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DIFFPress Releases 2016Submissions Open for IWC Filmmaker Award: Official ‘Festival-Time’ Partner Reaffirms Commitment to DIFF at 13th Edition of Festival
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Submissions Open for IWC Filmmaker Award: Official ‘Festival-Time’ Partner Reaffirms Commitment to DIFF at 13th Edition of Festival
Tue May 24, 2016
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Prestigious award returns to the festival with a grant of USD 100,000 for exceptional talent.

Dubai, 24 May 2016 – IWC Schaffhausen, Official ‘Festival-Time’ Partner of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), returns with one of the festival’s most prestigious awards, and today announced that submissions for the fifth IWC Filmmaker Award are open. The winner of the annual award will once again receive a grant of USD 100,000 to help them bring their ideas to fruition on the big screen. The return of the IWC Filmmaker Award confirms the brand’s commitment to nurturing and fostering the growth of the film industry both regionally and globally, and to supporting budding filmmakers on their journeys to stardom.

At last year’s DIFF, the IWC Filmmaker Award recognized the incredible talents of aspiring Emirati director Layla Kaylif for her film “The Letter Writer”, a romantic drama which tells a story of deceit and lies as a young boy, Khalifa, uses his skills as a letter writer for personal gain. Layla Kaylif was presented with the award by IWC brand ambassador Dev Patel at the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai, along with a grant of USD 100,000 and an IWC timepiece.

Esteemed members of the jury presiding over the IWC Filmmaker Award in 2015 were Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, Head of the IWC Filmmakers Jury, and Tunisian actress Hend Sabry, Member of the IWC Filmmakers Jury.

Commenting on the IWC Filmmaker Award, Hany Abu-Assad said: “The IWC Filmmaker Award is such an incredible initiative, and it was an honour to be a member of the jury and to have the opportunity to see the unique techniques and plots used by each of the entrants. Last year, the calibre of submissions was so high that trying to pick a winner was almost impossible. To see the IWC Filmmaker Award returning to DIFF for a fifth year in 2016 is wonderful. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for Arab filmmakers to make a name for themselves on the global stage.”

Hend Sabry added: “In an industry where talent is rife but opportunities are limited, the IWC Filmmaker Award helps great scripts receive exposure where they may otherwise have gone unnoticed. This is vital to the growth of cinema across the globe. I hope that the award will long continue to support and nurture the growth of Arab cinema, and I’m sure that the standard and the number of submissions will only grow as the film industry continues to blossom in the region.”

DIFF returns in 2016 for its 13th edition, and the IWC Filmmaker Award will be presented for the fifth consecutive year. Entries can be submitted online via the DIFF website,, from now until 1 August 2016. A final shortlist of three entrants will be drawn up by an independent jury. IWC Schaffhausen will then present the award to the winner at a glamorous awards dinner during the 13th edition of the DIFF, which runs from 7 to 14 December 2016.

Speaking about the award, Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, said: “In the last few years, we have actively nurtured quality storytelling by talented filmmakers from the region, and of course we hope that these talents will further establish and position themselves. It is a great pleasure to partner with the esteemed Dubai International Film Festival and to work towards the common goal of helping new and established filmmakers from the region to find the ideal platforms for their projects.”

DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma added: “Year after year DIFF strives to provide more and better opportunities to young and talented filmmakers from the region, and this year we are honoured to be working alongside IWC Schaffhausen once again. At the heart of the festival is a desire to celebrate stories and cultures from around the region, and the IWC Filmmaker Award offers a golden opportunity to share these stories with the world.”
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