JUNGLE, film by Ghanaian to show at American Sundance Film Festival

A short film, JUNGLE, by US-based Ghanaian director and scriptwriter, Asantewaa Prempeh, has made it to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

It is the second film by a Ghanaian in 15 years to make it to the prestigious American film festival.

“The Sundance Film Festival brings the most original storytellers together with the most adventurous audiences for its annual program of dramatic and documentary films, shorts, New Frontier films, installations, performances, panel discussions, and dynamic music events,” says the Sundance’s website.

Producer of JUNGLE, Asantewaa, said she was particularly excited because the film was one of thousands submitted by film-makers across the world.

The panel reviewed and selected it as one of 72 short films to be screened at this year’s festival which starts on January 21 and ends on the 31 January, 2016, at Park City, Utah, USA.

JUNGLE is listed in the U.S. NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS category because it was set in New York City.

The film details the story of two Senegalese hawkers – Amadou and Yaya – trying to make a living on the streets of New York City.

The two friends are engaged in the illegal business of selling purses on the streets of Chinatown, NYC but have to contend with problems of trust, betrayal, and forgiveness which are critical in running of an illegal business.

“Tired with an unpredictable means of making money, they both want to move to a more permanent spot and become licensed vendors. Complications arise when Yaya finds information he was not privy to and we watch the lines of trust and betrayal threaten their friendship.”

According to Asantewaa Prempeh, the theme of the film was inspired by her personal experience of a family feud.

“I was curious and that curiosity led me to explore the betrayal trust between two people and how people deal with and recover from such betrayal,” she said.

The Ghanaian/American filmmaker whose passion for filmmaking was ignited by the struggles of a college classmate with HIV AIDs, said it was her hope that JUNGLE after Sundance will take a life of its own.

Films screened at the Sundance Festival “have gained critical recognition, received commercial distribution, and reached worldwide audiences eager for fresh perspectives and new voices.” She is convinced JUNGLE will be appreciated and people can see their personal stories through the narrow prisms of the film.

She was full of praise for Ghanaian Home Accessories company, Black Park which sponsored the production of the film. But for the support of Black Park, Asantewaa said she would not have produced JUNGLE and the national attention Ghanaian will receive at Sundance would not happen.

She prayed other corporate organizations in the country to support the arts as this is one sure way to help grow an industry that has unlimited potential to create jobs and more importantly, opportunities locally.

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