Disney, DreamWorks, and Pixar are undoubtedly some of the biggest animation studios in the world. However, a studio in Ghana, AnimaxFYB, founded by Francis Yushau Brown is aiming at competing with these giants in animation by telling historical Ghanaian and African stories.
Francis Brown had deep love for art even at a young age and that propelled him to study visual arts in Senior High School and animation at the National Film And Television Institute (NAFTI).
In an interview with Pulse Business Insider, Brown revealed that when he was young, he used to kill mosquitoes and used their blood to draw on the walls of the washroom in his house.
“Whenever I was in the washroom my drawing tools were not with me and I felt that the walls were my canvas so I had to work on it. I would kill mosquitoes and use their blood for my drawings on the wall.”
This, according to him, frustrated his grand mother to the point where she got him drawing tools so he could give the washroom walls a break.
Brown also revealed that when he was young he could draw most of the animated characters on Cartoon Network.
“I had a large sense of appreciation for cartoon network when I was a kid and really loved watching those that were shown on national television. Honestly, I could draw them all.”
Why he’s interested in telling the stories of Africa
According to Brown, he loved to listen to his grand mother’s stories and wanted those stories to be heard beyond his home.
He shares in the popular belief that there is very scanty literature telling the African story. He, however, made it a point to add more to the existing literature with his animations.
“I didn’t want to tell the tea and bread stories because the authenticity could be lost, however the traditional African story which I live every day could be best told by me,” he told Pulse Business Insider.
His animation projects
Begger – A short animated film about how people ignore their fellow humans when they are in need and turn out to help when they are wasted. Begger is Brown’s first animation project
Agorkoli – A historical animation of the story of King Agorkoli and the migration saga of the Ewe people. Agorkoli Best Animation Film at the 2016 Africa International Film Festival’s Globe Award.
Tutu: The Untold Story of a Kingdom – a historical animation about the quest of Osei Tutu, the first King of the Asante Kingdom, to free his people from bondage in Denkyira.
Agradaa – It tells the story of law of Karma. Agradaa won the Emerging Animation Country Category at the 2013 KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival.
Mmofra – It is an animated educational content programme which teaches children how to read, count, and engages viewers on age-appropriate subjects. Mmofra is the first full length children’s content channel independently produced in Africa by Africans. It went live on Amazon Prime in 2020.
Francis Brown was listed among Africa Kitoko’s 35 Under 35 African Personalities.
He has collaborated with leading organizations such as UNICEF, Samsung Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF): Best Animation – 2016
Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards: Animator of the Year – 2017
Ghana Movie Awards: Best Animation – 2018
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