“Kwaku Ananse” is an intensely personal project which draws upon the rich mythology of Ghana. The short film combines semi-autobiographical elements with the tale of Kwaku Ananse, a trickster in West African stories who appears as both spider and man. Ananse teaches us that there are two sides to everything and everyone. To explore this theme of doubleness, a fable of Kwaku Ananse is combined with the story of a young outsider named Nan Kronhwea attending her estranged father's funeral. Nan's father led two separate lives with two wives and two families — one in Ghana, one in the United States. Nan's ambivalence about her father's double life is a reflection of a broader truth about the nature of our personal relationships.
A description of the project, from filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu - one of 5 filmmakers selected for the next class (2011) of Focus Features' Africa First program.
Those in the west may be most familiar with the story of Kwaku Ananse lore in the form of celebrated author Neil Gaiman's novel, Anansi Boys.
Long time S&A readers should immediately recognize Akosua's name; in 2010 I posted an experimental short film she made titled Me Broni Ba, which translates to My White Baby, which tackles the tangled legacy of European colonialism in Africa, evoked through images of women practicing hair braiding on discarded white baby dolls from the West, all unfoldong through a series of vignettes, set against a child's story of migrating from Ghana to the United States.
The 22-minute film screened at numerous film festivals worldwide, to much critical acclaim.
And now, 2 years later, Akosua is about to embark on production for her Africa First program project, titled Kwaku Anase, as mentioned above, with Lisa Cortes (producer/exec producer of a number of Lee Daniels-produced or directed films like Precious, Shadowboxer, The Woodsman and Monster's Ball).
But first, she needs your help in making this dream project a reality, in the form of contributions to her Kickstarter campaign, which seeks to raise $35,000 in 30 days (28 days left).
I'll shut up now, and let the filmmaker speak for herself. So watch her pitch video below, and then head over to the project's Kickstarter page HERE, and make your contribution. Or click within the widget that follows underneath the pitch video.