According to the creator – Anokye: The Truth of Destiny is an action adventure 2D animation that introduces the world to its first TV African super hero! The story is set in West Africa and based on the creation of the Asante Kingdom in 17th century Ghana.
Plans to bring this to local television screens are fairly advanced and the producers are welcoming donations (crowdfunding) to support so the final processes of compositing, editing, and packaging the series as well as finishing a pilot episode.
We caught up with the creator and director Akua Ofosuhene to find out more about this exciting and refreshing project and her work to date.
Hello Akua, welcome to The British Blacklist. Could you tell us a bit about your background and especially how you got started in film production?
Hello, my move into film production came quite late in life after the birth of my son 12 years ago. I started my career as a hat maker and fashion designer, selling in Camden and Kensington, then travelling round the country and Europe selling my wares, but deep down I always wanted to make films so after having my son I went back to university to study TV production.
You are potentially breaking new ground with the project, Anokye: The Truth of Destiny. How and why did you decide to turn a quintessential Ghanaian heritage story from the 17th century into 2D animation series?
The first film I ever made was a documentary about Queen Yaa Asantewaa who led a war against the British in 1900 after the British governor asked the Asante to give him the Golden Stool of Asante. Yaa Asantewaa lost the war, but the Golden Stool was never captured by the British. While making the documentary I became fascinated with how the Golden Stool came to be in the first place and my obsession with the Anokye story started, but this time I wanted to make a story that would be immediately accessible to all audiences. Animation I think is the best medium to speak to all ages.
Why do you think so few black or African centred animation films/projects of this type get made?
Firstly, it’s a matter of finance. Animation is really expensive. Although the few African centered animations that have done really well, distributors who are mostly white, have their minds set that only African stories with animals do well. The only cure is to make animations on a shoe string and get it out there for audiences to see. There are also political reasons why African stories are not held up as commercial and popular.
What is the latest on the Anokye project as a full-blown television series?
Fund raising has gone well and the main artists have chosen to take a huge pay cut for the next year. So we are currently looking for a new home for Anokye studios to continue production. Hopefully we will move in September. It will take us a year to finish everything, but we are committed to make it happen.
How and where can supporters donate towards the completion of the series?
Nimstreet.com, although we are also looking at Kickstarter and Indiegogo as Nimstreet is still only a site you can pledge money to. We also have a new range of merchandise that we will begin selling to help raise more money.
Do you believe degrees in Animation, Digital Media and Graphic Design are useful for students interested in a career in film making?
Yes, very much so, because technology has made it possible for anyone with dedication and imagination to tell amazing stories, but if you want to make anything longer than 10 minutes then you also need money to live on as these mediums are really time consuming.
Are black and other ethnic groups are underrepresented in animation film labs?
Definitely. Even in America where you have some of the best animation talent with over 20 years of experience in some of the really big studios, they just don’t get the opportunity to direct. A producer friend of mine was in South Africa and visited a studio that had government funding to train young black Africans and they didn’t have a single black face in the studio. When asked about this they said black people don’t want to do animation. This is something we both knew not to be true.
What is your favourite animated production of all-time?
Can I have a few? My favorite animation productions of all time are Kirikou and the Sorceress, Mark of Uru, Avatar, The Last Airbender and everything from Studio Ghibli.
What are you doing once this interview is over?
I’ll be going back to my day job which is designing handbags. We have a trade show coming up in New York next week and I have to do some work on a new political TV series that we have in pre-development.