Akosua Adoma Owusu © Jovan Speller
Filmmaker and Artist Akosua Adoma Owusu via her production company Obibini Pictures, LLC, has optioned the exclusive film adaptation rights to "On Monday of Last Week," a short story from the collection, "The Thing Around Your Neck," by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which Ms. Owusu will produce and direct.
She has also announced that Nigerian actress, Chinasa Ogubagu, has been cast in the lead role of Kamara in the film, which "follows a Nigerian woman on her journey to self-realization... who takes on a nannying job caring for Josh, the five-year old son of Tracy and Neil, an interracial couple living in an upscale urban home. Under Neil’s direction, Kamara settles into a routine of prepping Josh for an academic competition and feeding him the latest kids’ health craze. The noticeable absence of Josh’s mother, Tracy, and her occasional outbursts heard from her artist’s studio in the basement intrigue Kamara. Kamara’s growing curiosity is piqued when Tracy finally emerges from her studio one afternoon. The brief encounter causes Kamara to launch into an unexpected attraction, wanting nothing more than an excuse to see Tracy again."
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ms. Owusu has directed and produced award-winning films, including, most recently, "Reluctantly Queer," which was nominated for the Golden Bear and Teddy Award at the Berlinale, Berlin International Film Festival in 2016; and before that, she directed "Kwaku Ananse," which received the 2013 African Movie Academy Award in Nigeria for Best Short Film. She was also named one of Huffington Post‘s "30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know," and was a 2013 MacDowell Colony Fellow, as well as a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. You can read more about her and her work on her website here.
Chinasa Ogubagu recently starred in the Off-Broadway play "Sojourners," earning a nomination for the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play.
Also M.anifest, the acclaimed Ghanaian rapper and co-founder of Giant Steps - a Minneapolis based interactive conference for creative entrepreneurs - will be the music supervisor for the film production of "On Monday of Last Week."
As to why she was attracted to Ms. Adichie's story, Ms Owusu said: “I was compelled to create a new work by adapting literature from contemporary African writers. The themes of race, liberalism, and sexuality in Adichie’s short story 'On Monday of Last Week' resonated with my films on the ‘triple consciousness’ of the African immigrant as I transition between avant-garde cinema, fine art, and African tradition to complicate the nature of identity.”
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She also adds that other elements of the story appealed to her; specifically, identity and standards of beauty, which she has dealt with in prior work, including her award-winning short "Me Broni Ba" (2009, which investigates the fraught relationship between images of beauty and power), and her forthcoming feature "Black Sunshine" (which tells the story of a hairdresser with an albino daughter, who longs to escape her frustrating African reality).
"Black Sunshine" has received support from Creative Capital, Tribeca All Access, IFP and the Berlinale World Cinema Fund.
"Monday of Last Week" will be created with support from the Guggenheim Foundation and a Kickstarter campaign, which Owusu has launched. The goal is to raise $30,000 within the next 30 days, all of it of course going towards to production of the film adaptation.
Watch her pitch video below, and click here (or within the widget below) to go to the project's Kickstarter page to make a contribution: