Akosua Adoma Owusu
Akosua Adoma Owusu (born January 1, 1984) is a Ghanaian-American avant-garde filmmaker, producer and cinematographer whose films and installation work have screened worldwide in prestigious film festivals, museums, galleries, universities and microcinemas since 2005. Her films often address the collision of identities. Interpreting the notion of "double consciousness," coined by sociologist and civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois to define the experience of black Americans negotiating selfhood in the face of discrimination and cultural dislocation, Owusu aims to create a third cinematic space or consciousness. In her works, feminism, queerness, and African identities interact in African, white American, and black American cultural environments.
Akosua Adoma Owusu
|Born||January 1, 1984|
|Residence||Ghana, New York|
|Education||University of Virginia and California Institute of the Arts|
|Known for||Kwaku Ananse (film) (2013), Me Broni Ba (2009) and Drexciya (film) (2011)|
|Reluctantly Queer (2016), On Monday of Last Week (2018)|
|Style||Film Artist, Producer|
|Awards||John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, 2015 Creative Capital Foundation, 2015 MacDowell Colony Fellow, 2013 Africa Movie Academy Award, 2013|
Early life and education
Born to Ghanaian parents on January 1, 1984, Owusu was raised in the immigrant community in Alexandria, Virginia. She is the youngest of three siblings to Grace and Albert A. Owusu, Sr. Owusu holds master's degrees in Film & Video and Fine Art from California Institute of the Arts and received her BA in Media Studies and Studio Art with distinction from the University of Virginia.
Shortly after graduating from CalArts in 2008, Owusu was a featured artist at the 56th Robert Flaherty Film Seminar programmed by renowned critic and film curator Dennis Lim. Named by Indiewire as one of the six Avant-Garde Female Filmmakers Who Redefined Cinema, and one of The Huffington Post‘s Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know, Akosua Adoma Owusu was a 2013 MacDowell Colony Fellow and a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow.
Indiewire describes Owusu's shape-shifting film style:
Trafficking in the “complex contradictions” of blackness, displacement and memory, Owusu seamlessly transitions between experimental cinema, fine art and African tradition in order to create avant-garde films that question the nature of identity.
Her “warring consciousness” as she describes it, becomes the point of departure for her film Me broni ba (my white baby). Using hair as a medium of culture, she examines African and African-American identities and ideologies in an effort to resolve their differences. Artforum listed Me Broni Ba as one of 2010's top ten films 
She has produced award-winning films including Reluctantly Queer and Kwaku Ananse. In 2013, Kwaku Ananse received a Golden Bear nomination at the Berlinale and won the 2013 Africa Movie Academy Award for the West African nation of Ghana in the Best Short Film category. Kwaku Ananse also participated in the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma - César Golden Nights Panorama of Best Short Films, a program that selects notable short films awarded that year. Her film Reluctantly Queer was nominated for the Golden Bear and Teddy Award at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.
In 2017, Owusu produced "On Monday of Last Week", a film adaptation of a short story in celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's collection, "The Thing Around Your Neck." The film secured a nomination at the 2017 African Movie Academy Awards and screened at the Fowler Museum, ICA London  and 25th New York African Film Festival co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
In an interview with South Africa's Elle (magazine), in 2015, Owusu said "I began filming in Ghana as a way to find a place in my Ghanaian heritage. I often refer to myself as a Ghanaian-American, but I do consider myself to be an American filmmaker of Ghanaian descent. When I am in America, I feel very Ghanaian and when I’m in Ghana, I feel more American. I started traveling to Ghana with my friends from America to help me with the trauma of dealing with blackness both in Africa and in the African diaspora. My love for Africa was informed by romantic ideas about the continent as a home awaiting my arrival. Filming in Ghana, forms part of this journey." 
In 2011, Owusu exhibited work in Cusp: Works on Film & Video by Kevin Jerome Everson & Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Luggage Store Gallery. Called the “intimate and the ideal realization of the vision of a valuable genius", this show included Revealing Roots, a silent re-enactment of one of the most dramatic scenes from the television version of Alex Haley's Roots combining found footage and scenes that star Owusu along with other African actors.
