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Classics in the Park with Nii Kwate Owoo
Film

Classics in the Park with Nii Kwate Owoo

Africa Film Society's free outdoor film showcase 'Classics In The Park' will feature legendary Ghanaian Filmmaker, Nii Kwate Owoo for its 5th edition.   Slated for January 28th, 6pm at Akola Boni Park in Osu, Nyniba Estate, the award-winning director Nii Kwate Owoo will be available for a Q&A after the screening of his short film ’You Hide Me' (1971) and co-directed feature film 'Ama' (1991).   Nii Owoo is renowned for his rich narratives on African culture and spirituality. His short documentary 'You Hide Me' exposed the theft and concealment of African artefacts in the basement of the British Museum. The film garnered worldwide acclaim for its controversial subject matter and was subsequently banned in Ghana for fear of harming the relationship between Ghana and Britain.   Nii Owoo made his feature film debut with Ama: An African Voyage of Discovery, which he co-directed with Kwesi Owusu for Channel 4 television in 1991. Ama explored themes of African traditional storytelling in the context of contemporary Britain. It premiered in Ghana to a packed audience.   Africa Film Society seeks to preserve and promote Africa's rich cinematic legacy while cultivating new filmmakers and nurturing an audience for their work. Through our ‘Classics In The Park’ initiative, we are bringing free outdoor cinema to communities focusing on early African films (1950s - 1990s).

Opening soon: Ghana's first open-air cinema
Film

Opening soon: Ghana's first open-air cinema

Accra's first outdoor movie experience is debuting at Crystal Park in East Legon on January 21st, 2017. With claims of the biggest movie screen in Ghana, state of the art screens, digital projectors and bespoke sound equipment, 57 Open Air Cinema are offering a quality cinematic experience. More is to come in the future according to organisers. Besides the park screening, a combination of roof-top events, drive-ins, 3D films and football matches are all in the pipeline. Movie lovers can look forward to classic Hollywood favourites, kids movies, and recent releases. The first two movies to be screened are the Tom Hanks' film about the captain who bravely landed his plane in the Hudson without any injuries as well as X-Men: Apocalypse. The launch starts at 4pm with music, dancing and food stalls as part of ‘a massive pre-movie party'. The first movie is at 7pm and the second starts 9.30pm. Although no outside food or drinks are allowed, there will be a variety of food and drinks for you to indulge in, including pizza, burger, sandwich, noodles and salads. There is a wide range of drink options too. A limited number of garden chairs and customised air sofas for couples will be set up prior to the event.  Bringing your own seat is allowed too. Worried about mosquito bites once seated? According to organisers insect zappers 'everywhere' will sort that out. Only weather can come in the way for a great movie night under the sparkly sky. Should the rain poor down and wind hit h

Paa Joe & the Lion film launches
Film

Paa Joe & the Lion film launches

  These days, the world knows where to come for a designer death-casket. Fantasy coffins have become one of Ghana’s most talked-about exports, featuring in international exhibitions, being written about in glossy magazines and being cooed over by the culturally curious. But the riotously colourful creations, which can take the form of anything from Nike trainers to mobile phones, represent far more than just whimsical woodwork, with each piece taking up to six weeks to make and requiring expert craftsmanship. Overseas interest in the coffins has resulted in increased exposure for Accra’s leading coffin sculptors, in particular 66-year-old Paa Joe, who together with son Jacob was invited over to the UK in mid-2013 to take up a month-long artists’ residency at a stately home open to the public in Nottinghamshire. Working together, father and son used the time to carve and construct a full-size example of their trademark lion coffin. But there was more to the project than simple creativity. The man behind their trip to England was British filmmaker Benjamin Midgley, who became aware that Paa Joe had been forced out of his Accra workshop to a roadside shack 90 minutes out of the city, due to a lack of funds. “To me he seemed like a fallen giant,” Benjamin tells Time Out. “Here was this pioneer, someone who had been making fantasy coffins for 50 years, who had been visited by US presidents, but who had fallen on hard times. He gets minimal passing trade in his current location.

