She said, “at its inception, I struggled to find a Ghanaian audience that would value our traditional story in contemporary cinema. It’s truly humbling Kwaku Ananse received the AMAA nomination for my first fiction short film.”
Kwaku Ananse was commissioned by Focus Features, as part of their prestigious Africa First Award Program, and supported by the Sarah Jacobson Grant, Art Matters grant, and a well-received Indie Gogo Campaign.
The short film is a re-telling of the classic West African fable with a semi-autobiographical twist, featuring Ghana’s legendary palm wine musician, Koo Nimo as Kwaku Ananse.
Owusu received this award after gaining international attention with her short films, ‘Drexciya’ and ‘Me Broni Ba’, as well as from her work within the art world at the famed Studio Museum in Harlem. ‘Me Broni Ba’, specifically, screened at over 80 international film festivals and was later acquired for distribution by The Cinema Guild.
Combined with the unique co-production efforts of acclaimed Mexican producer, Julio Chavezmontes (Sundance New Frontier “Halley”) and Lisa Cortes (Executive Producer for Academy Award Winning “Precious”), Kwaku Ananse premiered in competition at the prestigious Berlinale Film Festival, as part of the Golden Bear competition, and was met with rave reviews.
The Guardian Nigeria said, “If Nollywood was absent at the Berlinale, Ghana was not. Akosua Adoma Owusu gave Ghana something to cheer about at the Berlinale.”
Between travelling internationally to screen her acclaimed works, and hustling to acquire the funding needed to propel everything forward, Owusu is working hard to both further her own dreams and inspire other African filmmakers that they, too, can do the same.
Recently awarded the Most Promising Filmmaker prize at Ann Arbor Film Festival and named in the Huffington Post of “Top 30 Black Contemporary Artists Under 40”, she’s certainly paving the way to do both and is thrilled that Kwaku Ananse, is preserving a piece of Ghanaian mythology and is being so well-received by international audiences.
- New African films to watch, N°17 (africasacountry.com)
- Kwaku Ananse: Film Breathes Life Into Old West African Fable (cinemakenya.wordpress.com)
- Leti Ghana & RLG Present: The Real Ananse (letigames.wordpress.com)