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Press Release / January 28 2019

Doha Debates Announces Plans to Fund Short Documentaries at Sundance Film Festival

Press release, January 28, 2019

At a celebration of the documentary community during the Sundance Film Festival last night, the revitalized and expanded Doha Debates franchise announced it is inviting documentary makers to submit proposals for funding of short documentaries and interactive works on six of the world’s most urgent challenges.

The newly relaunched Doha Debates will feature live debates, digital videos, a TV series, blogs and podcasts on the planet’s most pressing issues, with the goal of overcoming differences and finding solutions through constructive debate. The original Doha Debates program was televised globally by BBC World News from 2005–2012. The new Doha Debates will reach and engage people around the world through a variety of distribution platforms. Doha Debates is a production of Qatar Foundation.

The funded documentaries and interactive works will be showcased as part of Doha Debates’ programs on the first season’s topics: the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs and society, the need for global citizenship, the effects of water shortage, the loss of trust in institutions, rethinking capitalism, and gender inequality.

The new Doha Debates team includes managing director Amjad Atallah, moderator Ghida Fakhry and correspondent Nelufar Hedayat. Doha Debates’ strategic partners include TED, Fortify Rights and Shared_Studios. Doha Debates’ creative contributors include 2017 Oscar nominee Daphne Matziaraki and 2003 Sundance Best Documentary Director and Audience Award winner Jonathan Karsh, whose company is developing a TV program around the core principles of Doha Debates.

Commenting on Doha Debates’ appeal for documentary proposals, Atallah said, “At Doha Debates, we aim to find solutions — personal and global — to the failed economics and politics facing every one of us, in every part of the globe. We believe that we can find these solutions by including global voices, representing everyone impacted by these challenges, through civil discourse and debate. And what better way to connect audiences, elevate new voices and inspire solutions than through the power of film?”

Oscar nominee Daphne Matziaraki added, “The refugee crisis is far from over. Now, we all need to be more aware and more involved than ever before. I’m thrilled to be part of the first series of Doha Debates, and to be part of this urgent conversation.”

Sundance Film Festival honoree Jonathan Karsh said, “We live in extremely divided times, and the power of documentary can help bridge those divides. Doha Debates is dedicated to finding filmmakers who can tell stories that offer real solutions to the world’s most urgent problems and prove we never have to settle for a divided world. I’m thrilled to partner with Doha Debates on this incredibly important mission.”


Documentary proposal submission guidelines can be found here:

Doha Debates’ Season 1 video preview:

More information:


Media Contact:

Sumi Alkebsi

Communications Officer

Phone: +1 202-609-7916

Email: [email protected]