Ekwa Msangi

writer • director • producer


    

Selling the Shadow to Support the Substance…

About

Biography

Ekwa has directed several short films, most recently a short comedy film entitled Soko Sonko (The Market King) which was commissioned by Focus Features’ Africa First Program. After several exciting screenings, Ekwa’s suspense-thriller Taharuki (Suspense), a 12-minute prequel to her feature film in development, Eastlands, was picked up for distribution by Shorts International, Inc. and is currently in circulation in both North America and Europe.Ekwa has also directed several drama series for mainstream broadcasters in Kenya and for MNET South Africa, including The Agency, MNET’s first ever original hour-long Kenyan drama series. She’s written for both television and film, and produced several shorts. Her films have been official selections at several world festivals including New York African, Durban International, and Pan African Film Festivals, and Weakness, a short film she recently produced, was nominated for a 2010 Kalasha Award and a 2011 African Movie Academy Award (AMAA).
Ekwa received her BFA in Film/TV from Tisch School of the Arts and an MA in African Cinema from Gallatin School of Individualized Study, both at New York University. She is now Adjunct Faculty at Tisch School of the Arts where she teaches Production and Cultural Studies classes, as well as being a resident instructor with the African Film Festival, Inc. where she has done numerous after school youth video-making classes as part of a collaboration with the New York Department of Education.
One of Ekwa’s key goals as an artist is to transform our society’s images and relationships with African cultures, and to empower African filmmakers in telling their stories.

Personal Info

  •   +1 347 770 – EKWA (3592)
Director's Reel

Farewell Meu Amor

Short Film

2016

  • Writer/Director/Producer: Ekwa Msangi
  • DP: Shawn Peters

On the morning of the long-awaited reunion with his exiled family, a man is faced with the heartbreak of a different type of parting – from his lover.

Farewell Meu Amor Website

Soko Sonko (The Market King)

Short Film
2014

  • Writer/Director/Producer: Ekwa Msangi
  • DP: Andrew “Dru” Mungai

When her mother falls sick, Kibibi’s father, Ed, is tasked with taking her to the market to get her hair braided before school begins. Soko Sonko is a hilarious, fish‐out of‐water roller‐coaster of a journey, about a well‐intended dad who braves the fires and goes where no man has gone before…because only women have been there!

Soko Sonko Website

All My Friends Are Married

Web series
2014

  • Director/Producer: Ekwa Msangi

All My Friends Are Married is a quirky comedic webseries with a blend of dry and physical humor. It highlights the joys, mistakes, hopes and pitfalls of being single & living in New York City. With tenderness, joy and irony we present the story of a women struggling to survive adulthood from her very imaginative point of view. This series captures the intersection where heaven meets earth; where adulthood and dreams force reality. It is here that faith, hope and love collides with bills, delayed promises and fears.
All My Friends Are Married depicts the life of a thirty something woman attempting to avoid spinsterhood in New York City.

All My Friends Are Married Website

MBA Motto (YMLMB)

Parody Music Video
2012

  • Rapper: Nii Addy feat. Fritswa Bafour
  • Director: Ekwa Msangi

Parody Video for the Stern Business School Follies. Shot on the Sony 100 in New York City.

YouTube

Current Projects

All My Friends Are Married

Web series to be shot in New York City, written by Mercedes Brazier-Thurman. A quirky comedic webseries with a blend ...
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Eastlands

Feature Film to be shot in Nairobi, Kenya. (currently in development with Babylon International) An apolitical college professor comes to ...
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Sultan of the Ocean

Feature Film to be shot in Zanzibar, Tanzania. When Sultan, a mute ocean-loving orphan is determined to get to Shell ...
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Paper Prince

Feature Film to be shot in New York City. When a proud and proper African immigrant pays to marry a ...
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all my current projects

 
News & Views

First there was Sarafina!, and now The Queen of Katwe

It's hard to explain what it's like to have grown up NEVER seeing your own image in a movie or ...
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/ Africa, African Film, Directors, News & Views

Not-for-Profit African Filmmaking

I've never considered how deeply steeped in Western culture screenwriting is until I had to teach it in Swahili. Seriously yo, ...
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Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Yes We Can!

That's the chant that was in my head this morning when I woke up! I've been reaching out far and ...
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/ News & Views

Telling Our Family Stories…

This weekend I'm at a family wedding in Tennessee. If you know anything about me, you'll know that my family ...
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/ News & Views

all my news & views

PRESS

Jamati.com

In 12 minutes, writer-director Ekwa Msangi-Omari (‘The Agency’, ‘Block-D’) accomplishes a film that lives up to its title. ‘Taharuki’ deals with an important subject matter and illustrates the need for Africans (irrespective of ethnic differences) to continue to work together to achieve common goals ...
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The Standard Newspaper

The crew credits the show’s director Ekwa Msangi-Omari for taking Kenyan filmmaking to new heights. Her amiable approach encourages actors to use their individual touch and gives them some freedom to manoeuvre ...
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Jamati.com

The Agency is rife with rivalry, romance, intrigue, betrayal and triumph, all combined in an explosive series. Definitely a must-watch African tale! ...
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Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, Actress (The Agency, Block-D)

Ekwa discusses the role with the actor and gives him or her the chance to feel the role within the context of his or her personal experience. This puts me at ease ...
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Dorothy Ghettuba, Executive Producer (Block-D, Higher Learning, Saints)

Ekwa has been trained for this, and the [TV] show ends up looking like film ...
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CONTACT

Socials

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"Farewell Meu Amor" premieres at the New York African Film Festival on Monday May 8th @ 6:45pm. Tickets are on sale now! www.farewellmeuamorfilm.com

