Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed will be presented with the Arab Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival. Hamed, whose career spans four decades and includes almost 40 films and countless television shows, joins the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Sami Bouajila, Omar Sharif, Faten Hamamah, and Adel Imam, who have all taken home the award in previous years.
Hamed first made a name for himself in 1978 with the TV series Dreams of the Fly Boy. That show kickstarted his long-running collaboration with actor Adel Imam, with the pair going on to work on Al Ghoul in 1983. This was followed by 1992’s Al Erhab wel Kabab, a black comedy about government corruption and the working class of Egypt, and Toyour El Zalam (1995), which focused on political corruption and the Muslim brotherhood’s dogma in Egypt.
Hamed and Imam also partnered on the critically-acclaimed The Yacoubian Building (2006), which was directed by Hamed’s son, Marwan.
Despite his success, Hamed has had to overcome many hurdles to get his work on the silver screen. The touching and renowned drama Al Baree (1997) faced a lengthy censorship battle due to its controversial political message. Written in the mid-1980s, it was not released until 19 years after its production and only after the ending was changed.
To help bring his and other screenwriters’ work to the screen, Hamed established his own production company, Wahid Hamed Film Productions.
A regular at international film festivals, he is no stranger to critical acclaim and awards, with his films El Le’eb Maa El Kobar (1991), Ehky ya Scheherazade (2009), and Ot W Far (2015) singled out for praise. His most recent television series, Al Gama’a (“The Brotherhood”) (2010) and Return of Al Gama’a (2017) tackled the history of Imam Hassan Al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the group’s impact across Egypt.
“The longevity and diversity of Wahid Hamed’s career is testament not only to his great talent, but also to the importance of talented writers to the industry,” said Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF’s chairman. “Screenwriting is a unique art that is the backbone of any story, without which directors could not build a compelling and impactful tale. We are delighted to welcome Mr. Hamed to Dubai to honor his talents with the Arab Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Expressing his gratitude at the award, Hamed said: “I am very touched to receive this prestigious award from the Dubai International Film Festival and look forward to accepting the award in person in Dubai this December.”
This year’s DIFF, the 14th edition of the event, will be held from December 6-13.