The IWC Filmmaker Award went to Waleed Al Shehhi  for his film Dolphins. The award was presented by Academy Award winner and IWC Friend of the Brand Cate Blanchett on the opening night of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).
Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen and DIFF collaborated for the second consecutive year to recognise talented filmmakers from the region. Dolphins was chosen by a panel of international film industry experts.
Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, commented on the DIFF and IWC partnership stating: “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,”.
“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,” added Cate Blanchett .
The actress 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.
Joining Cate Blanchett among the nearly 200 international VIP guests and celebrities who attended the “For The Love of Cinema” gala dinner hosted by IWC 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 Yıldırım and Burçin Terzioğlu Yıldırım. 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. After the concert, Saint-Tropez DJ Jack E kept the party going at full swing.
The three other finalists nominated for the award were Saudi Arabian Director Faiza Ambah for her film A Reverence for Spiders, Kuwaiti Director Zeyad Alhusaini for How I Got There, and Hussain Alriffaei for Siege.