Ask any child what they want to be in future and they’ll find something to tell you. There are those that reality hits, who let go of their dreams for stability. And then there are those who hold on—those who become beacons for others simply by doing things that they love. Albert Donkor is one of the latter.
Albert Donkor—the director, producer, photographer and rapper also know as Trebla—is a UK-based Ghanaian director. His breakout film Boys No Dey Cry has been featured by the British Council in Ghana and Al Jazeera. We explore Albert’s journey to becoming a filmmaker and what it means to stay true to your passion.
Romeo Must Die
When Albert was a child, his father worked at a cinema in Germany. And he would send DVDs to Albert in Ghana. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the movies that the boy was exposed to have defined who the man is. Albert remembers, with some passion, the impact that the movie Romeo Must Die had on him creatively. After watching the behind-the-scenes video, he knew that he was going to be a Cinematographer.
Even as a nine one’s BECE student, Albert stuck to a creative path. He chose Visual Arts at Mfantsipim—a decision that a lot of people, including his dad, questioned. Albert—Trebla also explored rap. In fact, for a while, rap was his main thing. And you might be wondering why the name Trebla. Fun fact; it’s Albert spelled backwards.
Trebla was a member of a rap group called Boothcamp; he was also affiliated with Skillions Records and his discography is littered with the names of Ghanaian artistes that you know.
University, The Camera And Meeting Wowa
After Senior High, Albert left the country to continue his education in the UK. He studied Creative Technologies at the University of Kingston. And during that time he would take his first steps into the field of directing. Aside from experimenting with the camera on his own, there was Wowa (@wowa_); a director that Albert hit it off with.
Trebla would link Ghanaian artistes to Wowa for their music videos and he would learn as Wowa worked. Albert became a producer for these music videos. He has produced videos with DJ Juls, Stone Bwoy, Maleek Berry, E.L, Kwesi Arthur and M3dal among other names. It was only natural that he would begin to direct on his own as well.
Eventually, Albert would get his second degree from the University of Nottingham in Film Production Technology. He’s currently working on his third from Warwick Business School in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Boys No Dey Cry
Boys No Dey Cry was a short film that Albert directed and produced as his school project. And it won the award for Best Film Production, 2019.
I Like To Tell Stories That Other Directors Don’t
According to Albert, he doesn’t look at a project’s commercial value first. He understands why other directors do, after all, it is a job first and foremost. But Albert wants to tell authentic stories that no one else is telling. Currently, he’s working on putting together his second short film and a documentary on Osibisa.
The Age Of Creatives
Albert believes that Social Media has made it easier for creatives to get their work noticed. In fact, he mentions the upcoming Beyoncé visual album Black is King where people were tapped to work on the movie because of their social media credentials—their work.
There are a lot of resources available to creatives right now. In fact, Albert dabbles in a bit of photography using his Google Pixel.
Albert believes that creative talent should constantly be evolving in order to stay relevant. So, he is going to keep shooting short films and documentaries until he is ready to shoot full-length feature films.
You can find Albert on Instagram (@trebla233).