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Kwaku Ananse is an effort to preserve a fable my father passed on to me. A personal and collective journey that starts with your help.

Dear friends,

I’m this close to making a dream project come true: a short film titled “Kwaku Ananse” starring my beloved uncle nearly approaching 80, legendary ethno-musicologist and total sweetheart, Koo Nimo. Just the other day, he took me on a day trip to a botanical garden to search for locations.

Things have moved faster than I ever expected. I’ve been blessed with the support of the Focus Features Africa First Program, the Creative Capital grant, and The Sarah Jacobson Film Grant (fingers crossed for additional support). The incredible Lisa Cortes (Executive Producer of the Oscar-winning film PRECIOUS) and the amazing Michelle-anne M. Small (Producer of SUNDANCE’s GUN HILL ROAD) have come on board. Julio Chavezmontes (Producer of Hubert Bals winner and Cinema Under Construction Nominee HALLEY) has joined our dream project to make a truly international co-production.

But we are missing one key element to make this happen: your support. This is a once in a lifetime chance for me to make a project with my uncle. I need the Kickstarter community’s enthusiasm to make this film a reality. Only you can help me make it through the home stretch.

What our movie is about

“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.

  Spirit World Possible Location / Photograph by Akosua Adoma Owusu

How your contribution helps us 

Your invaluable contribution will help us bring our vision for Kwaku Ananse to life. With your help, we will be able to finance the production and postproduction of the film. Big and small things will suddenly be possible: Flying in a RED Epic camera from Mexico to do justice to the majestic Ghanaian locations; pay fair wages to our local Ghanaian crew and the villagers who have so graciously offered their help to us; and not least, fly in our lead actress from the States!

To date, we have $10,000 dollars from Focus Features. We need an additional $35,000 dollars to make Kwaku Ananse happen.

Why help us

Because in a small, but significant way, helping us will help the emerging cinema of an underprivileged country with so many stories to tell and so little resources to do so. Our crew will get first-hand experience with tools they may use one day to share their stories with the world. Unlike Kwaku Ananse, who sought to hoard wisdom and stories for himself, we hope to give others the means to share theirs.

"Kwaku Ananse" is an effort to preserve a fable my father passed on to me, and in turn to preserve a dying yet immensely rich cultural heritage. We hope you'll take part in this special journey alongside us.

Ghanian Funeral / Photograph by Samuel Obeng
Ghanian Funeral / Photograph by Samuel Obeng

Meet the filmmakers

Director Akosua Adoma Owusu is an immensely talented visual artist whose work has been exhibited all over the world and was selected as one of Art Forum’s Top 10 artists. Producer Lisa Cortes is an Academy Award winning producer with a distinguished career in the film and music business. Advising Producer, Michelle-anne M. Small is the producer of Gun Hill Road, nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2011. Julio Chavezmontes is a young mexican producer whose first film HALLEY will compete for a Tiger Award next year in Rotterdam. Cinematographer Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio is an internationally acclaimed Mexican filmmaker whose first film, the documentary Toro Negro, was produced by Alejandro Gonzalez-Iñarritu (Amores Perros, Babel, 21 Grams).

Last but not least is Koo Nimo, Ghana’s most legendary ethno-musicologist. He’s an invaluable cultural treasure who we wish to preserve and celebrate.

Ghanian Coffin / Credit: What a Wonderful Life Blog
Ghanian Coffin / Credit: What a Wonderful Life Blog

You can learn more about us in the links below: 

www.akosuaadoma.com
www.mebroniba.com
http://focusfeatures.com/africafirst/index.php
http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/4e9f5980-7d05-11e1-bcc4-123138165f92#

Credits

Featuring: Jojo Abot, Ko Nimo, Derrick Owusu
Produced by Julio Chavezmontes
Produced by Lisa Cortes
Advising Producer: Michelle-anne M. Small
Associate Producers: Rune Hansen and Monica Reina
Produced by Cortes Films
Produced by Obibini Pictures Ghana
Produced by Piano
In co-production with Simplemente
Directed by Akosua Adoma Owusu
Screenplay by Akosua Adoma Owusu & Iram Parveen Bilal
Assistant Director by Sam Kessie
Cinematography by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio
Assistant Camera by Alejandro Villanueva Alcocer
Sound by Jedidiah Larkai
Production Design by Tony Tomety
Costume Design by Christie Brown
Production Manager by William K. Boateng
Music by Ko Nimo, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and the Apagya Show Band
Illustration by Christian Robinson
Production Assistant Adam Wilkerson, Samuel Obeng

Advisory Board

  • Kisha Cameron-Dingle (Director, Focus Features Africa First)
  • Mahen Bonetti (Founder/Executive Director of the African Film Festival, New York)
  • Jihan El-Tahri (Treasurer of the Guild of African filmmakers in the Diaspora)
  • June Givanni (Expert film curator in African & African diaspora cinema)
  • Sharifa Johka (Founder of AFRICAN VOICES Cinema Series (AVCS))
  • Pedro Pimenta (Director of DOCKANEMA - The Maputo Documentary Film Festival)
  • Keith Shiri (Founder/Director of Africa at the Pictures, London)

FAQ

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    Welcome! you are now part of this journey. For your contribution you will receive a Thank You in the film's credit PLUS you will be able to download Akosua Adoma's stunning location photographs.

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    NEW REWARD! Beautiful songs by Ko Nimo and his band made available to you via digital download + the above.

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    The above + exclusive access to our production blog, where will keep you up to date on our journey as it develops with photographs, concept art, ideas, and camera tests.

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    All of the above + digital production booklet for Kwaku Ananse: an insider's look into the production.

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    All of the above + Kwaku Ananse Tote Bag designed by storyboard artist / children's book illustrator Christian Robinson and Akosua Adoma.

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    All of the above + limited edition DVD of Kwaku Ananse signed by Akosua Adoma.

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    Two Tickets to the New York Premiere of Kwaku Ananse + the $60 reward (Transportation not included)

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    Your very own autographed copy of the Kwaku Ananse storyboards made by storyboard artist / children's book illustrator Christian Robinson + the $60 reward.

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    Autographed copy of "Palm Wine Music" by Ko Nimo with personalized video message and thank you note from Ko Nimo himself + four tickets to the NYC premiere of Kwaku Ananse (transportation not included) + the $80 reward.

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    Your choice of a Kwaku Ananse still made into a beautiful C-print signed by Akosua Adoma + four tickets to the NYC premiere of Kwaku Ananse (transportation not included) + associate producer credit in the film + the $80 reward.

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    Dinner menu for 6 conceived and designed by Alexander Smalls - Master Chef, Restauranteur and Author. You will be treated to a 3 course Menu w/ cocktail canapes, prepared and delivered to your home, with producer Lisa Cortes as your host for the evening + A copy of Mr. Smalls book, "Grace The Table", for each guest + $80 reward (date to be arranged, offer valid for 3 months from "executed" offer date, available only in New York City)

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    One of a kind, personalized experimental film in 16mm made by Adoma + Autographed copy of "Palm Wine Music" by Ko Nimo + the $1,000 reward + Associate Producer credit in Kwaku Ananse.

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    The gorgeous spider coffin that will be the center piece of Kwaku Ananse + $3,500 reward + executive producer credit in Kwaku Ananse + dinner with the filmmakers in NYC on the eve of Kwaku Ananse's premiere.

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Funding period

- (30 days)