Her films are produced under her production company Obibini Pictures LLC.
- 2019: Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle at Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts 
- 2019: Between Three Worlds: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu at REDCAT 
- 2019: Triple Consciousness: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
- 2019: Sala de Video: Akosua Adoma Owusu at the São Paulo Museum of Art
- 2019: Triple Consciousness: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond
- 2019: Screening: Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
- 2018: Triple Consciousness at BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels;
- 2018: African Twilight at the Bowers Museum;
- 2018: Fragments of a Dream at the McNay Art Museum;
- 2018: Screening and Conversation with Director Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Fowler Museum at UCLA;
- 2017: Akosua Adoma Owusu and Bus Nut at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center;
- 2016: Making Africa: Akosua Adoma Owusu at Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona 
- 2016: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu at Tabakalera 
- 2016: Encuentro con Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León
- 2016: L'évènement Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Centre Georges Pompidou
- 2016: Triple Consciousness at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 
- 2016: Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016 at the Whitney Museum of American Art
- 2015: Modern Mondays: An Evening with Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Museum of Modern Art 
- 2015: Existential Crisis at the Rochester Art Center 
- 2015: America Is Hard to See at the Whitney Museum of American Art 
- 2015: The Art of Hair in Africa at the Fowler Museum at UCLA 
- 2015: Two Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu at Art and Practice  in association with the Hammer Museum
- 2015: Do/Tell at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
- 2014: Prospect.3: Notes for Now New Orleans Triennial
- 2013: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Moderna Museet
- 2012: Fore at the Studio Museum in Harlem
- 2012: The Bearden Project at the Studio Museum in Harlem
- 2011: VideoStudio: Changing Same at the Studio Museum in Harlem
- 2011: Quadruple Consciousness at the Vox Populi (art gallery)
- 2009: 30 Seconds Off an Inch at the Studio Museum in Harlem
- 2009: Me Broni Ba at the Museum of Modern Art Documentary Fortnight 
In 2013, Akosua Adoma Owusu launched a global crowdfunding initiative to ‘Save the Rex’. The Rex Cinema  is one of Ghana's oldest cinema houses. During a time of political insecurity in Ghana in the 60s, 70s and 80s, there was a decline in the Arts. All of the cinema houses closed down in the wake of military coups and curfews. Owusu sought to save Rex Cinema for the purpose of preserving cinema houses.
In 2018, Owusu was commissioned by the Cobo Center to produce a video installation along Jefferson and Washington avenues in downtown Detroit, Michigan during Black History Month.
Awards and nominations
|2005||Virginia Film Festival||Ajube Kete||Ken Jacobs Award for Best Experimental Short Film||Won|
|2008||Berlin International Film Festival||Me Broni Ba/My White Baby||Berlinale Talent Campus||Won|
|2008||California Institute of the Arts||Good Hair||Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Grant||Won|
|2008||Detroit Docs||Intermittent Delight||Most Progressive Filmmaker Award||Won|
|2008||Mexico International Film Festival||Me Broni Ba/My White Baby||Silver Palm Award||Won|
|2009||Athens International Film and Video Festival||Me Broni Ba/My White Baby||Best Documentary Short||Won|
|2009||Chicago Underground Film Festival||Me Broni Ba/My White Baby||Best Documentary Short||Won|
|2010||Robert J. Flaherty Film Seminar||Work||Featured Artist||Won|
|2010||Real Life Documentary Festival||Me Broni Ba/My White Baby||Special Jury Mention, Best Short Film||Won|
|2011||Black Maria Film Festival||Drexciya||Jury's Citation Prize||Won|
|2011||African Film Festival, Tarifa||Drexciya||Special Jury Mention||Won|
|2011||Expresión en Corto International Film Festival||Drexciya||Best Experimental Short||Won|
|2012||Focus Features Africa First||Kwaku Ananse||Production Grant||Won|
