Fourteen-year-old Ahmed al-Dahouri received the award for his role in ‘The Turtle’, a film produced in light of the UAE’s decision to ban plastic bags by 2013, the Gulf News reported.
“The turtle’s favorite food to eat is the jelly fish, so when turtles see plastic bags they mistake them for jelly fish and so devour them. This causes the turtle to float and ultimately die,” Dahouri was quoted as saying by the UAE daily.
Inspired by the Environment Ministry’s decision to move away from non-biodegradable plastic bags, the film was made for the UAE pavilion at Expo 2012 Yeosu, Korea, where it received a silver medal.
Dahouri, a schoolboy from the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah – one of the emirates that contribute the United Arab Emirates – said that he started his acting career by coincidence.
“It all started in 2009 when a group of directors came to Ras al-Khaimah to shoot a film for Expo Shanghai 2010. I was accompanying my father who was coordinating with the shooting team when the team manager started talking to me; she was impressed with how good my English was so she decided to make me star in the movie,” Dahouri was quoted by the Gulf News as saying.
“At first I was really shy because it was my first time in front of the camera, however, I eventually overcame my shyness,” he said.
“Shooting the movie was a great experience as I got to learn about the dangers of extinction these turtles are facing from plastic bag pollution and the importance of preserving these turtles and the environment in general,” the young actor said.
Dahouri expressed how proud he was for receiving an award for a movie that deals with an “important environmental cause,” but for him, what made him more proud was representing his “country in a positive manner.”
“Also attending the ceremony in Cannes and not only being amongst movie stars who have been acting all their life, but also winning without having any acting training made me even more proud,” he said.
Dahouri also plays the leading role of ‘Ali’s Film’ which was produced as part of the Expo 2012 Dubai bid. Dubai hopes to win the bid and host the Expo 2020.
Dahouri plans on pursuing an acting career in future. He wishes to star in movies that raise the awareness about the environment.
“I want to make films that help the planet and fight pollution. I also want to continue on representing the UAE and making my people proud,” he told the Gulf News.