Qatar’s decision to scrap the popular Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) was a “disappointment” to its celebrity backer, legendary Hollywood actor Robert De Niro.
The Doha Film Institute (DFI) announced in May 2013 its cultural partnership with De Niro's New York-based Tribeca Enterprises had ended after four years.
DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater said: "Through the past four editions of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which were organised in cultural partnership with Tribeca Enterprises, we achieved our fundamental goals of creating a vibrant grassroots film industry in Qatar. We are thankful to them for their invaluable insights.”
DFI claimed in a statement at the time the partnership, which brought the world-famous Tribeca Film Festival to the Qatari capital, was concluded mutually.
However, at an event in Doha this weekend De Niro said he was “disappointed” to see the end of the relationship.
“That, unfortunately, came to an end. I wish it hadn’t. I was disappointed when that finished,” he told Doha News. “To keep things going you have to show the world and the public you are willing to continue it on and on, that it is not just going to go away but that it is a tradition. That is what we wanted Tribeca to be about. That’s what all festivals which have been around for 20, 30 or 50 years are about. I was disappointed that it stopped, it shouldn’t have. But you don’t have control over the country.”
New York's Tribeca Film Festival was founded by De Niro after the September 11 attacks and Qatar was the first venue to host the event outside its home country.
The Oscar-winning actor was in Doha for the opening of the opening of the world’s largest Nobu restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel.
De Niro co-owns the upscale Japanese brand and was joined at the event by the founder, chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.