na wah o.
Leila, how did you find the right balance between entertaining the audience, provoking them emotionally and intellectually in regards of this movie?
Well, I have noticed I do not necessarily obey the absolute law of escapism.. Or so my editor tells me. Its very challenging when you tell the kind of stories I tell or want to tell. Raw, gritty, truthful and relatable stories are not always entertaining. When we screened Sinking Sands at cannes, we had people running out of the theater or covering their eyes at some of the scenes because they were so intense. Some people found Sinking Sands to be a thrill and did not mind the violence, others said they had nightmares. It was extremely emotional, the kind of movie that take you there. Ties That Bind is the same, but its much lighter. We have lots of heroes. All three women are heroes and so you have them to root for and I think is where the entertainment comes in. they share a lot of laughter, joy and pain together. The beauty of that relationship is the entertainment.
Kimberly Elise, Ama K Abebrese and Omotola J. Ekeinde
I’ve noticed that women have always played a huge role in your work. What did you learn from working with this particular cast?
Wow. I had an amazing cast. I learned a lot, a whole lot. The biggest thing, Omotola said to me was about a subject of rape we dealt with. She was concerned about how we treated it and offered me a lot of insight. Ebbe Bassey was playing that character and so I asked her Ebbe, do you believe the characters reaction and she said yes. She explained to me why and by the time she was done, I went back to the script on set and we worked on her dialogue. On the day we shot that scene, the entire set, over 300 people broke into applause after her performance, those of who could cry cried. Kimberly and I had the same experience about her character. How we portrayed black women, she and I spent hours researching facts and theories. As a director, I don’t tell my actors what to feel or how to feel. The script should have told them who their characters are. As a director, during character discussions, we all make sure we are on the same page about the vision of the story. When that camera rolls, it becomes the actors’ vehicle and that is how I get truthful performances out of my actors. They teach me about the character because I allow them to become that character. One main reason I am very careful who I cast. I don’t care for star power; I care for depth, intelligence and selflessness, an actor who is ready to strip self and embrace a totally new being wholeheartedly. No inhibitions.
Leila, how would you say men can relate to this film or get some inspiration and understanding from it?
Lol. I remember when we were on set, Omotola and I had this really great conversation about her husband in the story. She wanted us to portray him as a typical African man, no feeling. The stereotype African man, I objected. I did not want us to create a bad man. Not all men are bad, for the most part, they simply can’t express their true emotions because they are well, weak. It takes a very brave person to really reach down, deep in there and express an emotion.
My father was a military man. He never showed emotion. I remember one time I was taking a walk with him and I noticed he was standing in fire ants. He did not even blink though those things were climbing all over him. No reaction. After he stamped his feet a couple of times, he hoisted me onto his shoulders and we went back home. You think that’s not emotion? In the best way he knew how to show it; protecting his daughter. If he showed fear of those ants, what would I do? He was so calm. Someone would have expected a more elaborate reaction. Men are not always elaborate.
Men can relate to my work because I understood the most important man in my life, my dad. I understand their limitations, their reasoning and I create men who fight culture and self, men who struggle with inner demons. I will never create a man who is bad for no reason. Will they get inspiration? Yes they will. A lot. John Dumelo’s character is the opposite I created of David Dontoh’s character. David could not show emotion, John could, and that’s a brave man. David demonstrated emotion in a queer way like most men. Yeah, men will understand alright. Depends on which kind of man you are.
Your last two films are rather serious, is it now time for a somewhat lighter material, big entertainment movie next? What do you have planned up your sleeve?
Well, like I announced, I am done with Ghana which means I’m done with small sized films. I may do a friend a favor here or there but for my company, we’re done. It’s important for me that I am not branded a “Ghanaian filmmaker”. It’s important that I break that tag. I’d rather be known as Leila Djansi, the filmmaker than be given a tag which carries restrictions. I want to tell stories about all kinds of people and situations. Charity begins at home, I started at home. now I am moving on.”
I am Ghanaian but I do not make Ghanaian films. Considering we know what Ghanaian films are. It’s restricting my market. I need to break that tag so I’m stepping out for a bit.
Right now, we’re working on our distribution and financing outfit and also packaging two films which will shoot mid 2012. I do want to contribute to the growth of the Ghana film Industry so what I am working on now is introducing different kinds of films onto the market through theatrical distribution, films from different countries, the financing part, we will be financing projects from independent filmmakers in Ghana if we like the script.
I am an auteur; I don’t really see myself making a comedy or a romance genre any time soon. I don’t like to waste my craft by being a jack of all trades or genres. Comedies are good and all but for me they are a waste of time. I don’t even watch comedic films. I love romance genres but if I write romance, being that I’m such an intense person, I will be writing tragic romance, heavy story, which will not leave you smiling. Think Shakespeare and his tragic love stories. That sort of thing is what drives me. I intend to stick to my social issue, heavy subject films. The next film is extremely elaborate, another social issue. We attached an amazing actress during the week. It actually might be fun cos it’s not a drama, it’s a thriller. Think Blood Diamond.
Lastly, you have been celebrated enthusiastically by critics, bloggers and fans alike, and you have also been slammed. What do you take into account when responding to your critics and what advice would you give others in how to handle the stressors of being in the public eye?
That is actually the most challenging part of my life because; I am a very peace of mind driven person. I just love my peace of mind. I never ask for much. I also love critics. I had people call or email me about Sinking Sands for example, when we went back to the final cut, I had all those notes with me. How can you get better if you are not corrected? But criticism that stems from hate is always on the nose. I tell it as it is and I will not change that part of me because someone has an internet connection. I don’t take anything into account. I won’t give them that gratification. Hate me all you want, God loves me and that is all that matters.
I don’t believe in the theory that because someone is in the public eye, you lie, insult, embarrass, ridicule and just go all out to hate someone you don’t even know and the person should take it in stride. What makes that person a human being with a different tolerance level? You the person behind the computer like a shameful coward, if the situation is reversed, can you handle it? This is about having a conscience.
I’m still trying to figure out the mental make-up of such vile minds and tongues. I do believe though that they are small minded individuals who are angry because they do not have the courage or strength to face the world and make something of opportunities like you have been able to do. What I do for myself is focus on my career and where I want it to go. By the time they lift their eyes from the keyboard, God would have laid a table before me in their presence. Hate will simply drive them to different forms of suicide. You’re in public eye? Do this simple thing; pay no heed to the hate. Vent if you have to, you’re human, but, continue to do your best and let God do the rest.
Source madame yaa
Exclusive Chit Chat With Leila Djansi About Upcoming Drama 'Ties That Bind' | Madame Yaa
hmmmm. not sure if I feel what she said about haters. She sounds upset. not that I blame her. she has taken a lot of heat but maybe trying to ignore that particular question would have come off better. but the way I know this girl, she speaks her mind without worrying about the results. lol.
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Last edited by Angela81; 06-23-2011 at 02:00 AM.
observers are worried
na wah o.