The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has selected acclaimed Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed to receive this year’s Arab Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming edition of the festival in December.
The award, which is dedicated to honouring the world’s greatest film actors, writers, directors and producers, celebrates Hamed as an illustrious writer with “achievements in screenwriting and outstanding contributions to the industry,” according to a press release by the festival.

With an extensive career in cinema and television spanning four decades, Hamed is renowned for his diverse work in almost 40 films and over 20 television titles.

“The longevity and diversity of Wahid Hamed’s career is a testament not only to his great talent, but also to the importance of talented writers in the industry. Screenwriting is a unique art that is the backbone of any story, without which directors could not build a compelling and impactful tale,” said DIFF’s chairman Abdulhamid Juma.

Hamed has said he is “touched to receive this prestigious award.”

Hamed began his writing career in the late 1960s after completing his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

It was ‘Dreams of the Fly Boy’ (1978), the film that started his long-time collaboration with actor Adel Imam, that is considered his breakthrough.

The pair went on to work together on several modern classics including Al-Ghoul (1983), El-Le’eb Maa El-Kobar (1991), Al-Erhab wel Kabab (1992), Toyour El-Zalam (1995), and the screenplay for the critically acclaimed ‘The Yacoubian Building’ (2006), which Hamed’s son Marwan directed.

Hamed has also worked alongside many esteemed Egyptian directors, including Yousry Nasrallah, Atef El-Tayeb and Sherif Arafa, among others.

Some of his more recent notable works include the films Ehky ya Scheherazade (2009) and Ot W Far (2015), as well as television series Al-Gamaa (The Brotherhood) (2010) and Return of Al-Gamaa (2017).

Hamed has often had to overcome difficulty to have his work reach the silver screen because of his daring and controversial themes.

“Written in the mid-80s, the touching and renowned drama Al-Baree (1997) faced a lengthy censorship battle due to its controversial political messages. It was not released until 19 years after production and only after the ending was changed,” the festival's press release says.

Hamed later went on to establish his own production company, Wahid Hamed Film Productions, to help bring his and others’ work to cinema and television.

Previous recipients of DIFF’s Arab Lifetime Achievement Award include Gabriel Yared, Samuel L Jackson, Sami Bouajila, Omar Sharif, Faten Hamamah, Adel Imam, Jameel Rateb, Sabah, Morgan Freeman, Sean Penn, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Daoud Abdel-Sayed, Youssef Chahine, Rachid Bouchareb, Souleymane Cisse, Nabil El-Maleh, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Terry Gilliam, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Michael Apted, and Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz.