Anthony Onah

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Anthony Onah
Born (1983-02-10) February 10, 1983 (age 34)
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B.)
UCLA Film School (M.F.A.)
Occupation film director, screenwriter, producer
Years active 2008 - present

Anthony Onah (born February 10, 1983) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for his debut feature, Dara Ju (2017), which premiered at the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. In the summer of 2015, he was named to Filmmaker Magazine's list of 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

Early life and education[edit]

Onah grew up in Arlington, VA and Washington, D.C. after having lived in the Philippines, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Togo, moving around with his ambassador father.[1][2] He attended Harvard University and earned an undergraduate degree in biochemical sciences, receiving the Pechet Foundation grant given to junior biochemistry majors and the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work.[3]

Accepted at Cambridge University for graduate school, Onah turned down admission, instead working as a scientist during which time he was published in The Journal of Neuroscience,[4][5] and subsequently chose to attend the MFA program in film directing at the University of California, Los Angeles where he was admitted with a university fellowship.[2][6] He received the Hollywood Foreign Press Award and the Edie and Lew Wasserman Fellowship. He was also named to Indiewire's list of 10 Exciting New Voices.[7] In 2011, Onah was selected as a directing fellow by Film Independent,[8] and in 2012 as a directing talent at the Berlin Talent Campus.[9]

His twin brother, Julius Onah, is also a director, with his first feature film God Particle released in 2017. [10]


Onah’s films include The Cure, which was recognized by mtvU, won a 2008 Directors Guild of America Award,[11] and was featured in The Los Angeles Times.[12] His next film True Colors world premiered at the 2011 Woodstock Film Festival. Onah subsequently completed A History of Violence with renowned cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker[13] and Dara Ju, which won him a second student Directors Guild of America Award in 2012.[14][15][16] With Dara Ju, Onah also won the first Afrinolly Short Film Competition, Africa's most prestigious Short Film Competition awarding a $25,000 cash prize.[17]

His debut feature, Dara Ju, based on his short of the same name, premiered at South by Southwest in March 2017. The Dara Ju feature received support from the Sundance Institute, IFP, Ford Foundation, and Film Independent.[18][19]


  1. ^ Ayers, Jake (27 October 2008). "Grad Student honored for meaningful short film". Daily Bruin. 
  2. ^ a b "UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television - Anthony Onah Profile". 
  3. ^ Zhou, David (18 May 2005). "Hoopes Prizes Awarded". The Harvard Crimson. 
  4. ^ "American Association for the Advancement of Science - EurekAlert". 
  5. ^ Prober, D.A.; Rihel, J.; Onah, A.A.; Sung, R.-J.; Schier, A.F. (December 20, 2006). "Hypocretin/orexin overexpression induces an insomnia-like phenotype in zebrafish". Journal of Neuroscience. 26 (51): 13400–13410. PMID 17182791. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4332-06.2006. 
  6. ^ Ayers, Jake (27 October 2008). "Grad Student honored for meaningful short film". Daily Bruin. 
  7. ^ Adelman, Kim (27 March 2009). "Shorts Monthly: Ten Exciting New Voices in Black Cinema". IndieWire. 
  8. ^ "Film Independent TALENT GUIDE - Anthony Onah". 
  9. ^ "Berlinale Talents - Anthony Onah". 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "DGA Announces Winners of 14th Annual Student Filmmakers Awards". 
  12. ^ Brink, Susan (23 October 2008). "Aspiring filmmakers tackle health care woes". Los Angeles Times. 
  13. ^ "Richard Dawkins Foundation - A History of Violence". 
  14. ^ Handel, Jonathan (13 November 2012). "DGA Honors Diverse Student Filmmakers". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  15. ^ Konstantinides, Anneta (14 November 2012). "Student film projects win DGA kudos". Variety. 
  16. ^ The Deadline Team (14 November 2012). "Directors Guild Announces Student Film Award Winners". Deadline Hollywood. 
  17. ^ "2013 Afrinolly Short Film Competition Winners". 
  18. ^ Bernstein, Paula (23 July 2014). "Here’s The 133 Films Selected For IFP’s 2014 Project Forum at Independent Film Week". IndieWire. 
  19. ^ Obenson, Tambay (10 February 2015). "Film Independent Reveals 6 Directors Selected for 15th Directing Lab (Anthony Onah Made the Cut)". IndieWire. 

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