The musical composer behind the soundtrack of my latest film "Farewell Meu Amor" is showcasing his work in film at VideoConcerto Pianosequenza on April 21st, 21h at Auditorium A.S.B.U.C. Via Salvo D’Acquisto, 1 56019 Migliarino Pisano (PI) ITALY. Don't miss it! http://www.fannymendelssohn.it

Had soooo much fun editing this interview that I did a while back with the most talented cinematographer @shawnpeezie at the @btfcorg Speaker's Series. Can't wait to share it!___________________________#EkwaMsangi #Ekwapics #Africanfilmmaker #Africanfilmmakers #AfricanDirectors #AfricanMovies #AfricanFilms #AfricanShortFilms #Africancinema #AfricanStories #BlackFilmsMatter #IndependentFilms #worldfilms #Movie #ArtInspiration #Art #ArtistsAsWarriors #ShawnPeters

Had a fabulously inspiring chat with a Tanzanian scholar yesterday about my documentary project on our first president #mwalimujuliuskambaragenyerere and the decisions that he made as a Pan-African leader during the Cold War. He posed a great question: "If you suddenly were given the power to rule a country and your available leadership team was 12 doctors and 2 engineers and the national literacy rate is 12%, what do you do? How do you turn that around in 15-20 years? " Now THAT'S a reality show worth watching right?! ______________________________#EkwaMsangi #Ekwapics #Africanfilmmaker #Africanfilmmakers #AfricanDirectors #AfricanMovies #AfricanFilms #AfricanShortFilms #Africancinema #AfricanStories #BlackFilmsMatter #IndependentFilms #worldfilms #Movie #ArtInspiration #Art #ArtistsAsWarriors #JuliusNyerere #Mwalimu #TheTeacher #Tanzania #Tanganyika #PanAfricanism

So I sent my film for consideration to @amaawards_ in October 2016 and the package was just returned as "unclaimed." 😒 I'm giving you side eye AMAA! Lots and lots of side-eye right now...feel free to jump in and explain!

It's never too late to acknowledge, celebrate and Salute the independence of Haiti on January 1, 1804, The first independent Republic of Black people in the Western Hemisphere. Their fight for liberation changed the course of history for Black people worldwide, and their victory inspired every other fight for independence and continues to inspire us all. No matter the incredible backlash that Haitians have suffered over the centuries for "daring to rebel," they've stood steadfast and we all owe them our gratitude and respect. L'union Fait La Force! ALUTA CONTINUA!

While location scouting we ran into a Grove of....guess? CASHEWNUTS! (I know, right?!)

Set life! Our location is out along the coast where big trucks come to harvest sand to take back to the city to sell. It makes getting through a bit of a challenge..._______________________________#maishafilmlab2016 #tanzania #maishafilmlabwinners #futurefilmmakers #demyuts #EkwaMsangi #Ekwapics #Africanfilmmaker #Africanfilmmakers #AfricanDirectors #AfricanMovies #AfricanFilms #AfricanShortFilms #Africancinema #AfricanStories #BlackFilmsMatter #IndependentFilms #worldfilms #Movie #ArtInspiration #Art #ArtistsAsWarriors

Celebrating yet another strong end to a fabulous Maisha screenwriting workshop in Nairobi with this year's winner of the #Doen award, #SafinaIqbal. Can't wait to see her fabulous film on the screen! _______________________________#maishafilmlab2016 #Kenya #futurefilmmakers #demyuts #EkwaMsangi #Ekwapics #Africanfilmmaker #Africanfilmmakers #AfricanDirectors #AfricanMovies #AfricanFilms #AfricanShortFilms #Africancinema #AfricanStories #BlackFilmsMatter #IndependentFilms #worldfilms #Movie #ArtInspiration #Art #ArtistsAsWarriors

I love this picture, . Taken circa 1952 on the occasion that my great- grandfather received a medal from the British Government in recognition as an environmentalist and educator. I just love how seriously my people took themselves, their image, their presentation. Contrary to how Black people have been described or depicted by others, we as a people, have always known how to present ourselves. __________________________#blackfamilyphoto #africanfamily #tanzania #usangi #upare #waziray #mziray #ancestry

I had the privilege of watching Peter Kagayi's powerful play "The Audience Must Say Amen" at the Kampala International Theatre Festival and was so moved by the power of this brother's words. My favorite line: "And if the government silences us, you, the audience, must rise up to speak on our behalf." I also ran into some New York artist friends which is always the most comforting feeling ever: African artists are everywhere! #alutacontinua #africanartists

Dear Comrades, Join us tonight at 7pm at Tisch School of the Arts for an engaged discussion on the “New Directions and Change; How African Women Filmmakers are Changing African Independent Film” Featured Panel Guest Speakers: (Moderated by Prof. Oluseyi Adebanjo) Ekwa Msangi - Farewell Meu Amor Nikyatu Jusu-Flowers Elilta Tewelde-Walk All Night: A Drum Beat Journey Rebekah Frimpong-ADOWA. Address: 721 Broadway Rm 008, New York NY.

And the indomitable @sautisol tearing up the audience...!

A big THANK YOU shout out to the cast, crew and supporters who came out to our private screening of "Farewell Meu Amor" on Monday at the Lincoln Center. It was nothing but love, I'm so proud of this film and of the hands and hearts that have brought it to life! Coming soon! Aluta Continua!

Soooo excited about this! See incredibly talented artists! Check out http://valeriadimatteo.com/

In many ways we celebrate the pain we go through. It makes us stronger & it's so hard to appreciate. But, our heroes don't always come from a glamorized life. They rise above trepidation & tribulations. This story represents this. Queen of Katwe 👸🏾