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Akosua Adoma Owusu's 'Black Sunshine' is a Berlinale World Cinema Fund Selection

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by Tambay A. Obenson
July 10, 2014 1:23 PM
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Akosua Adoma Owusu

The jury of the World Cinema Fund (WCF) - an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Goethe-Institut - has announced that it's selected 4 new film projects for production funding, and one work for distribution funding.

The WCF jury made their selection based on 126 submissions from a total of 43 countries, awarding funding amounting to 145,000 euros (close to $200,000).

The 4 projects include Akosua Adoma Owusu's "Black Sunshine," which received funding totaling 40,000 euros ($or about $55,000). 

Here's a description of the feature-length experimental film - a project previously highlighted on this blog: "Black Sunshine is a feature-length experimental film about a promiscuous Ghanaian hairdresser, Effie, and her albino daughter, Asabea. Born albino, everything about Asabea sets her apart. Her days are spent caring for her ailing mother and dreaming of escaping with her mysterious friend, Shebere. When she tries to balance her life between Effie and Shebere, she finds herself pulled down two separate paths—and the places they lead her are darker than she could ever imagine. The film weaves together scripted and nontraditional documentary forms, and examines albino Africans as tropes for crosscultural identity. Albinos have been chastised, ridiculed and killed in many parts of Africa because of their skin color. The film explores conventional beauty, emotional violence, the social stigma of albinism in Africa and its impact on family dynamics."

A project that tackles themes Akosua has explored in previous works (specifically conventional beauty and identity), "Black Sunshine" was also one of 23 projects to be selected to receive a Creative Capital grant in 2012. The initiative emphasizes the importance of risk-taking, encouraging projects that are bold, innovative, genre-stretching and topical.

I'm looking forward to seeing the completed work. Congrats Ms Owusu!

Other projects/filmmakers selected by the WCF include:

- "Cemetery of Kings," by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, produced by Kick the Machine Films. It received 30,000 euros.


- "Kalo Pothi," from Nepalese director Min Bahadur Bham, produced by: Mila Productions. It received 30,000 euros.

- "Monos," by directors Alejandro Landes and Alexis Dos Santos (from Colombia and Argentina respectively). Produced:by No Franja S.A.S. and German partner Pandora Film, the film received 40,000 euros.

- And finally, receiving distribution funding, is "The Amazing Catfish," by Mexican director Claudia Sainte-Luce, which received 5,000 euros.

The jury members are film scholar and curator Viola Shafik (Germany/Egypt), documentary producer Marta Andreu (Spain), distributor and producer Jan De Clercq (Belgium) and WCF project managers Sonja Heinen and Vincenzo Bugno.

Since its establishment in October 2004, the WCF has awarded production and distribution funding to a total of 119 projects, chosen from 2,261 submissions from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Caucasus. All WCF-funded films produced to date have screened in cinemas and/or the programs of renowned international film festivals, and are evidence of the initiative’s worldwide success.

This past May two WCF-funded films were premiered at the international film festival in Cannes. Argentinian director Lisandro Alonso’s "Jauja" was shown in the “Un Certain Regard” section and won the FIPRESCI Prize. Diego Lerman’s "Refugiado," also from Argentina, screened in the “Directors’ Fortnight” program.

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