Ghana’s Year of Return has undoubtedly sparked a lot of excitement worldwide, especially among Africans in the diaspora. Throughout last year, foreigners of African ancestors flooded into the country. It might be safe to say that most were attempting to take a closer look at their roots. In November, Ghana gave citizenship to 126 people from the diaspora. It is, perhaps, on these resounding notes of home and hospitality that new stories are being told.
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Joseph is an inspirational film about a young Caribbean doctor who struggles with his natural inclination to follow in his physician father’s footsteps when he begins to be compelled by the natural, herbal approach to healing that his Maroon grandfather practices. The Maroon community in Jamaica is said to have people of the Ashanti region in Ghana as their ancestors. A dramatic event prompts Joseph to fulfil a promise he made and find his truth in Ghana. Joseph will premiere in Lagos on January 22nd at Filmhouse Cinemas in Landmark Village, and it will be released in cinemas across the country from Friday, January 24th.
The film was written and directed by Marian Weekes, a Jamaican film director. It explores the cultural ties that cut across intercontinental lineages, as well as the similarities between the Caribbean and Ghanaian life. Weekes founded the Praise of Academy of Dance in Barbados, where students are offered an interesting mix of Christian spirituality and creative guidance. Weekes has been instrumental in developing the school into an influential institution of arts. The lead character of the film is played by the Jamaican actor Kevoy Burton, who shared in an interview that his first visit to the continent was ‘spiritual’. According to Burton, ‘people didn’t know I was Jamaican until I spoke.’ Burton plans to use this role as a means of breaking into the Nigerian film industry. Weekes reportedly reached out to Kevoy Burton after seeing him in Ghett’a Life, a 2011 action film.
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Kevoy stars in the film alongside a diverse cast from Ghana and Jamaica: Chris McFarlane and Shantol Jackson, media personality Khadine ‘Miss Kitty’ Hylton, Barbadian soca queen Alison Hinds, and Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Shontelle Layne. Shontelle has worked quietly in the music industry as a successful songwriter for many years. She was behind the lyrics of Rihanna’s ‘Man Down’, and you might remember her 2008 R&B hit, T-Shirt. Nollywood favourites, Mawuli Gavor and Sika Osei also star in this film. Mawuli Gavor, who plays Kweku, the best friend of Joseph in the movie, is a Ghanaian-born TV presenter, actor, producer and entrepreneur. He is now based primarily in Nigeria, where his career as an actor has seen him feature in television series like ‘Hush’ and in hit films like ‘Chief Daddy’ as well as the recent ‘Sugar Rush’. When asked how he felt Joseph would impact intercontinental relationships, Mawuli stated:
“It’s a bit ridiculous how disconnected our two worlds are considering how similar we are. Ultimately we’re just distant relatives, and the film helps all of us regardless of which side of the divide we belong.”
Joseph reportedly premiered in Ghana in December to rave reviews. It will move to the Caribbean region after screening in Nigeria this month.
Praise Academy of Dance
The Guardian NG
Featured Image Source: PM News
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