One month ago, not many Ghanaians were aware of the name of Akosua Owusu Adoma. Not even practitioners in the Ghana movie industry knew the petit Ghanaian-born U.S- based filmmaker. Now many people know her.
Many people know her as the one person who saved Ghana’s face as a filmmaking country at the recently ended African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) at which she won the Short Film prize. No other Ghanaian movie won another.
Her short 25 minute film, Kwaku Ananse, was what caught the imagination of the judges among entries from all over the continent and its diaspora.
“My movie Kwaku Ananse talks about a Ghanaian born girl based in the U.S who returns home to her father’s funeral in Ghana”, Akosua narrated to Showbiz on Wednesday. “When she arrives, she meets her stepmother, Aso Yaa and her half brother Ntikuma. Here, she is so overwhelmed that she escapes the funeral and enters the forest in search of her father’s spirit”, she said.
Kwaku Ananse is not Akosua’s first short movie. According to the 29 -year old movie producer, she earned considerable recognition when she did Me Broni Ba a film about a Ghanaian girl travelling to the U.S for the first time.
Me Broni Ba opened doors for Adoma and she came up with four other short movies: Intermittent Delight, Drexciya, Split Ends and I Feel Wonderful.
Interestingly, Akosua did not take to filmmaking as a first-choice study.”I had a change of mind during my second year at the University of California and I opted to study Media Arts when a lecturer took me through filmmaking.
“Although my parents didn’t like the idea, I explained to them that is what I wanted to do and that will make me happy.”
Now with her movie Kwaku Ananse winning an award, Akosua feels her dream has been achieved. “I know I would have made a lot of money being a medical doctor than film making but I am happy now and I know with time, the money will come”.
According to Akosua, it’s about time Ghanaians got used to short movies because they go straight to the point. “You can tell a great story in five to 10 minutes and it will still make sense. Normally, people think making a two-hour movie is the best because you are able to capture everything which is not actually true.
“I do respect any movie producer who does short movies a lot because it is really a difficult thing to do. The longest of my movies is twenty-five minutes long and all of them have made an impact”
Talking about the making of Kwaku Ananse, Akosua said she had a difficult time getting the cast and location. According to her, actors were demanding too much money to play roles but gratefully she had highlife musician, Agya Koo Nimo and actress Grace Omaboe to play the major roles.
She explained that people mistook her for movie producer Leila Djansi and didn’t want to offer help. “I don’t know what it is with Leila that people didn’t want to associate themselves with. Because I am slim and look a bit like her I had a very difficult time especially when I wanted to shoot at the Opera Square.
I had to use my family members in the movie because I didn’t have money to pay people but today I am happy that my work has been recognized by AMAA”
Akosua believes Ghanaian movies are doing great but some of them contain too much abusive language. She said her movies basically look at African culture which appears unattractive to many filmmakers.
Citing an example from her experiences, Akosua told Showbiz that she was discouraged when she shared her intentions of doing a Kwaku Ananse movies with a few movie producers.” I had comments like, Kwaku Ananse is an old story so why do I waste my time on such a movie. I nearly gave up but knowing what I wanted, I pushed and today I am smiling.”
About her future plans, Akosua, who is “single and mingling”, said she intends doing a two-hour movie and is ready to premiere Kwaku Ananse soon in Ghana.