Ghanaian Video Tales
A Film by Tobias Wendl (Germany 2005, 60 min.)
Ghanaian Video Tales introduces the exciting and unique genre of African horror movies – and the filmmakers behind it. Since the early 1990s video technology has deeply changed the African media-world. Easy handling and affordable cost of production have enabled filmmakers to tell their own stories for their local audiences. Their practice of stitching together the most diverse models and cultural forms – from Hong Kong and Hindi cinema to local witchcraft folklore, from Brazilian telenovelas to classic Western horror films – has resulted in a growing and bubbling, highly evocative cinematic mythology of the modern. Ghanaian directors produce about 50 new titles every year – films which are watched by millions of people. The documentary draws the portrait of five Ghanaian filmmakers, actors and producers. It presents original clips from some of their most famous movies: from the initial blockbuster Zinabu, to the snakeman cycle Diabolo about a man who transforms his female victims into money-vomiting monsters, to some of the more recent demonic stories such as Babina and Satan’s Wife. It includes interviews with the pioneers and protagonists of the scene, everyday observations on set, and last but not least, it follows the way of the films themselves – from production to projection. A tribute to the syncretism of cinema and the power of imagination.
With William Akuffo, Ashiagbor Akwetey Kanyi, Alex Boateng, Richard Quartey, Socrate Safo, Bob Smith Jnr. and others. Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Research Centre Media and Cultural Communication, University of Cologne. The film received an Award of Commendation der Society of Visual Anthropology für den Film Ghanaian Video Tales, Film, Video and Interactive Media Festival der American Anthopological Association, Washington 2007.
Tobias Wendl, African Arts and Visual Cultures, Institute of Art History, Free University of Berlin, Koser Str. 20, 14195 Berlin. Tobias.firstname.lastname@example.org.