It has become evident that female movie makers from Africa have taken the continent’s movie industry a step further in recent times.
Chineze Anyaene’s ‘Ije’ and Leila Djansi’s ‘Sinking Sands’ are a few classic examples.
The world is about to witness another landmark achievement in the history of movies as an American-based Ghanaian female filmmaker, Yaa Boaa Aning, parts the curtains for ‘Bleeding Sunshine’, an international standard feature film on human trafficking.
Yaa has just wrapped up the Ghana shoot of the film but would take shots from some other significant locations in Egypt, Dubai and Israel.
‘Bleeding Sunshine’ sheds light on the untold intricacies of human trafficking with emphasis on African teenagers trafficked to other parts of the world, particularly to Europe for mostly commercial sexual exploitation.
It significantly tackles some of the modus operandi of traffickers while sharing firsthand information on what victims go through.
This brings to bare the nightmares of a young Ghanaian girl, played by Suzzy Nabor, who was adopted from her humble fishing village and thrust into the gritty world of international human trafficking.
Yaa Boaa Aning wrote the film’s script five years ago when she was doing a research on Interpol. Through the research, she came across an article which inspired her to carry further investigation into human trafficking issues.
Yaa Boaa, a Bachelor’s degree holder from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has worked in Hollywood for the last 10 years, is fascinated by the beautiful locations in Ghana and stated that it was one of the factors that inspired the feature.
“I mean it is so beautiful out here. Part of the reasons to shoot was to show Ghana in a way it has never been shown before to the world before. There is going to be photo-tourism. Everywhere we turned our camera there is richness of culture and we want people in abroad to see and remind people that leave here how special this place is and also inspire them to look after it,” she told NEWS-ONE.
“There were certainly some challenges that I did justice to. But I mean the benefit is just how great the locations are here. We shot in Prampram and the abandoned Polo Club with the view of ocean with horses running in the background. We also did a number of sunrise shots, with fishermen pushing their boats out into the ocean and the sun coming up behind them. There are incredible scenes out there that I don’t get to see in Hollywood. You know it is something so different. It is really great. The pictures have never been done before,” added Chase Bowman, Director of photography (DOP) of Bleeding Sunshine.
Chase is a top Hollywood DOP with film credits like ‘Excuse Me For Living’ featuring Tom Pelphrey, Christopher Lloyd, Robert Vaughn, Wayne Knight, Jerry Stiller and Dick Cavett; the Warner Bros. release ‘Listen To Your Heart’ featuring Cybil Shepherd and Ernie Sabella; ‘In a Pickle’ starring Jackie Mason, and ‘Cost of a Soul’, which was theatrically released nationwide at 50 AMC theaters in April 2011.
He started shooting professionally at the age of fourteen, refined his skills by studying art and photography in Rome, and ran his own production company for ten years. His involvement in ‘Bleeding Sunshine’ is his first experience working in Ghana and second in Africa after his previous job in Kenya.
With heart-throbbing scenes, the story of ‘Bleeding Sunshine’ is told with a great cast from around world; one reason the movie is expected to sell internationally.
Although Hollywood cast are to be made public, the film’s African cast will include 2007 ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Omar Sheriff, Amonobea Dodoo, Steven Kanumba, 2011 Pan African best Actor- Chris Attoh, 2010 Zanzibar Intl Film Fest Award Best Actress-Yvonne Cherryl from Tanzania, and 2010 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) Best Actor, AdjeteyAnang (Pusher).
AMAA 2011 Best Actress - Ama K Abebrese, Suzzy Nabor, Jasmine Baroudi of ‘Adams Apples’ fame, Lady Arafua, R&B sensation Katou and Lucy Kwao and others are part of the cast.
“I played the character of Captain Addo, a fisherman, the father of Suzzy, the little girl who was trafficked overseas. But I have shot lifespan in it. It is great production and very professional. I was always on my toes because I knew that I have to raise my level. It wasn’t a layback experience or like what we have back home. The director and crew were down to earth; I can’t pinpoint anything I didn’t like about this production,” Adjetey Anang said about his role in the project.
Yaa Boaa hoped the film would be the next big thing on the international movie scene when it was finally done.
Yaa Boaa, born to Ghanaian parents in the US some years ago, has made a name in USA for her enormous contributions in US entertainment industry.
She started her career in advertising in New York. But bored with the lack of creative expression in account management, she decided to try her hands at fashion show production with some of the most prominent houses in the world- Giorgio Armani, BCBG, Jeremy Scott, and Betsey Johnson to name a few.
Fashion show production lead to fashion styling, which lead to film costuming, which ultimately exposed her to the enduring art of filmmaking, working with such acclaimed directors as Michael Mann, Bill Condon and John Singleton. Never letting go of her passion for writing, between 2007 and 2010, Yaa Boaa completed her first 5 feature scripts.
In 2009, she wrote and directed award-winning short film, ‘The Prince of Venice’. Other projects include ‘Felix Triangle for President,’ which is currently in pre-production and ‘Zahara’ which is in postproduction.
Yaa is known for production roles in Hollywood movies and television series such as ‘Fast & Furious’, ‘Bolden’, ‘Forcing the Blues’, ‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard’, ‘Deep in the Valley’, ‘Fashion Rocks’, ‘Feast’, ‘xXx: State of the Union’, ‘Just Legal’, ‘Flight of the Phoenix’, ‘Stuck on You’, ‘Out of Time’ and ‘Private Practice’.
She also costumed Jamie Foxx and Usher Raymond in ‘The Kingdom’, ‘Dream Girls’, ‘Miami Vice’ and ‘In The Mix’.
Richard Nwaobi-E project managed this film and assembled a great cast as the film producer, Dave Boapong, was production manager, with Brian Angels as camera assistant.
Credit: Francis Addo, NEWS-ONE