Ghanaian filmmaker, Peter Sedufia has rounded up the shoot for his new film, Aloe Vera.
The unprecedented project saw the Keteke man raise an entire village in the Volta Region to bring his vision to life. By the time the set was fully up, it blossomed into a colourful sight of yellow and blue tenements.
Aloe Vera parades a star-studded cast including Naa Ashorkor, Kofi Adjorlolo, Rhoda Ampene, Alexandra Ayirebi- Acquah, Aaron
In a Facebook post recounting the making of the movie, which he describes as an “emotional journey,” Sedufia disclosed a series of significant obstacles he had to surmount, mainly finance, adverse weather, the loss of key footage, and the passing of his mother.
Sedufia confesses that over the course of shooting, his spirit was tested multiple times, and it took enormous resolve and support by his team to bring the dream into fruition.
Aloe Vera is scheduled for release in 2020.
Below is his statement in its entirety:
Making this film has been an emotional journey for me.
It all started with so much excitement in creating a community for a dream film. After 4 to 5 visits by the BBC, a visit by the Forbes, and another visit by the 33 & Me team from Mexico/Switzerland, we were sure it was a good start for us.
The plan was to film for 12 days and have 3 days clear for footage review, shot pick-ups and packing to leave. But, that didn’t go as planned. From the very first
daywe shouted “Action”, the rains also responded. We didn’t have the financial means to afford an in-depth review of the weather forecast in our filming location by the meteorological service before principal photography, so, we resorted to the reports of the town folks who confirmed that September is a sure holiday for rains. In sharp contrast, we were hit by minor rains almost every day which left the grounds always muddy and difficult to film on. We could go almost a whole day of sunlight without filming, waiting for some drylands to surface.
By day 4, we had missed close to 2 days of the filming schedule, which would go into extra days. Then came the heaviest downpour the morning of the day… It submerged the entire location and our structures. I remember shooting only two scenes that day at night. After this incident, we were behind schedule for about 5 days. This was day 14 of our original 15 days schedule.
By day 15, our budget was exhausted as planned but with an incomplete film. We had locked down two big hotels for both our large size cast and crew. Each day, our expenses for accommodation, welfare and transport, as well as rented equipment, props and other logistics kept increasing as we tried to make up for the lost days. At this point, we’ve started running into deficits.
My spirit and morale kept drowning as the debts increased. I would wake up early morning before call time, considering so many exit plans, but none. Then, I told my wife, my producer and my PM and a few
cast[members] that I want to call the shoot-off. I wanted to put it on hold, go look for money and come finish up. Surprisingly, none of them agreed for me to do so. They thought a call off would be the beginning of an end for a very visionary project. While I was worried about them, they were rather concerned about my state of mind and wellbeing. They took up the challenge to look for money in their own capacities, just to ensure the production did not stop. Although our daily expenses were so much, their interventions brought some ease while we tried to finish the shoot.
Then, one morning, I woke up to the news of my mum being rushed to the hospital, but, with the assurance that she was going to be well. I gathered strength from all these down moments and got on set to make this film happen and make her proud. Two hours later, I got another call from my brother… my mother is dead!
I was totally blank for a moment. I’d never felt like finishing the shoot so quickly to go home than that day. But, we’d have to wrap up the entire shoot in two more days and say goodbye to Dabala, then, I could go and mourn my
On the final day of
shoot, my strength was tested again.
Every footage we shot that morning till the afternoon was lost from
the harddrive during copying. I followed up to confirm from DIT, and it was true. This really got to me. I took a moment, went to a quiet place and criedout all the pains I had concealed for this long. I became mentally unstable to be creative about anything. Finally, my producer agreed with me; that was the point I needed a break away from the film to find myself again. The entire cast and crew couldn’t agree less. So, we took a two week’s break to reset ourselves, while I deal with planning my mum’s burial.
One good thing that happened during
the breakis, the missing video files were fully recovered. My most [sic] worry was my starcast that I might not get again when the break was over. In a twist, they rather kept checking on me and assuring me of their availability when I’m ready to continue the shoot. This is how supportive my cast has been during this challenging moment of this project. In all these, one thing I’ve been reminded of is, “Everything Happens For A Reason”.
The break is over, and we all returned in
our numberswith renewed energy. We wrapped up our AloeVera movie shoot today. It’s my prayer that this project would get the love and support from Ghanaians, Africans and the world just as my cast and crew have shown.
Thank you all for following the project up to this point and sharing our updates every time.
Our next phase is post-production. I’ll keep updating you as usual till the film is officially ready for cinema!
God bless you!
Images courtesy Peter Sedufia/ Facebook