“This documentary celebrates Aidoo and her work and brings it to new audiences in a way that will inspire future generations. ”
Watching Yaba Badoe’s docu-drama on the life of Ama Ata Aidoo – one of my favourite African writers – at its launch in Ghana last week, was pure delight. Ama Ata Aidoo is Africa’s first female published playwright and undeniably one of Ghana’s most influential poets and short story writers.
Masterfully directed by Badoe and with Amina Mama as Executive Producer, “The Story Of Ama Ata Aidoo,” follows the writer over a course of a year during which she travels to her ancestral village in the Central Region of Ghana and is feted at a Festschrift organized by friends and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then attends the premier of her seminal play about the local African experiences of the slave trade, Anowa, performed by UCSB Theater.
The film recognizes Ms Aidoo’s achievements in a world in which such stories are all too rarely heard. Beautiful African melodies and rhythms form the background for readings and interviews about and with Ama Ata as we follow her journey. The cinematography is truly stunning.
Ama Ata herself did not requisition the film but as she put it, let the filmmakers “do their own thing.” She describes it as “their portrayal of me,”for which she is grateful, but would not necessarily have told the story in the same way.
Speaking at the launch which was held at the British Council, Esi Sutherland Addy described Ms Ama Ata Aidoo as a legend whose works represent “five decades of creative engagement.”
The film was followed by a question and answer session which saw animated discussion and heaps of praise for Ms Aidoo and the filmmakers. The packed auditorium itself spoke volumes about the popularity of this Ghanaian author.
To end the evening Ms Aidoo had a word of encouragement for would-be and fledgling writers: make a habit of writing and don’t let anything get in the way.
“(Writing) is the most important thing, so please write,” she said.
Ms Ama Ata Aidoo’s published works include: Our Sister Killjoy, Changes, No Sweetness Here and Diplomatic Pounds, her most recent and one of my favourite.
Hats off to a woman whose voice has only gotten stronger with the years. I can’t wait for her next work.
See the link to the film here: http://amaatafilm.com/
Some of the team behind this documentary :
Yaba Badoe is a BBC-trained, award-winning documentary film maker and writer with many years experience in broadcast television. She has made arts and culture based documentaries for the main terrestrial channels in the UK. In 2003 she directed a one hour documentary about the life and work of Nobel Laureate, Toni Morrison, for BBC4. Her latest film, The Witches of Gambaga (Fadoa Films, 2010), won the 2010 Best Documentary Award at the Black International Film Festival and 2nd Prize, Documentaries at FESPACO 2011.
Amina Mama is one of Africa’s leading activist feminist scholars. A former Chair in Gender Studies at the University of Cape Town’s African Gender Institute for 10 years, she founded the journalFeminist Africa, has taught courses in African cinema and co-produced The Witches of Gambaga. She is currently on the faculty of Women and Gender Studies at the University of California, Davis.
Abena P.A. Busia
Professor Abena P. A. Busia is an accomplished poet and cultural critic best known for her role in directing and editing the award-winning Women Writing Africa Series, a ground-breaking project that familiarized her with the lives and contexts of generations of Africa’s women writers. She co-produced, with filmmaker Akosua Busia, The Prof: A Man Remembered (Prince of Peace Productions, 2008) and is currently Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.