Academy Award winning actress Cate Blanchett presented the sixth IWC Filmmaker Award to Haifaa Al Mansour from Saudi Arabia for her project, “Miss Camel”. The award ceremony was held at the IWC “For the Love of Cinema” gala event in the One&Only Royal Mirage’s Arabian Court during the 14th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). The winner received a grant of USD 100,000 for her project and an IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36 with a blue dial from the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer.
The winning project, “Miss Camel” by Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, tells the story of Hayla, a blossoming Saudi teen who will do anything to escape her arranged marriage and fulfil her goal of attending art school outside of Saudi Arabia. While scheming to make her way to the in-person interviews for the art college in a neighbouring Gulf state, Hayla makes a startling discovery at her cousin’s wedding – she can talk to animals.
The IWC “For the Love of Cinema” gala was presented by TV personalities Raya Abirached and Wissam Breidy. Among the celebrities attending were Sonam Kapoor, Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, Tuba Büyüküstün and Jessica Kahawaty. Other international and local personalities included French actor Clovis Cornillac, Rym Saidi and Egyptian actress Yousra. The main theme of the gala event was the involvement and achievements of women in cinema and filmmaking. Highlights of the evening were a dance routine and performance by talented singer Christine Said. The after-party was kicked off by the soulful powerhouse duo from London, HanLei.
Cate Blanchett said: “It is my pleasure to again be part of the IWC Filmmakers Award Jury, I am always intrigued by the different voices and perspectives of the projects we get to judge.”
Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, said: “Being storytellers ourselves, we deeply appreciate the creativity, courage and passion that talented filmmakers invest into their work and we are proud to support them with the IWC Filmmaker Award.”
DIFF Chairman and member of the IWC Filmmakers Award Jury Abdulhamid Juma said: “The number and quality of entries that we receive continue to astound us, and this year was no different. We appreciate the vision and creativity of the filmmakers of the region and, through this award, we aim to help them make this vision a reality.”