Abdullah Boushahri’s The Water wins 2014 IWC Award at DIFF

Emily Blunt presented this year’s IWC award to Abdullah Boushahri for The Water. The presentation of the US$100,000 (Dh367,315) fund to help move projects from page to screen took place at the glittering For the Love of Cinema gala event at The One and Only Hotel, The Palm.
British actress Emily Blunt attends the IWC Filmmaker Awards 2014 & gala dinner in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
British actress Emily Blunt attends the IWC Filmmaker Awards 2014 & gala dinner in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // In a glittering ceremony on Thursday, Emily Blunt presented this year’s IWC Award to Abdullah Boushahri for The Water.

The awarding of the US$100,000 (Dh367,315) to help move projects from page to screen took place at the For the Love of Cinema gala event at The One and Only Hotel, The Palm.

The Devil Wears Prada star Blunt was chairwoman of this year’s judging panel and said it had not been easy to choose between the final three scripts on the shortlist.

“It was a very difficult decision because all the scripts had very different, unique tones, ideas and writing styles,” she said.

“So really what I was looking for was that voice that stood out from the crowd, and personally I feel we made the right decision.”

Blunt said the losing finalists should not be too downhearted.

“I think it’s a tough industry and you’ve just got to put a helmet on and remember not take anything too personally. I really hope that all the films get to be made eventually.”

The actress was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe on Wednesday for her role in Into the Woods, which closes Dubai International Film Festival on Wednesday.

“I’m thrilled, especially for the film,” Blunt said. “It was truly a joy to do it.”

She said she had enjoyed her time in Dubai, although she was disappointed that she did not have chance to visit the desert.

Mark Forster, director of Quantum of Solace and Monster’s Ball, was also on this year’s IWC panel, and was equally impressed with all three finalists.

“There’s a real depth to them. They take me back to some of the classic days of Italian cinema,” Forster said. “They bring to mind films like The Bicycle Thief, you know? Real storytellers’ films.”

Boushahri had earlier directed the feature Losing Ahmad, which made its world premiere at Diff in 2006 and went on to win the Best Documentary in the Gulf at the Emirates Film Competition in 2007.

It toured more than 30 international film festivals.

The Water tells the story of a drought that hit the small city of Kuwait at the start 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, Taiba.

The lovers face social obstacles as the city’s residents turn to desperate measures to get water.

“It’s a film about thirst – a topic so related to our region and the desert,” Boushahri says.

“It’s the source of our living and survival. But my film interprets its many different meanings, even down to it being something some have and others don’t.

“The film also explores our thirst for love and we touch upon classism too: what divides us and what unites people.”

Although the $100,000 may not be enough to make the film, Boushahri is convinced it will be a huge boost, not just in fiscal terms.

“Well, even just the award itself will help finance the film,” he said. “It won’t make it completely, of course, but will attract investors.

“Nomination for the IWC award is recognition of so many great films embarking upon a journey.”

To see how the IWC award helps to bring films to life, movie lovers can check out the gala premiere of last year’s winner, Waleed Al Shehhi’s Dolphins, set in Ras Al Khaimah, at 9pm on Friday.

There will be a second screening at Vox 9, Mall of the Emirates, on Saturday at 6.15pm.

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Published: December 11, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one