I previously knew her name by reputation alone as an experimental Ghanian-American filmmaker weaving tales of African and African-American identity. I grew to know her as the young woman who last year led the charge to save the Rex Cinema, an historical theater in Accra – which is something I always wanted to do here in New York.
But a month ago I finally got a chance to watch one Akosua Adoma Owusu’s films on the big screen, Intermittent Delight, and was blown away by her deftness at telling a story using found and fresh footage in a refreshingly accessible way yet complex way.
Well if you’re in NYC and have never gotten an opportunity to see her films, or even if you have and are a fan, the Anthology Film Archives is showing Owusu’s work in their ‘Show & Tell’ series this coming Thursday. Her work does reflect some influence by her mentor Kevin Jerome Everson, but she’s great in her own right as having a career retrospective at the age of 30 makes evident.
See the details below and at their website and get ready to see some truly original filmmaking.
Thursday May 8th – 7:30 PM
SHOW & TELL: AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue (at 2nd St.)
New York, NY 10003 USA
Over the last several years, Akosua Adoma Owusu has emerged as one of the most exciting new voices in experimental cinema, thanks to five short films that combine an inspired and masterful utilization of avant-garde film techniques with highly perceptive and penetrating explorations of racial and cultural identity, both in Africa and the U.S. Born in Virginia to Ghanaian parents, and a graduate of the University of Virginia (where she was mentored by Kevin Jerome Everson) and CalArts, Owusu is currently based in Ghana, where, in addition to making films, she is striving to reinvigorate the country’s film culture by spearheading the efforts to save the Rex Cinema, an historic theater in Accra, Ghana, which she hopes to transform into a multimedia arts center.
Equally attuned to African and African-American social contexts, Owusu is intimately familiar with concepts of displacement, alienation, and shifting senses of identity, all of which are reflected in her films. Whether appropriating and re-combining found footage to comment on cultural expectations and pressures, filming her own lyrical portraits of people and places (Ghanaian hair salons in ME BRONI BA or an abandoned swimming pool in Accra in DREXCIYA), or turning to narrative filmmaking to create a work drawing on Ghanaian mythology (her most recent film, the evocative and haunting KWAKU ANANSE), Owusu is an artist of immense talents who is poised at the start of what promises to be an extraordinary career.
“Through my film making, I hope to open audiences up to a new dialogue between the continents of Africa and America; one that incorporates more than just stereotypes, but includes both conventionalized and un-conventionalized discourses of race in its service. By creating complex contradictions, I hope that new meaning can emerge and be deposited into the universal consciousness. If I can do this by creating an experience for the audience that enables them to experience what it is like to find oneself, while being foreign in a community, then perhaps I can help that new meaning come to light.” –Akosua Adoma Owusu
INTERMITTENT DELIGHT (2007, 5 min, digital)
ME BRONI BA (MY WHITE BABY) (2009, 22 min, digital)
DREXCIYA (2010, 12 min, digital)
SPLIT ENDS, I FEEL WONDERFUL (2012, 5 min, digital)
KWAKU ANANSE (2013, 25 min, digital)
Total running time: ca. 75 min
- Akosua Adoma Owusu’s website
- Kickstarter campaign to SAVE THE REX Cinema
- Kwaku Ananse short film Facebook page
- Kwaku Ananse early coverage on Boldaslove.us