Anthony Onah

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Anthony Onah
AO 14.jpg
Onah in 2014
Born (1983-02-10) February 10, 1983 (age 39)
Alma materHarvard University (A.B.)
UCLA Film School (M.F.A.)
Occupationfilm director, screenwriter, producer
Years active2015 - present

Anthony Onah (born February 10, 1983) is an Nigerian-American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for his debut feature, The Price (2017), which premiered at the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Award.[1] The film was also nominated for the FIPRESCI Prize in the New American Cinema Competition at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival, and Onah won the Craig Brewer Emerging Filmmaker Award for the film at the 2017 Indie Memphis Film Festival.[2][3]

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 was born in Benue State, Nigeria. He grew up moving around with his ambassador father, Adoga Onah. After having lived in the Philippines, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Togo, his family settled in Arlington, VA and Washington, D.C.[4][5]

Onah studied as an undergraduate at Harvard University, where he earned a degree in biochemical sciences, receiving the Pechet Foundation grant given to junior biochemistry majors and the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work.[6]

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,[7][8] 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.[5][4] 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.[9] In 2011, Onah was selected as a directing fellow by Film Independent,[10] and in 2012 as a directing talent at the Berlin Talent Campus.[11]

His twin brother, Julius Onah, is also a director, with his second feature film The Cloverfield Paradox released in 2018.[12]


Onah’s films include The Cure, which was recognized by mtvU, won a 2008 Directors Guild of America Award,[13] and was featured in The Los Angeles Times.[14] 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[15] and Dara Ju, which won him a second student Directors Guild of America Award in 2012.[16][17][18] 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.[19]

His debut feature, The Price, premiered at South by Southwest in March 2017. The film received support from the Sundance Institute, IFP, Ford Foundation, and Film Independent.[20][21]


  1. ^ Darling, Cary (17 March 2017). "The best of the fest at South by Southwest". Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  2. ^ "New American Cinema Competition". Seattle International Film Festival. Archived from the original on April 17, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  3. ^ Beifuss, John (5 November 2017). "Indie Memphis: 2017 Film Festival Award Winners". USA Today.
  4. ^ a b Ayers, Jake (27 October 2008). "Grad Student honored for meaningful short film". Daily Bruin.
  5. ^ a b "UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television - Anthony Onah Profile".[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Zhou, David (18 May 2005). "Hoopes Prizes Awarded". The Harvard Crimson.
  7. ^ "American Association for the Advancement of Science - EurekAlert".
  8. ^ 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. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4332-06.2006. PMC 6675014. PMID 17182791.
  9. ^ Adelman, Kim (27 March 2009). "Shorts Monthly: Ten Exciting New Voices in Black Cinema". IndieWire.
  10. ^ "Film Independent TALENT GUIDE - Anthony Onah".
  11. ^ "Berlinale Talents - Anthony Onah".
  12. ^ Nescafé (17 March 2017). "Why 2017 Is The Breakout Year For Nigerian-American Directors, The Onah Brothers". Konbini.
  13. ^ "DGA Announces Winners of 14th Annual Student Filmmakers Awards".
  14. ^ Brink, Susan (23 October 2008). "Aspiring filmmakers tackle health care woes". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ "Richard Dawkins Foundation - A History of Violence".
  16. ^ Handel, Jonathan (13 November 2012). "DGA Honors Diverse Student Filmmakers". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ Konstantinides, Anneta (14 November 2012). "Student film projects win DGA kudos". Variety.
  18. ^ The Deadline Team (14 November 2012). "Directors Guild Announces Student Film Award Winners". Deadline Hollywood.
  19. ^ "2013 Afrinolly Short Film Competition Winners".
  20. ^ Bernstein, Paula (23 July 2014). "Here's The 133 Films Selected For IFP's 2014 Project Forum at Independent Film Week". IndieWire.
  21. ^ Obenson, Tambay (10 February 2015). "Film Independent Reveals 6 Directors Selected for 15th Directing Lab (Anthony Onah Made the Cut)". IndieWire.

External links[edit]