CONTRADICT – IDEAS FOR A NEW WORLD
Two friends collect money for impoverished Americans in the streets of Accra. Is this a hustle, fun, a political provocation, a prophecy?
What do global developments and shifts in values look like from the ground up in Ghana? How can one face and contradict them? Can new visions for the future become new global realities? Two Swiss filmmakers are exploring these questions together with six artists from Ghana. - Tomorrow's ideas and trends are emerging more decentralized than ever in a globalized world.
Contradict, filmed over five years, follows a new generation of musicians in Ghana who continue the post-colonial struggles of their parents and grandparents, but with new means and new allies. Thanks to the proliferation of soft- and hardware that facilitate in-home production, they record cheaply and spread their message rapidly over the Internet. Their music demands a new role for Africa in today’s world, instilling in their peers a sense of self-acceptance, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Their lyrics and sounds depict alternative lifestyles and career paths, that contradict the mainstream views of their community and the influence of priests in local mega churches.
Musicians like M3nsa, Wanlov The Kubolor, Adomaa, Worlasi, Akan, Mutombo Da Poet and Poetra Asantewa have written and produced new songs and videos especially for Contradict, emphasizing the collaborative blueprint at the heart of this film. For artists like Wanlov the Kubolor, music becomes a way to pierce national borders and national myths. “We are never raised to be patriotic, to care about the country,” Wanlov exhorts. “We are raised to know whatever we are learning is for us to get a Visa to go somewhere else, or to go to heaven.”
Throughout this long-term collaboration between African artists and Swiss filmmakers, it becomes clear that working towards change means walking a fine line between creativity, mistrust, anger, exhaustion, and depression.
Contradict offers a view of the world from a new combination of perspectives, grounded in the funk and finesse of life in Accra, Ghana.
A film by Peter Guyer and Thomas Burkhalter.
We work with and around music in different ways for many years now. Five years ago we decided to collaborate for a multimedia project that would deal with current trends in music globally. A first research trip in 2013 brought us to Ghana where we got to know a thriving, young, alternative music scene that fascinated us – two main musicians were Wanlov the Kubolor and M3NSA – the FOKN Boys – that now are two main characters in our documentary. We were both impressed and inspired by their fresh approach. Through parody, humor and direct protest these two and other musicians engaged critically with social and political issues, locally and globally. We shot and edited a long teaser, a short film, meant for our multimedia project that never saw the light of day. Ghana would have been one of many playgrounds.
Four years later the world had changed. Populist movements had become stronger, the US elected a new president and social achievements of past decades were put into question. Still in contact with Ghana, we decided with our artists friends to observe, comment and contradict. The idea was to collaborate closely and to look at today’s world from both, a Ghanaian, African and a Swiss, European perspective. With «contradict» our aim was to create an artistic dialogue, a musical kaleidoscope. Through small and big ideas, loud and quiet sounds, locally produced video clips and our own observations this film wants to reflect on our fast-changing world. A mirror of today. A call to contradict- globally and locally.
Peter Guyer and Thomas Burkhalter