Ghanaian movie, Keteke, directed by filmmaker, Peter Sedufia, is one of two movies opening this year’s edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO), taking place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from today, February 23 to March 3.
Ghana is making a return to FESPACO after a decade’s hiatus and it is doing so in grand style as Keteke has been nominated for the Gold standard of Yennenga, which is the overall best film category at the festival. Keteke is competing with 20 other films from 16 African countries for the $20,000 prize money.
Peter Sedufia becomes the second Ghanaian director after the legendary Kwaw Ansah of Heritage Africa fame to be nominated in that category in the 50-year history of FESPACO.
FESPACO, an annual event, attracts movie industry professionals and offers them the chance to establish working relationships, exchange ideas and promote their work.
It is also aimed at contributing to the expansion and development of African cinema.
While Ghana has in the past had some good representation at the festival, a lack of policy direction and support for the sector has led to the country’s absence at the festival for more than a decade.
“Ideally, Ghana should be heavily represented because it's going to be a festival of cultures and film investment among others.
Interestingly, the Creative Arts Council which they say is supposed to coordinate some of these activities knows nothing about FESPACO”, an industry source told the Daily Graphic.
The Daily Graphic understands that the French Embassy in Ghana is facilitating sponsorship for the Keteke team to attend the festival.
Keteke, shot in 2017 and focused on Ghana’s rail system in the 1980s, tells a story of a couple, Boi (Adjetey Anang) and Atswei (Lydia Forson), living in Puna, who are bent on delivering their first baby in their home town Akete.
When Atswei gets close to delivery, the couple head to Akete but unfortunately, they miss the train which is the only means of transport to the town.
They compound their situation by taking a wrong turn and find themselves in the middle of nowhere and how they deal with the situation is what makes the movie interesting.
Since its release, Keteke has won awards at various film events in Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Burundi and Nigeria.
The director, Peter Sedufia, told the Daily Graphic he was humbled by the nomination and more proud that it was opening the festival.
“I remain grateful to my team for believing in the vision. Keteke has reinforced my dream to see Ghanaian film go beyond its borders and I will continue to work hard to achieve this dream”, Peter stated.
The producer of the movie, Laurene Manaa Abdallah, who is also a lecturer at the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), told the Daily Graphic that having the movie of her student open such a huge festival was a dream come true.
“As lecturer to most of the crew members, I saw it as an opportunity to support with my resources and fulfill what film training is all about, not just train, but support; and today here we are,”.
“To this end, we hope the Ghana Association of Film and Television Arts (GAFTA) will continue to work towards a better atmosphere for filmmakers and the passage of the National Film Authority law to make the industry worth every effort and sacrifice,” Laurene stated.
The lead actress of the movie, Lydia Forson, expressed satisfaction at how far the production had traveled.
“It is every actor’s dream to be part of a production that has traveled as much as this has, and I still can’t believe that after two years, this movie continues to make Ghana proud across the world.
More than anything, I hope this movie and its achievements gives the industry the boost it needs and investors the confidence to invest in it”, Lydia said.