Dubai, 16 December 2014 – Golden Globe Winner and IWC Schaffhausen brand ambassador Emily Blunt presented the IWC Filmmaker Award to Abdullah Boushahri for his film “The Water”. For the third consecutive year, Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC, ‘Official Sponsor’ and ‘Festival-Time’
Partner of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), collaborated with the Festival to recognize one talented filmmaker from the region with the esteemed award. Held at the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai, the “For the Love of Cinema” awards ceremony was a prestigious gala held to honour the winner whose film was chosen by a jury of internationally renowned film industry experts such as actress Emily Blunt and film director Marc Forster. The star-studded event counted a private concert by American musician Aloe Blacc among its highlights.
“For a third successive year, we have received excellent submissions from the region and are as always greatly impressed with the way GCC filmmakers tell their stories. It gives us great pleasure and honour to be able to contribute towards supporting local talent and developing creativity, thus boosting the quality of filmmaking in the region as a whole,” commented Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.
Speaking at the event, Emily Blunt said: “What a great experience being part of the IWC Filmmaker Award jury has been. The region is a treasure chest of stories and thus the submissions were brilliant. I am proud to participate with such a noble initiative that supports the ambitions and aspirations of the region’s filmmakers. It was a real task picking out the winner from the entries received which each had the ability to touch the hearts and minds of audiences the world over.”
Actress Emily Blunt selected the winning project together with Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of DIFF, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of DIFF, Mark Adams, film critic, Karoline Huber, Brand Director of IWC Schaffhausen Middle East & India, and Marc Forster, IWC brand ambassador and award-winning film director. “I like the idea of an award for artists who contribute to local storytelling by letting their images
speak. Filmmaking is still one of the most popular instruments to entertain people because it can transform passion and love into a unique story and give local and regional cultures a voice,” said Marc Forster.
Guest of honour Emily Blunt was joined by international VIP guests and celebrities, including other notable IWC brand ambassadors, at the “For the Love of Cinema” gala dinner hosted by IWC and DIFF. Among the guests present were IWC brand ambassador His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Turki Al Faisal, IWC brand ambassador and master of ceremonies Raya Abirached, celebrities from the region such as Ali F. Mostafa, Diala Makki, Hussein Bazaza as well as international celebrities such as Lee Daniels and Virginia Madsen. The star-studded gala dinner was wrapped up with a solo performance by IWC brand ambassador Aloe Blacc. Following the dinner, the doors opened for the after-party where Aloe Blacc and his band performed for an additional 500 guests. The evening ended with DJ Jack E playing the latest hits till the early hours.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO …
This year, three filmmakers were shortlisted for the award: Emirati filmmaker Saeed Salmeen Al-Murry for his project “Going to Heaven”, Saudi Arabian filmmaker and actress Ahd Kamel for her film “Sandfish” and Kuwaiti director and producer Abdullah Boushahri for his project “The Water”.
Abdullah Boushahri was chosen as the winner by the revered jury, and was presented with the USD 100,000 prize by Emily Blunt. Boushahri also received an exclusive IWC timepiece.
Abdullah Boushahri produced the feature length film “Losing Ahmad”, which made its world premiere at DIFF in 2006, going on to win the Best Documentary in the Gulf at the Emirates Film Competition 2007 and touring more than 30 international film festivals around the world. In 2008, Abdullah Boushahri was recognized as the British Council Award Winner of the year for his achievements. “The Water” tells the story of a sweeping wave of drought which hit the small city of Kuwait at the beginning of the last century before the discovery of oil. In the city’s dry alleys we find Mohammed, a young man with a great, melodious
voice, who is in love with a beautiful girl named Taiba. The two lovers face a multitude of social obstacles as the city’s residents turn to desperate measures to get water.