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I SING OF A WELL
Dir. Leila Djansi
Ghana. 2009. 100 mins. English
Prince Wenambe(J.O.T. Agyeman) hands the troubled Kingdom of Kotengbi over to Mansa Musa for protection, allowing him to win the throne from his father. But in order to ascend the throne, Wenambe must first find a wife. He chooses the beautiful Soraya (Akofa E. Asiedu). Wenambe then watches helplessly as Emperor Mansa Musa sells the kingdom off to slave traders. Even the son borne by his new wife cannot lessen his shame at losing the respect and sovereignty of his people. What unfolds is an epic tale about the Atlantic slave trade told from an African perspective.
A BAFTA/LA Award winning writer, director, and producer, Leila Djansi began her filmmaking career in Ghana at the age of 19 with the Ghana Film Company. Working her way to the United States on an Artist Honors Scholarship to study film at the Savannah College of Art and Design, her 2009 directorial debut “I Sing of a Well” netted an unprecedented 11 nominations at the African Academy Awards, winning the special Jury Award for Overall Best Film. She followed up with the Black Reel Awards nominated Ties That Bind, staring Kimberly Elise (Confirmation, John Q) in 2012. Leila continuously uses her art to bring light to women’s issues internationally whiles employing diversity both in front of and behind the camera. Her latest film, Like Cotton Twines explores issues of modern day slavery when an African American volunteer travels to a rural community in Ghana to teach and discovers one of his students, a 14-year-old girl, has to become a religious slave. The film won the best narrative feature at the 2016 Savannah film festival, winning the same category at the Riverbed film festival in 2017. Her other credits include Where Children Play with Grammy Winner Macy Gray and the UNiFEM Ghana advocacy film Sinking Sands.