By Samantha Ofole-Prince
His latest drama “Coming to Africa,” follows an African American who visits West Africa for the first time and for Memphis based director Anwar Jamison, it was the perfect project to pay homage to a country he has an immense love for.
“I was always escaping my neighborhood through books. It was my hobby and the most enjoyable thing I would do,” shares the writer/director. “I read Kwame Nkrumah’s biography when I was a teenager and that sparked something in me to know more about Ghana and how it was the first country on the African continent to successfully lead their revolution.”
Shot in Accra, the romantic comedy, which scooped up three Jury awards at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival, follows a philandering financial executive who finds his ideal mate when he visits the motherland.
“I wanted to play off the film ‘Coming to America,” continues Jamison, “and ironically this was way before the ‘Coming to America” sequel was announced so it’s funny that now they are lining up around the same time. I wrote this year’s back and wanted to pay homage to that film in reverse. Obviously, it’s not the same movie at all, but the premise can be traced back to my love for that movie.”
A delightful drama which offers some comic relief at a time many could use it, the film stars Ghanaian television star Nana Ama McBrown (“Tentacles,” “Asoreba”) and Khalil Kain (“Juice,” “Girlfriends”). Jamison, who also plays the film’s lead role, lightly touches on the discord between Africans and African Americans and shares some historical facts all while dishing out laughs along the way.
“I really wanted people to know that Africa is somewhere you can go and can have air conditioning and WiFi and everything that we have been scared out of believing,” says Jamison who shot 90% of the drama in Ghana. “Growing up, the view was so one sided if we were just depending on television and movies. Nowadays, it’s a little better and there are a lot of African filmmakers on the continent with films on Netflix. I just wanted to show a side of Africa to African Americans. To those on the continent, I really wanted to reach out and pay homage to the continent. I wanted to speak to them in a humble way. Americans are always going to be like ‘we are better than you,’ but some Americans also see that stereotype in reverse, and I wanted to bridge that gap. I wanted to have some real conversations that we need to have with each other all throughout the diaspora and the continent and put it in a comedic fashion.”
“Coming to Africa” will screen at the Indie Memphis Festival on Oct 23rd and release on screening platforms later this year.
Check out the trailer below:
'I wanted to pay homage to the continent,' says director Anwar Jamison
By Samantha Ofole-Prince