab Idol competition. (AFP/Getty Images)

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Doha Film Institute has announced that it has signed a co-financing agreement on The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayr), a movie directed by Academy Award-nominated Palestinian Hany Abu-Assad.

The Idol, which will have its world premiere at next month's Toronto International Film, tells the inspirational true story of Mohammad Assaf, a wedding singer from Gaza who became a worldwide sensation after winning the live-singing competition Arab Idol in 2013.

The Doha Film Institute's participation in The Idol follows its recent co-financing role on Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, an animated feature film.

Hollywood actress Salma Hayek produced the film and is one of the voice cast. The film is currently on release in the US.

The institute's co-financing division seeks to invest in projects that are culturally relevant and commercially viable, with the underlying aim of strengthening the film industry of Qatar by facilitating opportunities for collaboration and development for Qatari Filmmakers.

Doha Film Institute CEO Fatma Al Remaihi said: "Hany Abu-Assad is one of the most significant filmmakers from the Arab world and we are honoured to be partners on The Idol.

"Mohammed Assaf's remarkable story, the many struggles he had to overcome, and his love and commitment to his family and community in Gaza had a powerful impact on us.

"In the hands of a great filmmaker like Hany Abu-Assad, this story will undoubtedly continue to resonate with people all over the world. We are really looking forward to sharing the film with audiences at its world premiere in Toronto next month."

In addition to its co-financing slate, the institute supports first- and second-time filmmakers from around the world and established filmmakers from the MENA region through its grants programme which has funded more than 220 films since 2010.

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