14 year-old Ghanaian actor, Abraham Attah, has won the Best Young Actor Award at the 72nd Venice Film Festival held in Italy last week.
The teenage ex-street vendor plays the central role of a child soldier in the highly anticipated film ‘Beasts Of No Nation’, alongside award-winning thespian Idris Elba.
According to Cary Fukunaga, the film’s director, Attah had no acting experience before being cast in the film.
“The lead in ‘Beasts of No Nation’ was essentially a street vendor before we shot the film,” Fukunaga told Schamus and the audience. “[He had] zero film experience, little education…but he became a somewhat professional actor, which was astounding to watch.” says Fukunaga.
Fukunaga said that Attah’s leadership talent shone through during filming.
“We had a difficult one long take that he had to perform; probably the most intense thing I ever asked him to do in the film. He had six or seven kids around him performing [in the scene], and I watched him become a leader among these kids and make sure they stayed in focus and not f— up the shot so they didn’t have to do it over again. I gave almost no direction to those kids. Abraham was driving that scene.”