|2012||Creative Capital Foundation||Black Sunshine||Film/Video Grant||Won|
|2012||Art Matters Foundation||Kwaku Ananse||Post-Production Grant||Won|
|2013||Ann Arbor Film Festival||Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful||Most Promising Filmmaker Prize||Won|
|2013||Berlin International Film Festival||Kwaku Ananse||Golden Bear Best Short Film||Nominated|
|2013||Africa Movie Academy Award||Kwaku Ananse||Best Short Film||Won|
|2013||Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma||Kwaku Ananse||Best Short Film of the Year||Won|
|2013||Arte International Prize||Black Sunshine||Development Grant||Won|
|2013||MacDowell Colony Fellowship||Black Sunshine||Screenwriting Grant||Won|
|2014||Berlin International Film Festival||Black Sunshine||Production Grant||Won|
|2015||Association Cinémas et Cultures d'Afrique||Kwaku Ananse||Special Jury Mention||Won|
|2015||John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation||Black Sunshine||Guggenheim Fellowship||Won|
|2015||Tribeca Film Institute||Black Sunshine||Tribeca All Access Development Grant||Won|
|2016||Berlin International Film Festival||Reluctantly Queer||Golden Bear for Best Short Film||Nominated|
|2016||Berlin International Film Festival||Reluctantly Queer||Teddy Award for Best Short Film||Nominated|
|2016||Baltimore International Black Film Festival||Reluctantly Queer||Audience Award for Best International Short Film||Won|
|2016||The Camargo Foundation||Save the Rex||Travel Grant||Won|
|2017||Africa Movie Academy Award||On Monday of Last Week||Best Short Film||Nominated|
|2018||Pratt Institute||On Monday of Last Week||Mellon Research Grant||Won|
|2018||International Short Film Festival Oberhausen||Oberhausen Film Seminar||Featured Artist||Won|
|2018||Goethe-Institut Vila Sul Salvador-Bahia||Black Sunshine||Artist-in-Residence||Won|
|2018||Cobo Center Marquee Video Art Series||Intermittent Delight||John S. and James L. Knight Foundation||Won|
|2019||Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts||Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle||The Westridge Foundation||Won|
|2005||Ajube Kete||writer, director, producer, cinematographer|
|2006||Tea 4 Two||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2007||Intermittent Delight||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2008||Revealing Roots||actress, director, producer|
|2008||Boyant: A Michael Jordan in a Speedo is Far Beyond the Horizon||actress, producer|
|2009||Me Broni Ba||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2010-11||Drexciya||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2012||Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful||director, producer|
|2013||Kwaku Ananse||writer, director, producer|
|2015||Bus Nut||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2016||Reluctantly Queer||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2018||On Monday of Last Week||writer, director, producer|
|2018||Mahogany Too||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2019||Pelourinho: They Don’t Really Care About Us||director, producer, cinematographer|
|2019||White Afro||director, producer, cinematographer|
|in production||Black Sunshine (feature film)||writer, director, producer|
- Owusu, Akosua Adoma, and Adwoa Adu-Gyamfi. Me broni ba. New York, NY: Cinema Guild (2009).
- Lené Hole, Kristin. Film Feminisms: A Global Introduction (2018).
- Kelly, Gabrielle. Celluloid Ceiling: Women Film Directors Breaking Through (2018) ""
- Johnson, Elizabeth. Female Narratives in Nollywood Melodramas (2016) "", p. 113.
- Ellerson, Beti. Gaze Regimes: Film And Feminisms In Africa (2015) "
- Agyeman, Erica. "Akosua Adoma Owusu: Exploring 'Threeness", The International Review of African American Art 24.3 (2013), 11-13.
- Kendall, Nzingha, "Commentary: Haunting in Akosua Adoma Owusu's Short Experimental Films" (2013). Black Camera
- Mask, Mia, "Contemporary Black American Cinema: Race, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies" (2012).
- Dovey, Lindiwe. African Feminist Engagements with Film (2012) "", p. 18-23.
- Nelmes, Jill. Introduction to Film Studies (2012) ""
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Akosua Adoma Owusu.|
- Official Website
- Akosua Adoma Owusu at the Internet Movie Database
- Akosua Adoma Owusu on MUBI
- Ghanaian Women Filmmakers
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