Godfred Owusu, a third year Communication Design student won two awards at the African Smartphone International Film Festival. Godfred, who majors in Film and Animation as a course option participated in the festival held in December 2021 with participants from countries such as, United States of America, Canada, India and Nigeria. “Shorti” won an award for the Best Short Film, whereas Godfred won an award for the Best Lead actor in his film.
This short film by Godfred embodies the concept of self-actualization. “Shorti” envisages finding the doubts in the fault of one’s self and accepting to be what one actually is in order to move on.
Quist, the main character, faced a stereotype about his height. The story comes to the point where he has to accept himself for who he is in order to accept any other person into his life.
According to Godfred, “my idea of this short film was inspired by a YouTube short film, “Stutterer”, which had won an Academy Award”. Drawing on a different concept by the inspiration of this short film, he created a short film relatable to his life, which he called “Shorti”. With the help of a few friends, they succeeded in producing “Shorti”.
“Shorti” was created in December 2020 during the world wide Pandemic, COVID-19. With the closure of schools in Ghana as a result of the pandemic, Godfred, while home was inspired to take film making lessons from March to December 2020. With the knowledge he derived from reading filmmaking books online, he decided to produce the short film.
Godfred played the role of the director and lead actor, whereas his friend Junel Junior, 3rd year student of University of Ghana, Legon being the original script writer, assistant director and the cinematographer. After production, he gathered a group of friends and classmates to support him in post-production.
On the challenges faced in producing “SHoRTI”, Godfred stated, “we didn’t have crew members so it was like hell. Junel and I had to set up lighting and sets and shoot all by ourselves. Although some of my friends showed up once in a while but there lack of consistency to a point where Junel himself wasn’t even available and so production halted”.
The short film was shot using an iPhone 7 and a selfie stick only. Being ready to shoot their video Godfred stated “a selfie stick I borrowed from a friend got damaged three days before the shoot and to make matters worse, the iPhone itself suddenly went off a day before the shoot. The location and set was a mess. We had not changed anything…and was contemplating on ending the production. It took the encouragement of a cousin, Kofi Poku who motivated us to set up and shoot irrespective of the outcome. We also had some financial support from some friends and fixed the phone. A friend, Asare Methuselah more than a brother to me, got me a selfie stick. Shorti was back in production!”. Our production ended up a selections and nominations and finally winning an award.
Apart from “Shorti”, Godfred has also produced other short films such as “Midnight Hunger” and “Purgatory” all on his YouTube channel at Tril Studios. He also played the role of Elvis in the film “Breaking Free”. Godfred has pending productions, titled “Snitch” and other films based on Ghanaian African Tales to explore the Ghanaian and African Cultures. He hopes to collaborate with other film makers in his future productions.
Godfred sees his productions to become one recognized for its content in years to come, transcending the African Continent and becoming a worldwide production.
“My advice to all admirers and those inspired to follow in my footsteps is to start whatever you believe you can achieve now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed… however today is, and all should remember that sacrifice, faith and discipline are three important factors required to be successful”. He believes that, not being ready to sacrifice will not guarantee any outcome. An absence of disciple terminates one’s drive to continue and an absence of faith is a waste of one’s time.