MY TAKE: Why Anthony Nti’s award-winning film ‘Da Yie’ is more than a movie
Co-written by duo Anthony Nti and Chingiz Karibekov, 'Da Yie' has garnered four Oscar-qualifying Grand Prizes amongst its 25 awards and 140 high-profile film festivals selections.
JOHANNESBURG – “It’s the best feeling!” Award-winning director Anthony Nti describes what it’s like to direct a film which goes onto the screen to be watched by many people.
Nti recently directed the film Da Yie, which means good night.
This stunning African film revolves around an intense day trip in sunny Ghana that endangers the innocence of two kids.
Co-written by duo Nti and Chingiz Karibekov, Da Yie garnered four Oscar-qualifying Grand Prizes (Leuven Short Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, Indy Short International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival) amongst its 25 awards and 140 high-profile film festivals selections.
The film focuses on the friendship of Prince and Matilda, two children living in Ghana who go on a day trip with a stranger Bogah. As the trip unfolds, the tranquility and life lessons are revealed to be a cover for something far more sinister.
WATCH: DA YIE TRAILER
Nti’s direction excellently lures the characters and audience into his charms to such an extent that you don’t even realise how dangerous the situation has become until it’s too late.
The director explored the theme of innocence relating to children and the role of adults in protecting both this innocence and their lives.
“It was intentional to leave out the crime because it was important to tell the story from the perspective of the kids.
"Kids don’t normally see danger when they are playing and being innocent. I wanted to translate that there are many things that can go wrong, but for kids watching the film, there’s no tension, as an adult you’ll feel tension watching the film,” Nti said.
The cinematography of the film is beautiful and well done, as well as the sound effects, the lighting and the beautiful tone of the characters, which Nti said was important to show people.
“It was important for me to have a cinematic experience. I like using cinematic language to tell stories. We had the green, red and yellow which are the colours of the Ghanaian flag. The blue sea is like this innocent thing, so it was important to have tones of colours in the film.”
The director created artistic visuals that captured the depth of his diverse African experiences in an authentic way.
Laughing, Nti explained how long it took to write the script:
“This was an idea we had back in 2015. Sometimes I have an idea and decide it’s too ambitious for now. When I was younger, I was supposed to be home doing chores, but I went out to play and was going to get the whipping of my life. I love chickens and my first film was about a chicken. We wrote the story one week before the shoot, we built the story. Most of the time we don’t have a big crew. We’ve been building on the story from 2015.”
Nti said that he could not stress enough the importance of Africans telling their own stories.
“I’ve always wanted to tell stories - which is part of Ghanaian culture.
"The art of storytelling has always been interesting. We have our own voices and it’s important to tell our own stories. More people should tell their stories and we can grow. Our continent is so cinematic.”
Asked what the viewer should take away from the film, Nti said it should be an experience.
“I want them to have a cinematic experience in Ghana, a great story and fall in love with the characters. They should be able to sympathise with the characters. I hope the audience can get the theme of peer pressure from the film. I hope they join this exciting road trip as they watch the film.”