(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) A 14-year-old Emirati schoolboy, who has had no formal training as an actor, has already accepted his first award at Cannes.
Ahmed Al Dahouri, from Ras Al Khaimah, accepted the Gold Dolphin at this year's Cannes Corporate Media and TV Festival on behalf of the makers behind environmental film The Turtle, which won the top award in the environmental category.
The film was made for the UAE Pavilion at this year's World Expo, held in Korea, but it was the performance by Al Dahouri, who attends Ras Al Khaimah's Applied Technology School, which received special praise as "deeply emotional", "inspirational", and "mature".
Al-Dahouri said he was very passionate about environmental issues, and was very excited to have been representing his country in the film about the plight of turtles in the region affected by plastic bags, which look like jellyfish.
"Their favourite food is jellyfish, so they keep eating so (many) plastic bags and they eat so much (that) they float, and they can't go under the sea, so they die."
During his acceptance speech, Al Dahouri told the crowd of film producers, directors and actors that he was shocked to be standing on stage after only his first performance. But he also used the speech as a call to action to other film producers to make films which highlight environmental concerns.
"Highlighting such issues to the general public can have a really positive influence. As a young person who worries about what we are doing to our planet, I believe that we have a responsibility to influence change. I think film can play a big role in this." The schoolboy, who said learning to act meant he had to overcome his shyness, said while he likes studying chemistry and physics at school, his dream is to get to Hollywood one day.
"After the Cannes ceremony, five people (came up to me) saying I'm great. They said 'You have a nice future in film and acting'. They said 'You're cool, keep it up'."
Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said he found the film both moving and engaging and had been deeply impressed by the quality of the production, particularly the performances by Emirati actors. A message was also received from Minister of State Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimi, who thanked Al Dahouri for his strong performance in the film and also for his recent contribution to 'Ali's Film' in support of Dubai's bid to host World Expo in 2020.
"You are a great ambassador for the UAE and we hope that you will be with us when we win the bid to host Expo 2020," she told Al Dahouri. The Cannes Corporate Media and TV Awards is one of the most important festivals worldwide for corporate films, online media and TV documentaries and is the biggest of its kind in Europe. The present festival included 666 entries from 35 countries.