Do you think Abraham would be Attah had Beasts of No Nation, although made in Ghana, been made by Ghanians? Of course not. And the same reasons why this boy who is now trending like Trump’s political dissent couldn’t have grabbed the spotlight like he is doing now, had the movie been made by Ghanaians are the same reasons I believe like Leila Djansi and Sonnie that he ought to be relocated to America.
I say that I believe with the aforementioned personalities because, well, they have the recognition of the world to have mentioned this first. Albeit I made this very same claim when Attah picked his first award, the Marcello Mastroianni Best Young Actor Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival. A feat which too went viral and got me and Attah acquainted, electronically. A relationship which has still yet to grow from where it has always been, he always on television while I watch. But of course these personalities would be credited for having said it first because they have the largest twitter followers. I take solace however in the fact that someone thinks like I do and have brought this out to the world where let my opinions alone it would have vanished the minute after escaping my nostrils.
Attah’s potential as an actor as the world has suddenly come to see will simply not survive in what we currently have here in Ghana as a movie industry.
Attah’s acting ability has, to me, been discovered like a genie in a bottle. And indeed like a genie, it took a wandering Hollywood movie producer in search of untapped talents to find this old Ashaiman lamp in Abraham where after rubbing, like the tales of the Arabian Nights or more specifically Aladdin, Cary Fukunaga discovers to his delight and profit this glowing talent in Attah.
Attah’s display before the camera, especially for one who has had no major acting experience except for small roles he played in at church admitted by himself at the Oscars while at the Red Carpet, is fantastic. To have the world’s celebrated movie makers speak in your favour for being robbed of nominations at the just ended Oscars is a testament to FANTASTIC! But behind his great performance is a director who knows best, wants best and brings the best out of his actors.
A good director, with all the good equipments, skilled and dedicated staff I believe brings the best out of actors. But can we really and honestly say same for our movie industry by evidence of the movies themselves?
I know some local movie makers and lovers would jump to the defense of our below par system, even laying hold to reason of lacking some stuff like good equipments as mentioned above but wait, were quality movies that met the standards of those times not being produced in the post independence era? Movies whose sound score, screenplay, lighting, directing etc etc were far better than most we see today? And aren’t we supposed to be better equipped today than they were years ago? It beats my mind how things deterroriate instead of developing.
Our problem with our industry has never been in equipment but the personel who man these. Lack of training of a Crew with ethics and understanding as mentioned by Leila, plus insufficient creativity is our bane. There is a missing creativity with our plots and sub-plots which are evidenced in how, for instance, one television program could morph into various genres, signs which in the long run proves the program’s inevitable demise from television. And then we sadly are trapped within a talent-strangulating-environment aptly relayed by acclaimed man of God, Pastor Mensah Otabil in his “parable of onions and why Zuckerberg is richer than all of us.” “It struck me that a person can be so good but if he is planted in a wrong environment, he is going to turn up so bad.” -Mensah Otabil. And so, Attah’s potential as has been found if left here on this shore would die for want of better management.
Not to say that some of our actors and actresses have turned up so bad after all but honestly, would you not be disgusted to see a young promising football talent who just got discovered in a world tournament, after picking best player award quickly sign for one of our local teams to play in our league? Even Otabil, as well as you and I admits that Essien wouldn’t be Essien had his football career taken place right here at home. No disrespect to our league either but it is for reasons such as these that Attah needs to be exported [for lack of better words] to where the weather is ripe to help grow his new found hobby.
Now Abraham to us is a hero, to some hope, to others the dream that will forever remain a dream. But tell you what, had he been cast in a Ghanaian movie with similar story line and with a not-hollywood-worthy title, where he’d chopped the head of that engineer like he did in the movie, he wouldn’t be any of the above. He’d have been branded a wizard, his teachers would forbid every student from playing with him, he’d have been pelted with stones and tomatoes anytime he goes to the market, his mother will lose customers, the ghost of that engineer would haunt him etc etc. And we’d still be here waiting for part 2.
Source: Kwaku Feni Adow