Gyasiwa Ansah

Interview by Beti Ellerson during FESPACO,  Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 1997 for the African Women in Cinema Project.

You have a unique experience as a filmmaker. You are the daughter of the award-winning filmmaker, Kwaw Ansah.  What was it like growing up as a girl in the world of filmmaking in Ghana?

My dad Kwaw Ansah has made several films.  He did his first one, Love Brewed in an African Pot, when I was ten years old, I was on the set during the filming, and I have been working on location with him ever since.  I was actually production manager on both of his last two films, Harvest at 17 and Crossroads, which is a documentary.

As a kid, my idea of making films came from watching television.  I always thought that human beings were behind the television set, so it was a spectacle for me to go on the set and have it explained further.  I actually realized that they would have to shoot with a camera, that there was a cameraman, there was a sound person, there were actors, and all.  It was during that period that I acquired my interest in filmmaking.

Though while growing up I used to like dancing, right from the beginning I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker.  My father advised me that in order to better understand film, I should do my first degree in theater arts before going into cinema.  So I had my first degree in theater arts and I majored in directing for the stage.