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BY Abena Agyeman-Fisher, 1:04pm March 02, 2015,

Award-Winning Ghanaian Filmmaker Needs Your Help in Funding ‘Hosanna’

HosannaPerhaps you know her by her award-winning films “I Sing of a Well” (2010) and “Sinking Sands” (2011). If you don’t, then it is only a matter of time before you hear about Ghanaian U.S.-based filmmaker Leila Djansi (pictured). For her latest venture, “Hosanna” (pictured), Djansi is reaching out to the public for donations for a film that she says covers “complex economic, political, personal, and cultural issue[s]” with its focus on the challenges of immigration in the United States. Here, Djansi, who was also awarded the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival Choice Award, speaks with Face2Face Africa about her new film and why you should support it.

SEE ALSO: ‘African City’s Nana Mensah Asks Public To Support New Film ‘Queen of Glory’

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Leila Djansi

Face2Face Africa: How did you get in to filmmaking?

Leila Djansi: I’ve always been passionate about storytelling thanks to my mom. To teach us how to cook, she’d call us around during meals, and whiles she cooks, she’d tell us a story. Mostly Shakespeare. She’d always end the story on a hook, so to hear the end, you had to help her cook the next day.

I imbibed all of that. Stories became an escape for me.

I started out studying Sciences in college and was ready to become an OBGYN, but down the line, I figured it was important to do what I’m passionate about. I changed my program and went to film school in Savannah, Ga., at Savannah College of Art and Design.

F2FA: What made you make this immigration film?

LD: I was an immigrant, legal, though. But I had friends who were living here with expired papers. Some have been here for years. So for years they had never been home. I have a friend who hasn’t seen her daughter in more than 10 years. Without having a legal status, she cannot go back home and her child cannot come here.

It’s heartbreaking.

Even more heartbreaking is when people leave good jobs back home — be it in Africa or any other continent — to come to America to live the dream.

And the dream becomes cleaning feces in a nursing home or opening doors in hotels.

And these are folks who had white-collar jobs back home. Home may not be as developed as America, but money cannot buy peace of mind. Indeed, America is a land of opportunities, but honestly, nothing good comes easy.

At all.

Leaving your family for years isn’t easy.

F2FA: What is ‘Hosanna’ about?

LD: The film will document, through the eyes of “William,” some of the unfortunate circumstances illegal immigrants find themselves in.

“William” is an average educated man who wants a better life for himself and believes that America is the place to accomplish his dreams. “William” visits the United States and soon becomes an illegal.

He struggles at dead-end low-paying jobs with only one goal in sight: to become a citizen. However, after years and years of immigration lawyers, becoming a citizen just isn’t working for him.

His circumstances force him to choose whatever means necessary, which leads to his worst nightmare…and his most precious dream: his American-born son, “Hosanna.”

F2FA: Why is this film important to you?

LD: America is a great country, but do not come here unprepared. That is a very important message all travel aspirants need to understand.

Leila Djansi

Leila Djansi (r) on the set of “And Then There Was You” with actress Garcelle Beauvais (l)

F2FA: What have you been working on in addition to this film?

LD: I just wrapped up a feature called “Where Children Play,” starring Macy Gray, Leon, Teyonah Parris, Brian White, Edwina Findley, and Miranda Bailey. It is about a girl who has to nurse the Father who abused her.

F2FA: Why should the public support ‘Hosanna’?

LD: We really want to make this film via crowdfunding. It’s an important story, especially to those of us who are naturalized. If people support the film, information about it will be out there; it will reach those it needs to reach. It will be great for us to tell this story together.

Watch lead actor of “Hosanna,” Leon, speak about the importance of supporting the film here:


Donate to “Hosanna” here.


Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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