Shirley Frimpong-Manso: How Hollywood influenced filmmaker's style

Posted on Nov 14 2017 - 12:35am by admin

Hollywood is influential and has over the years, served as a model for its counterparts from several parts of the world.

Since Shirley Frimpong-Manso made her debut in 2009, she has been a fixture in both the Nigerian and Ghanaian film industry, helming projects such as “The Contract,” “Rebecca,” “A Sting in a Tale,” and “Potato Potahto,” which is premiering soon in Nigeria and South Africa.

During an interesting chat with Pulse Nigeria, the filmmaker shares how Hollywood has influenced her filmmaking style, citing Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine, Annie Hall) as a major influence.

Adam's Apple is one of Shirley Frimpong-Manso's most popular

Adam’s Apple is one of Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s most popular works.


“I started watching Hollywood movies from when I was a kid, you know I was very drawn to it. It wasn’t just Hollywood movies, it was everything I could find to watch,” she said.

Her influences have come from directors such as Allen, who she described as ‘quirky.’

“I love woody Allen a lot, I think he is quirky. I like to tell a story and add some quirkiness to it. So even for a movie like “Potato Potahto,” you will realize that some of the comedic aspects of it is quite quirky.

You’re thinking: is this robbery, is this not a robbery? So I think somebody like Woody Allen would’ve had that kind of influence on me.”

Shirley Frimpong-Manso's "The Contract"play

Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s “The Contract”


Frimpong-Manso has received many awards for her works, including an Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award for the romantic comedy, “The Contract.”

She said she learnt her romantic style of filmmaking from Hollywood, naming ‘Pretty Woman” and “Love Actually” as her favourites.

“Hollywood knows how to make a romantic movie. Some of these movies, I absolutely love up till this day. And I think what I also realized is that, especially when you do dramas and you’re doing romantic movies, you have to bring to bare the subtleties of the character.”

“If it’s too hard, you lose your audience. Because when you start getting people in the mood, you shouldn’t yank them out.

And so I have learnt to do romantic movies from subtle gestures, the little things, the little touch, the looks, the music, the mood and lighting – they are important.”

A scene from the "Potato Potahto"

A scene from the “Potato Potahto” movie.



Her most recent work is “Potato Potahto” –  a comedy movie with a dash of romance – which tells the story of  a couple, who decide to live together in their matrimonial home even after their divorce.

The movie debuts in cinemas on Friday, November 24, 2017.

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