We have continued to follow the work of filmmaker and artist Akosua Adoma Owusu, whose films have screened worldwide in prestigious film festivals, museums, galleries, universities and microcinemas all over the world, in the past decade
Recently named one of Indiewire’s “6 Avant-Garde Female Filmmakers Who Redefined Cinema,” Owusu has exhibited her work worldwide, including at the Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Rotterdam, Centre Pompidou and London Film Festival. She is also a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow.
Now her latest work, “Reluctantly Queer,” will make its world premiere in the short film competition at the Berlinale (The Berlin Film Festival) next month. This will be her second short film in competition at the film festival after debuting another short film there in 2013.
Written and performed by Kwame Edwin Otu, who is currently a pre-doctoral Fellow in Anthropology at Syracuse University, “Reluctantly Queer” deals with, in their words, the “unsettling life of a young Ghanaian man struggling to reconcile his love for his mother with his love for same-sex desire amid the increased tensions incited by same-sex politics in Ghana.”
The film focuses, according to Otu, on “a letter that is ultimately filled with hesitation and uncertainty (that) both disrobes and questions what it means to be queer for this man in this time and space.”
Though shot on Ms Owusu’s preferred film format of 8MM, the film, at first, may seem like a radical departure from her previous work but not really, as she says: “Thematically, my films have been explorations in telling and retelling stories. Many of my films have been inspired by personal stories or my own experiences related to my struggles with identity. Though my works have been personal to me, I think part of their appeal is that they are extremely relatable…”
“With ‘Reluctantly Queer’ I am again retelling a story rooted in struggles with identity, though in this film I found inspiration in a story not my own but in one parallel to mine in many ways. ‘Reluctantly Queer’ was written and performed by Kwame Edwin Otu based on his dissertation of the same title. The film chronicles his struggles with his identity as a queer Ghanaian man and the tensions that it brings with his mother… His conflicts with identity were internal while mine were external; so our narratives parallel.”
Below is the trailer for the short: