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You Hide Me 1970 Nii Kwate Owoo
Film of The Festival
In 1970 Ghanaian filmmaker Nii Kwate Owoo gained access to the British Museum to make this short film about the valuable African artefacts held there and make his case for their restitution. I was a researcher on the project. 2020 is 50 years since that film was made.
Nii Kwate Owoo
Ghanaian film maker, Nii Kwate Owoo, won the Best Short Documentary Film prize at this year’s Paris International Short Film Festival, held on September 20-27, for You Hide Me, a documentary he made 50 years ago.
For the first time, hundreds of thousands of hitherto unseen rare Asante treasures of art works stolen by the British after the “Sagrenti War” and invasion of Kumasi by Sir Garnet Woseley in 1870s are uncovered. The film also reveals treasures looted by the British expeditionary forces when they plundered Benin in 1897.
Unsurprisingly, many of the treasures looted from African are buried deep in basements of museums throughout Europe and America.
‘…Nii Kwate wrapped up centuries of western cultural pillage in Africa in an eloquent call to action,” says Dr. Kwesi Owusu, CEO of Creative Storm and long-time collaborator of the producer of “You Hide Me”.
Employing a clever mixture of ruse and audacity, Nii Kwate was able to outsmart the British Museum authorities and its entire security system to gain access into its secret underground vaults where these rare treasures are hidden from public view.
Nii Kwate has over 50 years of film making experience as a writer, producer and director of feature and documentary films. The highlights of his career include: as a co-producer and director with Dr Kwesi Owusu in 1988 of ‘Ouaga: African Cinema Now’, a documentary of the bi-annual Ouagadogou film festival; and ‘Ama’, the first African feature film financed by a major British TV Network Channel Four, in 1991. ‘Odupon Atutu’, documenting the ceremonies of the death, burial and installation of an Asantehene; ‘Women of Substance’, a feature documentary on women in leadership roles, shot in six African countries, for the Africa Women’s Development Fund; Nii Kwate founded in 1978 and headed the Media Research Unit of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, until his retirement in 2004.