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LAGUNA BEACH, CA – 6/12/13 – A Senegalese conservationist and the filmmakers who captured his story are the winners of the MY HERO International Film Festival's 2013 Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award, which is sponsored by One World One Ocean. The award will be presented at the 9th Annual MY HERO International Short Film Festival in Los Angeles. The film MR WHALE is a short documentary about Karim Sall and his tireless efforts to teach ocean conservation.

Karim is the person the locals call to help rescue whales who have become stranded in shallow waters. This has earned him the nickname "Mr. Whale." He is well known for his work to protect endangered sea life including small fish, sea turtles and whales.

"The ocean Is our Mother, if you destroy it we all become orphans," said Sall. 

Senegalese filmmakers Cheikh Seck and Khalil Ba chose Sall's nickname for the title of their short documentary about his work. The five-minute long film shows Sall working to educate the public about the dangers of dumping trash into the sea. He enlists the help of high school students to help clean up the beach and return home with new knowledge of ocean conservation to share with their families. Sall also established a Marine Reserve in Joal, where sea life can flourish in a protected environment.

"Karim Sall really personifies the lone individual who has awakened and rallied his community against incredible odds of poverty and uninformed ocean policy to change habits," said Meghan MacGillivray, a member of the selection committee. Her family's One World One Ocean campaign is committed to raising awareness of ocean degradation and nurturing a global movement to protect the seas.

"Ants do not need extraordinary means to achieve impressive results," said filmmaker Cheikh Darou Seck about Sall's efforts. "They just work and work, on and on, tirelessly." 

The MY HERO Project is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to telling the stories of heroes from around the world. Seck was introduced to MY HERO in 2003 at iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, where he first got inspired to use digital media to tell stories. He has been creating films about his heroes and participating in MY HERO every year since. His first film, The Bird-maker, won the Best of Fest award in the 2005 MY HERO International Film Festival.

The awards will be presented at the MY HERO International Short Film Festival's Awards Ceremony in December at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. The festival features short films from filmmakers of all ages and levels of experience in narrative, experimental, documentary, animation, music video, trailer, excerpt, community and independent features in development categories. For more information, visit the MY HERO web site www.myhero.com.

Last changed on: 6/12/2013

Mr. Whale Watch the winning film

Ocean Award - Sponsored by One World One Ocean Learn more about the Sylvia Earle Conservation Award

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