This young gypsy boy plucked from a Paris shanty town to star in a film featured at Cannes now may find himself homeless because his parents are too skint to afford their rent.
Filmmaker Yoann Guillouzouic has reportedly started a crowdfunding campaign to make sure the 12-year-old, who says he wants “to become an actor when he grows up” still has a roof over his head when the film they made together comes out.
Piti Puia was spotted in the slums of Paris by casting director Elsa Pharaon and was chosen for the role of Gagic in the upcoming film ‘Place des Victoires’.
Puia, who according to Romanian and French media has a gypsy background, comes from the south-eastern Romanian city of Constanta and arrived in France when he was four years old.
Reports said that his parents are struggling to find regular work and life is tough for the youngster. But the film’s production team found them a flat and currently continues to assist them because the young actor’s parents cannot afford the rent.
The director explained: “Without the patience of his parents, the hard work of the production team and the help of various associations, we would have lost our little star to his life on the streets ages ago.”
Meanwhile, Piti Puia told Central European News (CEN): “I want to become an actor when I grow up. It was a lot of fun.
“I have worked a lot these past few years, I am now able to read in French and Romanian.”
The young star continues to visit his friends at the shanty town where he grew up, despite his moment in the spotlight following the Cannes Film Festival appearance.
Meanwhile, the movie’s producers have reportedly launched an online crowdfunding campaign (that can be found here: https://www.leetchi.com/c/un-toit-pour-piti-a-house-is-a-home) to make sure the boy’s family has enough money to keep a roof over their heads after the film comes out.
Story By: Madalina Spulber, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News