Hollywood in glorious Ghanavision
Cinemas

Hollywood in glorious Ghanavision

Semi-naked women are essential, preferably holding a knife dripping with blood. As some kind of ninja, evil zombie and a decapitated head are preferable. A humanoid tortoise vomiting money is optional, although certainly desierable. With Ghanaian movie posters, gore, blood, nudity, violence and general nastiness are the currency of commerce. In the 1980s, travelling cinema was the way that most Ghanaian’s consumed movies – and still is in some areas. Touring rural Ghana with a TV, VHS tape and player, the moving cinema would roll up in town, set up a tent and litter the area with movie posters – fabulous, fantastical movie posters to advertise the show. Whether it was the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Hong Kong action flick or the latest from an African filmmaker, the artist would hand paint a poster on flour sacks, with an enticing image, often without having seen the film at all. It was the portrayals of monsters, superheroes, half naked women that attracted German gallery and art book publishers, Bongoût, to release two books, Ghana Movie Posters, and this year, Ghanavision, a second volume which collates dozens of unique hand-painted movie posters from their private collection. Cristina Ayala of Bongoût told Time Out , ‘The art works are particularly charming. They can be quite naive but they possess such a bewitching quality. ‘We learned it is not unusual that the self-taught artists often only saw a few photo stills. These wild translations of film to canvas, with s

Interview: Filmmaker Priscilla Anany
Film

Interview: Filmmaker Priscilla Anany

The film deals with a heartbreaking subject matter. What was it that brought you to this subject? A very good friend of mine has a child who has Down Syndrome and she wrote a short prose that expressed her personal rationale to why she had such a child. I read the prose and I was inspired to tell a bigger story about women who have kids with special-needs. My goal was to let mothers all over the world know that it wasn’t their fault their babies were sometimes born with health issues or with deformities. There’s no such thing as a perfect child or human, all children are a great gift, and they should be loved and accepted no matter how they come. I especially wanted to reach mothers  in developing worlds who face far more challenges amidst blame and criticism for having “imperfect” babies and then not having adequate health care that caters to children with special needs. How did you go about casting the people in the film – what were you looking for in the protagonists? Some are well-known actors, but others perhaps not? What about Jessica? We held a casting session and we had a lot of well-known Ghanaian actresses, but none seemed to be the perfect fit for the protagonist especially. I was quite worried. I needed a beautiful, simple and natural looking woman and of course a very good performer who could carry the weight of the character’s journey. When I saw a photo of Rukiyat Masud, I knew right away she was the one. She wasn’t famous and nobody knew her, but her audit

Where to see films in Accra

Goethe-Institut
Things to do

Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut is the German cultural centre and celebrates 50 years of being in Ghana. It has an impressive array of events and art exhibitions. Links between German art and that of Ghana are given precedence, whether through sound installations, mixed media pieces, performance art, photography or painting. It also occasionally lends its venue to the National Film and Television Institute next door. Be sure to check the website or pick up a programme of events when you are in town.

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Alliance Française d’Accra
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Alliance Française d’Accra

The Accra-based arm of the French cultural centre offers a large range of artistic activities every week. It particularly excels in live music events, but there are also regular art displays and talks from international artists. The obvious focus is on French and Ghanaian artists (often working together), which forms an artistic bridge between both cultures in terms of language, education and artistic programming. Recent shows have included the film screening and photography exhibition from Sublime World Productions’ project Sounds from Ghana, and artistic exhibition Les Jardins de la Francophonie featuring five francophone West African artists: Samuel Tete-kathan, Kassy, Edem Gota, Yao Sewonou and Salifou Oura. There is always something interesting on; be sure to look at the website before any visit to Accra.

British Council
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British Council

This British cultural centre is not as proactive as the Goethe-Institut or Alliance Française d’Accra in exhibiting arts, but it has some cultural events. Check the website for details. There is also an office in Kumasi (Bank Road, 051 37197).

National Film and Television Institute
Film

National Film and Television Institute

The National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) was set up in 1978 by the government as a Higher Education Institute and runs courses in film and television production. It also has workshops for the general public on composition, writing, art direction, cinematography and sound for the general public. Screenings mostly take place with seasonal festivals and visiting filmmakers. NAFTI hosts its own biennial film and television festival called ANIWA in which documentary features and animation films are shown.