United Kingdom, (2009), Not Rated, Documentary, 56 mins
Qatar is the world’s richest country. Debate competitions are training ground for future world leaders. So when the Queen of Qatar charged two young Oxford graduates with creating the country’s first national high-school debate team and taking them to the world championships, the stakes were high. TEAM QATAR follows the journey of five ambitious teens as they are initiated into the cutthroat subculture of competitive high-school debate. Aware that their region is associated in Western minds with oil, money, and jihad, they are determined to show they are not closed-minded extremists – and even more determined to win. Training in London, Doha, and New York, they learn a lot about the world as they hone their debating skills, open their minds, and build up a sharp sense of humour.
TEAM QATAR is the fifth film by director Liz Mermin, whose other films include The Beauty Academy of Kabul, Office Tigers, Shot in Bombay, and Horses. This 90-minute director’s cut premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and has been screened around the world, and was broadcast on BBC/Storyville. A shorter version was shown on and PBS.
Director: Liz Mermin
Producer: Lawrence Elman
Associate Producer: Rachael Swindale