For the second year in a row independent filmmaker Rebekah Frimpong was able to produce the “I Luv Africa” Film Festival in Ghana. This year proved to be challenging for Rebekah Frimpong who battled cancer and embarked on the journey of single motherhood. The 2nd Annual “I Luv Africa” Film Festival in Ghana (ILAFF 2014) was soley produced by Frimpong’s non-profit organization RWUL which is an organization set up to support independent filmmakers worldwide by organizing free public screenings and programs that promote independent film culture. Started in 2007, RWUL has screened over 100 films worldwide and connected filmmakers with a vast audience. Rebekah Frimpong is hoping to do the same with ILAFF in Ghana but for independent filmmakers of African descent.
Ghana, was chosen as the back drop for this film festival because of the country’s history in connection with the origins of Pan-Africanism and the its reputation for being the fast growing nation in Africa. Frimpong saw there was a lack of representation of independent filmmakers in Ghana and opportunities to connect these filmmakers with audiences. So she began to develop a film festival to be set in Ghana that would begin to engage audiences with filmmakers of African descent especially those in Ghana.
This year ILAFF 2014 featured films highlighting the work of filmmakers from Paris, Nigeria, London, America, Ghana, and Switzerland. The short film “Tengo Talento” stood out as a favorite because it tells the story of Afro-Cuban dancers who practice traditional West African dance formations and rituals, following the story of a little girl who feels her culture is as much apart of her dance as her talent. Another outstanding film that screened was produced by Sarah Diouf, a magazine publisher and fashion maven whose directorial debut with the short film “Femme” shows promise in Diouf’s unique eye for vibrant female characters. Lastly another stand out short film came from Ghanaian filmmaker Joseph Awkesi whose short film “ Ntu Engyina” shows briefly the story of unity and wisdom from Ghanaian elders by using a playful film editing technique to illustrate the connection between both ideals.
The Pan-African selection film award is being given this year to “Lets Stay Together” by filmmaker Joshua Bee Alafia, explores the complex relationships of Black Brooklyn couples and tackles the ideology of “Black Love”. This feature film was selected for screening because of the bold narrative and story structure. Each year ILAFF will select a film to screen that reflects or adds on to the notes of Pan-Africanism. Last year’s ILAFF 2013 selection for the Pan-Africanism award was “Soul Food Junkies” a powerful documentary film on food deserts and understanding healthy eating in the African American community in shadow of a “soul food” history and enclave health epidemic.
Overall, ILAFF is progressing well and being embraced by audiences in Ghana. But there is still more room for growth. Rebekah Frimpong is tirelessly looking for more sponsors, partners, and opportunities to engage filmmakers in that participate in ILAFF in Ghana. Her partnership with The Goethe-Institut as the screening venue has been a key relationship that has helped her secure a diverse audience in Ghana. Next year Rebekah Frimpong is excited to expand upon ILAFF and will be starting in January 2015 a filmmaker lab and studio in Ghana as well as an online film academy that will offer workshops, resources, and more to those interested in filmmaking in Ghana. This new project along with monthly free public screenings will hopefully help engage the people in Ghana more and get them excited for the film festival each year. For more information about the “I Luv Africa” Film Festival in Ghana visit www.rwul.com for details.