Movie star Robert de Niro presented the top Audience Awards at the first Doha Tribeca film festival to a Palestinian film and to a documentary made in Qatar.

The 50,000-dollar award for best film went on Sunday night to “Team Qatar” a documentary directed by Britain’s Liz Mermin that tells the story of a group of high school students taking part in an international debate.

“Pomegranates and Myrrh” directed by Palestinian director Najwa Najjar was also awarded 50,000 dollars after being chosen by the audience as the best Arab movie in the festival, co-organised by New York’s Tribeca festival.

The film stars Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas who plays a woman torn between being faithful to her husband who is imprisoned by Israel and her attraction to her folk dance trainer.

Thirty-one films, including 11 from the Middle East, were in competition for the awards at the festival which began on Thursday.

Founded by de Niro in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York in 2001, Tribeca film festival aims to reinvigorate the cultural life in the city’s island of Manhattan.

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