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African Diaspora Film Festival: An African Election

An African Election

Screened at the 2011 African Diaspora Film Festival in NYC

Directed by Jarreth Merz

Documentary, 90 min, 2010 (In English subtitles)

Actor/Filmmaker, Jarreth Merz, describes his first documentary as an African success story.He says, "We don't talk enough about the good things that are happening in Africa. Not everything that happens there has to do with death and suffering. It was important for me to show that with my film." The film, which was an official Sundance selection in 2011 and nominated for a 2012 Spirit Award, covers the 2008 presidential election in Ghana; setting the backdrop for a forward thinking Africa, capable of implementing democracy and solving its own issues without the interference of Europe or the US.

The fast-paced tone of the film captures the excitement surrounding the campaigns between Ghana's two largest political parties--the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Throughout the film the energy swells around what soon becomes a dramatic race to the top as those most familiar with Ghana's politics weigh in on what the race means for the future of the country and Africa as a whole. As the race wages on, all eyes look to Ghana as an example of a functioning democratic system on a continent long plagued by despotic governments.

The documentary's release which comes on the heels of the Arab Spring and most recently the Occupy movements, poignantly portrays both the strength and vulnerability of democracy."When people see this documentary," Merz says, " I not only want them to see Ghana as a model, I also want them to come away with the understanding that democracy is something that can't be taken for granted."

Merz, who spent much of his youth in Ghana, adds that the feedback he has received from Ghanaians and others abroad has been overwhelmingly positive; saying, "The film speaks to what people have been feeling."

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