Dubai Film Fest: Third Annual IWC Filmmaker Prize Awarded To Kuwaiti Drama

Emily Blunt was on hand to give out the $100,000 check

Emily Blunt provided much of the Hollywood glitz at the Dubai International Film Festival’s third annual IWC Filmmaker Award, which has doled out $100,000 to Gulf film projects at each event since 2012.

The Into the Woods actress was the chair on this year’s jury, which selected Kuwaiti drama The Water, by Abdullah Boushahri, as the 2014 winner from a shortlist of three scripts.

"It was a very difficult decision because all the scripts had very different, unique tones, ideas and writing styles," she said on the red carpet, adding that they were looking for a "voice that stood out from the crowd."

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The winning project, The Water, tells the story of a drought that struck the small Gulf state of Kuwait at the start of the 19th century before it was transformed with the discovery of oil.

"It’s a film about thirst, which is a topic very much related to our region and the desert," said Boushahri before the award was announced.

Last year’s winner, Dolphins, by United Arab Emirates director Waleed Al Shehhi, has now been completed and will be having its world premiere in Dubai on Friday evening.

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The second day of the Dubai International Film Fest on Thursday saw the regional premiere of Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, WWI drama The Water Diviner. In attendance was the film’s star Olga Kurylenko, who told local newspaper The National that working with the first-time director had been a great experience.

“He really understands actors because he’s an actor himself,” she said.

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