Sarah Kuntoh

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Born in the very late sixties to Ghanaian parents in Geneva, Switzerland and raised both in Europe and Ghana, Sarah’s formative years were spent mainly in the appreciation of the arts as she enjoys reading, drawing, writing poetry, playing the piano, listening to music and watching films. Not much of an extrovert, she watched a lot of films and read about film artistes as well. Though she had the desire to become a solicitor in the future, which influenced her selection of subjects towards that persuasion, she found herself, as fate would have it, doing her National Service in the Film Editing Department at the erstwhile Ghana Film Industry Corporation for a year from September 1985. A year later, after her interest in cinema had reached a high degree, she applied to the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) where she pursued a programme in Film and Video Editing (1986-1989) earning a Professional Diploma. She won a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York (2000- 2003). She has been working in film education and training since.

THE INDEPENDENT FILM LANDSCAPE IN GHANA

The first independent film was pioneered by Kwaw Ansah and after him a few others have made great strides in Ghanaian Cinema. But celluloid became quite expensive and so Video became the order of the day and since 1986 to date it has become the format on which a number of video films have been churned out on. As in most parts of the world, filmmaking has been a male –dominated venture with regards to the more technical and the directorial aspect of it. With English being the official language of Ghana, most of these films have been made mostly in the English language with a few spurts of the vernacular where needed. But in the last twelve years, the local language films gradually became a phenomenon especially from the Ashanti regon of the country in the Akan dialect, which has remained so to date. Examples include Abrokyire Abrabo (Samuel Nyamekye, 2010) and Ennye Easy (Asare Bediako, 2012). Other regions of the country are also coming out to make films in their dialects, however the Akan dialect still dominates in the local language films (about a 1000 video films or more each year).

But in recent times, a couple of young Ghanaian female filmmakers are the ones dominating the Ghanaian video film scene and winning awards both locally and in other parts of Africa within the last five years. They include Leila Djansi (I Sing Of A Well, 2009; Sinking Sands, 2011; And There Was You, 2013) and Shirley Frimpong-Manso (A Sting In A Tale, 2009; Contract, 2012; The Devil In The Detail, 2014). Other female actresses turned producers are fast following suit with their works, but the two aforementioned filmmakers still dominate.