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THE FABULOUS PICTURE SHOW
Team Qatar
A suspenseful "competition" movie that closely examines culture and diversity.
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2010 07:32 GMT

The government of Arab emirate Qatar has hired a few recent Oxford graduates to coach the country's first national high-school debate team.

Led by the springy, quintessentially witty Brit Alex Just, the five multicultural 15- to 17-year-olds are setting their sights high: their first competitive debate will take place at the World Schools Debating Championship in Washington, DC. 

Team Qatar follows a group of students as they undertake a crash course in debate

Team Qatar follows the group on a whirlwind crash course in debate that takes them from Doha to London to New York.

A suspenseful "competition" movie that also closely examines culture, Team Qatar invites us into the lives of a group of young Middle Easterners with diverse backgrounds and attitudes.

Their candid conversations about religion and politics, captured by director Liz Mermin's fly-on-the-wall camera, reveal varying degrees of worldliness, but always challenge stereotypes.

Liz Mermin and Alex Just join Amanda Palmer, Al Jazeera's head of entertainment, and the FPS audience for a lively and funny Q&A session about their experiences with Team Qatar.

Part two:

Alejandro Amenábar

Amenabar directs Rachel Weisz in Agora

Next to Pedro Almodovar, Oscar-winning director Alejandro Amenábar is arguably today's most famous and successful Spanish filmmaker. A film school dropout at 23, his career has rocketed since his first feature, Thesis

With such films as The Sea Inside, Open Your Eyes, and The Others, Amenábar has alternated between Spain and Hollywood, carving a reputation for himself as a jack-of-all trades filmmaker with a style all his own - one that he shows off in his latest film, the epic Agora.

His biggest project to date, Agora, starring Rachel Weisz, is a drama set in ancient Egypt. It follows philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria and the two men who vie for her love. But essentially, it is about the fall on an empire, set at a time of a Christian uprising against the ruling Romans. 

FPS correspondent Lama Matta talks to Amenábar as he argues that his film is a warning not to repeat history through fanaticism.

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson in The Messenger

He will always be remembered as Woody, the lovably dim bartender from the long-running sitcom Cheers, but over the past two decades, Woody Harrelson has carved out an impressive film career as an often prickly leading man. 

And with his latest, The Messenger, about a veteran soldier whose job it is to hand-deliver death notices to relatives of fallen soldiers, he scored his second Oscar nomination.

Harrelson speaks to Amanda Palmer about reconciling his portrayal of a soldier with his strident anti-war views, and goes on to discuss global politics in the outspoken manner to which both his fans and detractors have become accustomed. 

This episode of The Fabulous Picture Show can be seen from Thursday, March 4, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 0600, 1630; Friday: 0130, 0830; Saturday: 1130, 2330; Sunday: 0630, 2030; Monday: 1430; Tuesday: 1930; Wednesday: 0300.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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