Rhythms of the Globe is producing Akwaaba (“Welcome”), an urban romantic comedy reflecting the the multi-faceted fabric of Ghanaian life. Set in present day Ghana, Akwaaba chronicles a young woman's self-discovery through the culture of an Africa most people have never seen or heard.

Concept

In the tradition of "The Harder They Come", "Saturday Night Fever" and “Once” – unique in contemporary music and story, a vehicle for a specific genre of music, and the ability to reach beyond the genre to attract a global audience – Akwaaba is a platform for African music and culture.

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote about the many recent films portraying Africa as a place of corruption, violence, and disease: “It is exhausting having your conscience pricked so regularly.” Yet, Africa possesses enormous diversity and cultural richness that rarely is depicted by the media. What better way to represent a new, emerging Africa than through a romantic comedy featuring contemporary music and culture – a positive rendering of Africa, with no violence, disease, corruption or elephants!

STORY

An urban romantic comedy based on a true story, Akwaaba follows Gwen, a young American white woman who travels to Ghana because Ghanaian music touched her heart when she was young. Just fired from her job as an assistant at a record company in NYC, Gwen decides to visit Ghana, where she gets involved in the music business, working with a band that wants to establish a presence outside of West Africa.

Going through the usual ups and downs of a romantic comedy, with the added dynamic of Gwen being in very different cultural surroundings, she is able to obtain showcases in New York and Los Angeles, and a world tour. (When the movie is released, the band(s) actually will be on tour). Most importantly, Gwen finds what she is seeking in Ghana, inspiration in the people and in the music that will change her life.

CONFLUENCE

The timeliness for Akwaaba is demonstrated by a confluence of events:

  • Sony Music announced the opening of an office in Lagos, Nigeria, the first step towards establishing a footprint in a West African market that “… has huge growth potential”, and last year Universal announced a five-year plan to expand into the market. Billboard, February 29, 2016.
  • One of the five Roundtables at the American Film Market Conference in November 2015 in Los Angeles was “African Co-Productions: The Possibilities and the Challenges – An initiative to further the development and promotion of the African film industry for films produced in Africa with cross-cultural appeal.”
  • On August 8, 2015 The New York Times reports about Ghanaian Hiplife’s New York debut at a sold-out Apollo Theater in New York City, with a concert featuring the Ghanaian Hiplife star Sarkodie. “The Apollo is an exciting way for the Ghanaian artists to reach out to broader audiences and to enter into the American mainstream musical consciousness.”
  • The growing recognition of “African Creative Industries: The Sleeping Giant”, the lead story in the January 2014 issue of African Business.
  • The Financial Times has reported about Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry. In September 2014 PwC released its “Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2014 – 2018: South Africa – Nigeria – Kenya”, indicating “Nigeria’s filmed entertainment market generated revenues of US$178 million in 2013, and, driven by the continuing popularity of the local film industry, Nollywood, revenues will grow to reach an estimated US$258 million in 2018.”
  • There is a newfound energy in the Ghanaian creative communities, whose films reach the same Nollywood market. “The whispers among those in the know are saying that Ghana’s capital Accra is the next big hotspot for African cultural production.” Afripedia, February, 2016.
  • CNN refers to the “famously easy-going people of Ghana”, and Inc. recognizes Ghana as “West Africa's success story”. Ghana has been peaceful, stable, and growing economically for the past 20 years, experiencing its first peaceful transition of power in 2000.
  • An expanding, rapidly emerging global audience interested in different cultural experiences.
  • New distribution platforms through which Akwaaba can gain access to these expanding audiences.
  • “The 56th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony reflected a changed music business in which top celebrities command constant attention yet a monster hit can come from anywhere.” The New York Times, January 27, 2014.

MARKETS

The proven, ready markets for Akwaaba comprise a cross-section of traditional demographics: those interested in the new global sounds; Nollywood’s (Nigeria’s $200 million film industry) expanding audiences in Africa and in North America, the UK, and Europe; audiences interested in inventive, independent films featuring music and exploring different cultures; and audiences liking romantic comedies.

As the film is being made, these markets will be targeted with information about the film and its music, setting the stage to attract a global audience for the film, the music, touring and merchandising.

Team

Laurence Singer

Producer and Music Supervisor

Akwaaba is being developed for Rhythms of the Globe by Laurence Singer, who is serving as...

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King Ampaw

Director

King Ampaw is the director. King studied filmmaking in Ghana and Europe, and has achieved...

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Get in Touch

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Contact Info

Laurence Singer
Phone: 1 646 327-8772