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Alumni Spotlight: Yao Nunoo

February 24, 2014

UntitledYao Nunoo, Ghanaian screenwriter, actor, and UPenn graduate, was nominated for a best actor award by the African Film Development Awards for his role in The Destiny of Lesser Animals.

In 1997, Nunoo left his hometown in Ghana, moved to the United States, and enrolled in Knox College with a double major in Economics and Sculpture. His first major acting performance in the US was his role in Wole Soyinka’s Nobel Prize winning film, “Death and a King’s Horseman,” for which his performance was greatly commended by Soyinka himself.

After prematurely leaving Knox College due to financial difficulties, he enrolled in UPenn’s Cinema Studies Undergraduate program. During his time at Penn, he was cast in the lead role of Tom Molineaux in Albright’s “The Legend of Black Tom” and did a great deal of creative work in the Philadelphia area.

The Destiny of Lesser Animals was written by Nunoo and directed by Deron Albright. The story is set along Ghana’s southern coast and eastern region, and is about a man, Boniface (played by Nunoo) who is looking for his stolen passport, which is his only way back into the United States after being deported ten years before. According to Nunoo, the movie is “redolent of life’s multiple paths and the differences in between. [The film] is also about the country itself, and “tension and contrast” of its old and new forms.”

Yao Nunoo will be participating in a panel in Huntsman Hall on Wednesday, March 18th titled “The New Africa: Challenging Traditional Ideals” in honor of Africa Fest—a week hosted by Penn’s African Student Association dedicated to celebrating African cultures.

Nina Blalock CAS’14

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