Real Life Documentary Festival

I arrived in Ghana late on Monday evening, in time to take part in the final day of the 6th Annual Real Life Documentary Festival in Accra on Tuesday. Festival director, Lydie Diakhate, invited me to give a Master class in documentary film making, which I did, using The Witches of Gambaga as a case study. Researching, directing and then completing a documentary film is all about building relationships: working with subjects, forging a team and then creating alliances, political and personal, to obtain funding. The film would never have been made without the incredible support and commitment of my co-producer, Amina Mama, and the women’s movement in Ghana – not to mention the many friends and NGOs, who in their various ways, contributed. The audience at the Maison Francaise at the University of Ghana, where the Masterclass took place, was too big to workshop ideas in pairs. There were about 70 students in the audience altogether. However, I was able to show clips from some of my favourite, award-winning documentaries: Pray The Devil Back to Hell, Fork Films’ amazing celebration of  the women’s peace movement in Liberia and Somewhere Special, directed and filmed by Darren Hercher, who also did the camera work on The Witches. I really enjoyed giving the Master class and the Q & A session with the students after the screening of The Witches of Gambaga, went well. Thank you, Lydie, for inviting me to take part in your festival. And warm congratulations to Leymah Gobwee, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Tawakul Karman of Yemen for  being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace today for your non-violent activism.

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