I have always been interested in the entire gamut of theatre and film production, so you can imagine that it is with particular awe and reverence that I write about filmmakers particularly young, female filmmakers. They are gods in the part of town where I live!
Introducing with pride then, the dynamic multiple-award winning Ghanaian Writer, Director and Producer Shirley Frimpong Manso, CEO of Sparrow Productions; a film, television, and advertising production company.
Born March 16, 1977, Shirley is a daughter of the Kwahu Pepease in Eastern Ghana. She attended the Mfantsiman Girls Secondary School in the Central Region and obtained her “A” level certificate in 1996. She subsequently worked as an On-Air-Personality at Radio Gold after graduation.
In 2000, Shirley enrolled for a degree course at the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) and undertook her training concurrently with her job as an OAP.
As the story goes, Shirley met a kindred spirit during the course of her training and after a successful collaboration, Shirley knew it was time to spread her wings and fly. In August 2003, Sparrows Productions was registered- notice how the name of her company is a bird? Indeed she was ready to fly! – Despite her job commitments et al, Shirley graduated summa cum laude in Film Directing from the National Film and Television.
How does someone know for certain that so and so is their purpose, their passion, their drive? For Shirley, it was the memories of times spent writing, directing and producing plays for her playmates.
“I will organize them into groups and we will always put up some drama imagining that there was a huge audience. It just felt like a lot more fun than playing with sand and dolls. I continued in secondary school when I realized I was having more fun in English and Literature class than anywhere else. Then I knew I really wanted to pursue it once I enrolled into NAFTI,” as culled from ghanacelebrities.com.
Almost 11 years later, she has undoubtedly proved her mettle with her series, movies, adroit directing and entertaining as well as informative and realistic scripts and screen plays.
Her filmography includes:
The Perfect Picture: Shirley won the award for ‘Best Director’ for The Perfect Picture at the 2010 African Movie Academy Awards, where her films garnered a total of four awards. A Sting in a Tale: This won an Audience Favourite award at the 2010 Pan African Film & Arts Festival; Life and Living It; Scorned; Check Mate; Six Hours to Christmas;
Adams Apples, a 10-part serial released during one year starting in April 2011; Love or Something Like It; Potomanto, and the Devil in the Details, released in March, 2014.
She co-produced Contract with Yvonne Okoro and Ken Attoh and bagged three awards at the second edition of the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards [AMVCA’s] in March 2014. Her awards included ‘Best Director’ ‘Best Video Editor’ and the ‘Best Writer (Drama)’ with Herty Owusu.
The Contract was also awarded with the prestigious honor of ‘Movie of the Year.’
Is it about the awards though? Shirley says,
“I don’t sit down and do a production and think about the awards, if the awards come then great. The awards are from one or few people’s perspective. Some of the very beautiful movies that are done around the world probably never win awards. Some of the great actors even in Hollywood, they never won Oscars but they are great actors. However… it spurs you on somehow but I think the greatest reward really when your fans and the people who patronize your movies enjoy what you do. It is the biggest reward.” Via modernghana.com.
Shirley’s Facebook page attests to her desire to connect with her audience and test the veracity of her stories from their perspectives; a vulnerable state which not very many Producers or Directors will permit, I daresay.
And here ends my jolly tale today. Don’t stop dreaming, but don’t forget to wake up and work that dream to reality!