Training the future generation of Ghanaian movie makers

Kwabena Eddie Mankata, 35, is a filmmaker, screenwriter, author and movie director. He is also a film trainer with YMCA Ghana, in West Africa. In 2020, he created with YMCA young people six short Coronavirus-themed films to raise awareness about the virus and to inform the people of Ghana and beyond. He shares his passion for filmmaking, and the impact of movies in the communities.

Portrait of Kwabena Eddie Mankata smiling at the camera, with book shelves behind himKwabena is from Adukrom Akwapim in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He studied Civil Engineering. “I grew up reading a lot of books”, he shares. “With reading came a good foundation for writing, and having watched a lot of African movies, I developed a passion for filmmaking. It didn’t take long for me to start writing films from beginning to end. But at the time, I lacked the basic elements of screenwriting and directing. When YMCA Ghana partnered with Weltfilme.org to train young filmmakers, it was an opportunity for me to gain experience, and now I am passing on that knowledge to a lot of young people both members and non-members of the YMCA.”

Kwabena then started directing his own movies. He says: “In 2018, YMCA Ghana launched a call for young filmmakers to train and produce short films, and I applied. I got selected and made a short film called ‘Carrying Dreams’. It won the Best Film/Video by a black filmmaker at the XXXIV Black International Cinema 2019 in Berlin”.

Kwabena has decided to share his passion with the YMCA. In the past three years, he has trained over two hundred young people: “I train in areas of screenwriting, story conception and development, character development, tension, act structure etc… and directing. Some training sessions are for only females and others are mixed”.

A movie is not only made to entertain people, but also to inform and to make them reflect. Kwabena confirms: “Films are important because they are a powerful medium of conveying information to any kind of audience since they engage all five senses. I have seen how the audience has been moved simply by moving pictures without any dialogue. Usually, after the films are done, we have a mobile cinema tour where we take the films to communities, premiere, and engage them in dialogue. I have realized over the years how films leave a lasting impression on people and raise awareness more.”

Kwabena Eddie Mankata in a class teaching screenwriting to YMCA young people

Kwabena is a trainer for the Digital Film School, a series of online courses for screenwriters currently at the developing phase. This is an initiative of AUCC, Deutsche Welle Akademie, WELTFILME.org and Ghana YMCA with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). He says: “A lot of young people are interested because making a film is expressive, reflective, revealing, engaging and liberating. It creates a platform to explore their creativity”. Follow the YMCA Ghana Facebook page to find out more about the upcoming movies.

More information