Creating TsuTsue With Amartei Armar and Yemoh Ike at Cannes 2022

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Yemoh Ike: Hello. My name is Yemoh Ike, I’m a film producer, and this Amartai Armar, the director and script writer. At the moment we are in the Cannes Film Festival and we are here to support our film which is part of the Official Selection. And it’s titled TsuTsue, which means “The Olden Days”

Amartai Armar: So TsuTsue is a short film set in the coastal town of Teshie. And it follows the sons of a fisherman who Sowah and Okai who are struggling to cope with the loss of their eldest brother who drowned at sea. And especially for Okai, the youngest one, he’s still sort of haunted by the demise of his older brother and for him, he still believes that his soul is out there. So it has a little bit of mysticism in there as well in terms of the relationship of the spiritual aspects, the physical aspect, the physical loss, and then also with even the mental when you mourn the death and mourn the loss of a of a dear brother. So that’s what the film is about. A little grim, but, you know, we feel that it will will really highlight the issues that the fisherfolk are going through.

Amartai Armar: So it started with the documentary that I can I was doing with the fisher folk in Ghana. And we got to go across from coast to coast, and see the different coastal cities that Ghana has and just talking with the fishermen and learning their stories and learning their struggles and, you know, the human condition that they face, it was something that really inspired us. And, one day I called-uped Ike and I said, “I think there’s a story here” and he said, “Let’s do it. First of all” because he has a great producer’s eye if the script is good, he’ll know it and I could see it in his face when he reads it, if it’s good or not. And then after that, like serendipity we teamed up with a great production company in France called La Luna with our godfather and uncle Sebastian. And, yeah, hey asked us if we had anything going and any projects that we had on the docket and we said, you know, TsuTsue something that we have in mind. And he read it and he also liked it. And then we just started to get to work, you know, and it was obviously COVID was a big hit, you know, I think it detered us for about six months to a year. but you know, somehow we kind of, we got it done. It was around, just before Christmas when we actually shot the film.

Yemoh Ike: Yeah, we had a lot of challenges because we were actually fighting with nature in a sense, because shooting in the ocean with kids, sometimes we want the tide to be in front because of kids. We don’t want to go that far more if they don’t know how to swim. But we’ll go to the sets and then we realize that the tide is going too far back. And then also the older brother who was our brother who lost at sea. He was traumatized. Yeah, he almost got drowned in a swimming pool.

Amartai Armar: It was a lake.

Yemoh Ike: Yeah, it was a lake. He almost got drowned in a lake. So because of that even when it’s closer to water, he get a bit traumatized, you know? And that is the case, he’s going to be in the water with his younger brother. And, the very first day we decided to take them to a swimming pool because we had some lifeguard who taught them how to swim before the shoot. So when we got to the swimming pool, we realized that he couldn’t and he was shivering. Yeah. So, um, I think it took him like four to six weeks because the lifeguard now had seen how traumatized he is, so they adviced him he always should be close to water, even in a cup of water. he should always look at the water for days. And they had his feet inside a bowl of water for some time. And they took him through that for like a week or two or like three weeks.