A former Fayetteville State University student is enjoying a career in entertainment, with a role many can see on the big screen in and near their hometown. Learn more in the story by Akira Kyles at The Fayetteville Observer.

Kasper Washington, 33, originally of Fayetteville stars in the short film, “Amina.”  Contributed to The Fayetteville Observer

An actor who grew up in Fayetteville will share the big screen with a feature-length film when their star role in a short film is shown before a major motion picture.

Kasper Washington, 33, who uses they/them pronouns, will star in the short film “Amina” that will be shown prior to screenings of Jordan Peele’s horror/sci-fi film “Nope” in select theaters through Thursday. 

“Amina” will be shown at four movie theaters in Fayetteville and the Raleigh area: Millstone 14, 3400 Footbridge Lane, Fayetteville; Paragon Fenton, 21 Fenton Main St., Cary; Parkside Town Commons Stadium, 1140 Parkside Main St., Cary; and Park West, 3400 Village Market Place, Morrisville. The short film can also be seen online at jobschangeus.com.

Washington developed a love for the performing arts while following in their parents’ footsteps. Washington’s parent took part in a production of “The Wiz” together and used to travel with the North Carolina opera.

Washington’s father, who died when Washington was 20, was a music educator in Charlotte.

Washington said their parents were always supportive as they and their brothers were figuring out what they wanted to do.

“My parents were never pushy about it,” they said. “They always let us find our way through it. I would also say that they’ve been very encouraging once we decided to take our own path.”

As a child, Washington spent about 10 years performing in Cape Fear Regional Theatre productions often led by professionals

“So, even though I was tucked away in Fayetteville, North Carolina, I got to work with people who had been on Broadway or people who were former Miss Americas, or people I would go on to run into and still see in my theater community here in Los Angeles,” Washington said. 

The camaraderie within the theater community is something Washington said they gained while at Cape Fear Regional Theatre.

“I think being able to go and feel like I was around people that were interested in the same things as me, that really cared about you and took care of you, it became like a close-knit family there,” they said. “I still have lots of those friends to this day.” 

Initially, Washington aspired to be a dentist and completed about a year at Fayetteville State University. 

Washington then moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After completing a two-year program there, Washington landed regular on-stage performances.

“I’ve been really fortunate to be working for the past 15 years,” they said. “I feel like LA has been a pretty easy journey for me as far as my career is concerned. It hasn’t been without its challenges but fine for me.” 

Starring in ‘Amina’

Washington recently started to make the transition from stage to film and television, making “Amina” their film debut. 

The short film depicts a former astronaut, Noa, haunted by the loss of her partner, Amina, another astronaut, as she struggles to connect with her unborn child. 

Washington plays the role of Amina in the short film. Originally, Washington was called in for the role of Noa after auditioning in March, but they still wanted to remain with the film after being cast as Amina. 

“I had to be choosing sessions with the casting director, and it was then that they shared with me that the story about grief and about loss and about love that transcends space and time,” Washington said. “The writer and director, she wrote this story to kind of help process the grief of losing her father. I had recently been revisiting feelings of loss for my father, so this really resonated with me.” 

The short film, written and directed by Shanrica Evans, debuted at the New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, which is the last time Washington thought it would be screened. That all changed once they found out it would be shown before select screenings of “Nope.” 

“I’ve been looking forward, first of all, to seeing ‘Nope,'” Washington said. “I got to see it this past weekend. It was really good, but never did I think that I would get the opportunity to see myself on the big screen again.”