Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Cate Blanchett presents IWC Filmmaker Award to Emirati Waleed Al Shehhi

Waleed Al Shehhi won for his direction in the film Dolphins, which follows an only child who is forced to deal with the struggles and uncertainty of his parent's separation
Waleed Al Shehhi is presented with his IWC Filmaker Award by Georges Kern, left, and Cate Blanchett during day two of the 10th Annual Dubai International Film Festival. Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for DIFF
Waleed Al Shehhi is presented with his IWC Filmaker Award by Georges Kern, left, and Cate Blanchett during day two of the 10th Annual Dubai International Film Festival. Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for DIFF

An Emirati director, Waleed Al Shehhi, won the IWC Filmmaker Award along with Dh367,000 in prize money at a gala dinner on Saturday night.

Stars from stage and screen gathered as Al Shehhi collected the accolade from Cate Blanchett, the head of the jury that picked the winner.

“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,” said Blanchett at the event, which was held at the One&Only Royal Mirage. “I feel privileged to be on hand to witness the impressive talent from the filmmakers in this region and support their aspirations.”

Al Shehhi won over stiff competition from three other Arab filmmakers and looked stunned as he made his way to the stage in front of more than 200 celebrities and VIPs.

The second exclusive For the Love of Cinema IWC Filmmaker Award ceremony was held in conjunction with the Dubai International Film Festival. The Academy Award-winning Blanchett, best known for roles in Elizabeth, The Lord of the Rings, The Aviator and The Hobbit, said the decision was a tough one.

Al Shehhi collected the award for his direction in the film Dolphins, written by the author and poet Ahmed Salmeen. No stranger to picking up prizes, Al Shehhi, who won the Best Documentary Award at the Jordan Film Festival for his documentary film Ahmad Suliman, said Dolphins follows Saud, an only child who is forced to deal with the struggles and uncertainty of his parent’s separation. Isolation leads him to find a friend in Hilal and the pair set off on an unusual adventure with an extraordinary outcome. Other Al Shehhi film credits include Aushba’s Well in 2004, The Water Guard in 2007 and 2008’s Baab.

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Updated: December 14, 2013 04:00 AM