- Ghana has submitted Kwabena Gyansah’s Azali for the International Feature Film category in the 2020 Oscars
- Azali stars 14-year-old Amina from a village in northern Ghana, who escaped to Accra from her impending marriage to a 70-year-old man
- This makes it Ghana's first-ever film submission to the Oscars
A story about a teenage girl’s escape from an arranged marriage to a 70-year-old farmer, Kwabena Gyansah’s Azali is Ghana’s first-ever Oscar submission.
It has been selected by Ghana in the international feature film category at the 92nd Academy Awards, taking place on 9 February, 2020.
According to www.hollywoodreporter.com, the film features Asana Alhassan in her first role as 14-year-old Amina from a village in northern Ghana to the slums in Accra.
Amina, who was arranged to marry a 70-year-old farmer, escaped her imminent marriage but finds herself on a truck being trafficked to Burkina Faso.
The 14-year-old was saved from the truck but she moved into Accra, choosing to survive over returning to her village and marriage.
Authored by Gwandellen Quartey and directed by Kwabena Gyansah, Azali was produced by Ananse Entertainment with support from Motion Revolution.
While the country has recently become a hotbed for international movie productions such Beast of No Nation, Forgiving Earth and the upcoming USA network television show, Treadstone, which features Jeremy Irvine, Azali is Ghana’s first film submitted to the Oscars.
Chairman of Ghana’s Oscar’s selection committee, Professor Linus Abraham, noted that the film is consciousness-raising.
''We are very honoured that for the first time, Ghana has found a film worthy enough to represent it at the 92nd Oscars. This has been a long time coming and it is a testament to the growth of the Ghana film industry,'' Professor Abraham said.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ghanaian-American filmmaker Leila Djansi, reiterated that language and resources had historically been major challenges to the growth of the Ghanaian film industry.
Djansi also decried how the language barrier affects marketing films, noting that it’s easier if the film is in English.
The director of Like Cotton Twines further bemoaned the lack of interest by foreign film markets in African films beyond those that show war, extreme poverty or white saviours.
According to Djansi, this also greatly limits the creative voice and income, Briefly.co.za gathered.
However, Djansi reveals that things seem to be changing as more Africans embrace their local dialects, which will help '"strengthen the identity of African cinema".
Azali features A-list Ghanaian artistes including Adjetey Anang, Ama K Abebrese and Akorfa Edjeani.
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