(CAVIAR FILMS/Pieter Jan Claessens)

Interview: Anthony Nti's 'Da Yie' Has Become a Hit in Film Festival Circuits

Da Yie, a short film directed by 28-year-old Ghanaian Anthony Nti has emerged one of the most successful films of the extended awards season race.

Da Yie, a fast-paced twenty-minute dramatic thriller about children in peril, debuted at the Gent film festival in Belgium late 2019. Since then, the film has made the rounds, playing in the London Film Festival and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix in the international competition last year. Da Yie was also shortlisted among nine other titles (including the latest by Pedro Almodovar and another starring Oscar Isaac) in the Live Action Short category at the Oscars. The film ended its Oscar run at this stage as it not make the final cut of five when nominations were announced earlier this month.

Nti who was born and raised in Ghana before moving to Belgium wrote and filmed Da Yie (Twi for Good night) as his graduate school project. Partly autobiographical, the film's building blocks arise from Nti's recollections of growing up in the economically disadvantaged town of Madina located along the Ghanaian coast.

Two unattended kids are playing football when an adult man pulls up and entices them to get in his car. Da Yie follows the three of them as the adult takes the kids on a tour of the scenic coastal scene, giving them an experience that could very well be described as the best day of their lives.

It isn't all sugar and spice though as danger lurks at the corner and Nti cleverly navigates the balance between the excitement of children and the darkness that adults carry with them. Embedded within the film's furious editing and frenetic action is a social drama about society's treatment of children, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds.

OkayAfrica spoke with Anthony Nti via Zoom from his home in Belgium.

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