Academy Award winner and IWC Friend of the Brand Cate Blanchett presented the second IWC Filmmaker Award to Waleed Al Shehhi, for his film “Dolphins”. “For the Love of Cinema” IWC Filmmaker Award Gala which was held on 7th December 2013 at the One&Only Royal Mirage, collaborated for the second consecutive year to give talented film-makers from the region the opportunity to win the award. Swiss luxury watches manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen and the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF teamed up to put this event together.
Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, commented on the partnership saying “We believe new voices and viewpoints should be heard and are convinced that talent and stories from the Gulf region deserve an international stage. We are proud to be a partner of the Dubai International Film Festival. Through the IWC Filmmaker Award we are able to contribute to Arab storytelling in general and to the funding of a new film project for both established and up-and-coming directors here in the Middle East in particular.”
Actress Cate Blanchett headed the jury for the second year in a row, and was supported by fellow jury members Georges Kern, DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali and film critic and consultant Fionnuala Halligan. She says “It is an honour to return to the Dubai International Film Festival and collaborate with IWC in selecting this year’s winner, Waleed Al Shehhi. I feel privileged to be on hand to witness the impressive talent from the film-makers in this region and support their aspirations,”
Nearly 200 international VIP guests and celebrities attended the “For The Love of Cinema” gala dinner hosted by CIW and DIFF were television presenter and master of ceremonies Diala Makki, His Royal Highness and IWC Friend of the Brand Prince Abdulaziz Turki Al Faisal, actors Martin Sheen and Michael B. Jordan, directors Mohammed Al Turki and Ali Mostafa, Turkish actors Meltem Cumbul, Murat Y?ld?r?m and Burçin Terzio?lu Y?ld?r?m. The glamorous gala dinner was followed by a private concert for the guests by young British singer, songwriter and X-Factor runner-up Rebecca Ferguson.
Four finalists were nominated for the award – Saudi Arabian director Faiza Ambah for her film “A Reverence for Spiders”, Kuwaiti director Zeyad Alhusaini for “How I Got There”, Hussain Alriffaei for “Siege” and Waleed Al Shehhi for “Dolphins”. Waleed Al Shehhi was chosen as the winner by the esteemed jury, and was presented with the USD 100,000 prize from Cate Blanchett personally. Waleed Al Shehhi also received an exclusive IWC timepiece engraved with the words “For the Love of Cinema”.
“Dolphins” which is written by author and poet Ahmed Salmeen and directed by award-winning Emirati Waleed Al Shehhi, revolves around Fadel, an ambulance driver, who is divorced and has one son, Saud, who lives with his mother Kawthar. Saud lives in a state of uncertainty due to the separation of his parents. This leads him and his friend Hilal on an unusual adventure with an extraordinary outcome.