The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

12 February 2011

Hawa Essuman: Soul Boy

FESPACO 2011 WATCH:  Official Competition - TV/Video Fiction

Ghanaian-Kenyan filmmaker Hawa Essuman's foray into the moving image started as a trainee director for the television series Makutano Junction, by the second season she was the assistant director. She quickly gained the confidence and experience to venture into film and in 2009 completed Lift and Selfish.  Hawa directed Soul Boy under the tutelage of German director Tom Tykwer who initiated the film workshop from which the film evolved. 

During an interview at the Göteborg International Film Festival's world premiere of Soul Boy, she reflected on her source of inspiration and how film contributes to making the world a better place.

Below is a transcription of excerpts of the interview by Neta Norrmo of Aveny Production.

Humans [are my biggest source of inspiration]. I love human interaction and human relationships and how we absorb stories, conversations. How we look to better ourselves. I really enjoy that and how we question ourselves. I like the questioning and the curiosity of the human mind...

Film shows us who we are at that time and we are constantly changing and constantly moving forward. The film that I make today will inform us as to who we were then. It is a 3D snapshot of who it is we were at that time. And the film that's made after that will show us who we are then. That is what it is for. It is very informative. It's like any other piece of art in that respect. That you get to play over and over...
I've always been a fan of magical realism stories so to have the opportunity to direct a film that was set in that context was very exciting for me...

Synopsis of the film Soul Boy

Nairobi, Kenya. 14 year-old Abila lives with his parents in Kibera, one of the largest slums in East Africa. One morning the teenager discovers his father ill and delirious. Someone has stolen his soul, mumbles the father as he sits huddled in a corner. Abila is shocked and confused but wants to help his father and goes in search of a suitable cure.Supported by his friend Shiku who is the same age as him, he learns that his father has gambled his soul away in the company of a spiritual woman.

The teenager doesn’t want to believe it and sets about looking for the witch. When he finally discovers her in the darkest corner of the ghetto, she gives him seven challenging tasks to save his father’s lost soul. Abila embarks on an adventurous journey which leads him right through the microcosm of his home town.

Soul Boy (2009) by Hawa Essuman


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