IWC Schaffhausen and the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) collaborated for the second consecutive year to give talented film-makers from the region the opportunity to win the award . Held on 7 December 2013 at the One&Only Royal Mirage, the exclusive “For the Love of Cinema” IWC Filmmaker Award Gala honoured Waleed Al Shehhi, whose film  “Dolphins” was chosen by a panel of international film industry experts. A private concert by Rebecca Ferguson was also among the evening’s highlights.

“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,” Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, commented on the partnership.

“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 was heading 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.

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”.

Written by author and poet Ahmed Salmeen and directed by award-winning Emirati Waleed Al Shehhi, “Dolphins” 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, which leads him and his friend Hilal on an unusual adventure with an extraordinary outcome.