A film by Akosua Adoma Owusu
2013, 26 minutes
No. 061


Drawing upon the rich mythology of Ghana, this magical short film combines semi-autobiographical elements from the filmmaker's life with local folklore to tell a spellbinding story of a young American woman who returns to West Africa for her father’s funeral, only to discover his hidden double identity.

Kwaku Ananse is a traditional West African fable about a being that is part man and part spider, who spends years collecting all wisdom of the world in a wooden pot. As he tries to hide the pot in a tree, he can’t find a way to place it high up in its branches. When his little son, Ntikuma shows him the way, Kwaku Ananse becomes so angered, he throws the pot down onto the ground. It bursts and the wisdom seeps away. Everyone rushes over, hoping to salvage what they can.

Nyan Koronhwea returns to her father Kwaku Ananse's native Ghana for his funeral. They had lost contact with each other a long time ago. She has mixed feelings about her father’s double life with one family in Ghana and another in the United States. Overwhelmed by the funeral, she retreats to the spirit world in search for Kwaku Ananse. She carries her ambivalence with her into the forest, where she learns the ultimate truth about all human relationships.

Winner, African Movie Academy Award, Best Short Film
Nominee, Golden Bear for Best Short Film, Berlin Film Festival
Special Mention, Cinemas D'Afrique Angers
Official Selection, Cannes Short Film Corner
Official Selection, BFI London Film Festival
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival
Official Selection, Locarno Film Festival

"Akosua Adoma Owusu infuses her short films with the stories, myths, culture, history, and semi-autobiographical details of her American and Ghanaian roots. African and African American fabrics, hairstyles, fables, history, and music are examined in their complex relationship to gender, culture, and identity." - Museum of Modern Art