I can’t remember a lot from when I was 14, but one thing I know for sure is that I was not wowing judges and winning awards for best young actor at the Venice film festival, but that is exactly what 14-year-old Ghanaian actor, Abraham Attah is doing.
Speaking to Business Insider, director of the highly awaited Netflix war drama, Beasts of No Nation, earlier this year in April revealed Abraham was working as a street vendor in Accra and had practically no experience as an actor before being randomly chosen to take part in casting workshops for the blockbuster.
“[He had] zero film experience, little education…but he became a somewhat professional actor, which was astounding to watch,” the Emmy award-winning director was quoted saying by Business Insider in April.
That inexperience has in no way slowed down the young Ghanaian, who just last week won the Marcello Mastroianni’s Best Young Actor Award at the 2015 Venice Film Festival for his role in Beasts of No Nation. In the film, he plays Agu, a young boy whose world is torn apart when he is recruited as a child soldier in the civil war who is forced to become a ruthless killer by the Commander (played by Idris Elba).
“We were playing football on our school field when a white man came and said, “We need some boys for a movie”,” Abraham told a press conference in Venice. “We went to a TV station in Ghana for an audition and…I was cast.”
I know it’s highly unlikely, but I won’t be totally surprised if Abraham gets an Oscar nod this year, which would skyrocket his career.
More importantly, the success that has come with Beasts of No Nation is in no way slowing the young actor down, as he is due to make his next appearance in a short film project titled Out of the Village by Jonathan Stein.
The film follows the story of a brother (Attah) and his sister who seek closure after Ebola ravages their village. The film, which was shot in Ghana in West Africa, is finished; the film’s Kickstarter campaign page ($23,000 was raised earlier this year to complete it) says that the film was “in the can” as of July 31, as the film festival submission process begins.
If he can deliver another outstanding performance in Out of the Village, then we might just have another international movie star on our hands.
In the mean time though, we’ll wait anxiously for when Beasts of No Nation hits Netflix and select theaters in October.
Watch Attah’s Vernice Interview below.