CAST ON LOCATION
The casting concept of the actors is just one of the movie’s unique characteristics. Every actor is selected directly on site. The actors have never completed any formal professional acting education, and casting is made in the milieu that corresponds to their roles. The actors of Emra & Dabo are both native of their village Ganda Abdi. Both are children of former half-nomads and, as in the movie, leave their village for the first time to experience their first big adventure in the capital Addis Ababa. It was there, after visiting several runners’ associations, that professional runner Abayneh Ayele was selected from more than 100 candidates as the main actor for the role of the adult Dabo. It turned out later that Abayneh is part of the Olympic marathon team for Ethiopia.
“With our cast on location concept, we have run a significant risk since we are not creating a documentary with re-enacted scenes but an emotional movie. Movies, such as “City of God”, “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” were made using the same concept and serve as an example. For me personally, every human being plays a role dependent on his or her social environment. Every human being is consciously or unconsciously familiar with the concept of acting. This is exactly where the work with non-professional actors starts - to guide them step by step towards the personification of a movie character. We have met wonderful people who play their roles very enthusiastically and give this film its authenticity.”