A scene from the movie The Turtle, an environmental film made for the UAE Pavilion at EXPO 2012 Yeosu, Korea. Image Credit: Supplied picture

An environmental film, The Turtle, made for the UAE Pavilion at EXPO 2012 Yeosu, Korea, has won the top award of its class at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Festival.

Following on from its enthusiastic reception in Korea where the UAE Pavilion achieved a Silver Medal, beating all its competitors except China, the film’s success in Cannes was warmly received by a large gathering of some of the world’s top film-makers.

The star of the evening and the actor chosen to receive the award on behalf of both the filmmakers and the UAE’s National Media Council, was Ahmad Al Dahouri, a young schoolboy from Ras Al Khaimah, who has no formal training as an actor but whose performance in The Turtle has been variously described as “inspirational, deeply emotional and mature”.

In a speech of appreciation at the award ceremony, in front of an audience of commissioning agents, film producers, directors and experienced actors, Al Dahouri thanked the production team for guiding his first steps into the world of film and mentioned that he was quite shocked to be standing on stage after his first performance.

He also made a plea that film producers would continue to play their role in raising awareness of key environmental issues.

“This film has focused a bright light on just one of the actions the UAE is taking to reduce pollution and protect the environment”, he said. “There are many others and 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,” he added.

Congratulations to Al Dahouri and the film production team were received from key figures in the UAE including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who commented that 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 Al Hashemi, 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”, she told the young Al Dahouri, “and we hope that you will be with us when we win the bid to host EXPO 2020.”

The Cannes Corporate Media and TV Awards is one of the most important festivals worldwide for corporate films, on-line media and TV documentaries and is the biggest of its kind in Europe. The present festival included 666 entries from 35 countries.