Akwasi Frimpong’s story in the film “Black Ice” Wins Global D&AD Wooden Pencil Award

Ghana’s first skeleton Olympian, Akwasi Frimpong, may have missed the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games after contracting COVID-19 before his final three Olympic qualification races back in December 2021, but his story will inspire and impact generations to come.

The short film “Black Ice,” produced by Swiss Sports brand On Running and production company Hungry Man and Heckler, and starring Frimpong, won the 2022 D&AD Wooden Pencil Award. According to D&AD, the Wooden Pencils at D&AD are very difficult to win, but Black Ice was lauded as an example of creative excellence for future generations.

“I’m very humbled by this prestigious award. I hope my story continues to inspire and impact generations to come – to me that’s the real win. They need to know they can do hard things,” Frimpong said.

The 10-minute documentary tells Frimpong’s story in graphic novel form. Developed over six months and filmed across Europe and Africa, “Black Ice” brings the pages of a comic book to life through the eyes of the children it aims to inspire. The film portrays the athlete’s strength and determination in the face of lifelong adversity by transforming him into a real-life superhero: Black Ice.

“My philosophy as a writer and director particularly in the field of sports brands has been to avoid portraying the athletes as superheroes. I’ve done a lot of work grounding athletes as real people,” said Australian filmmaker, Richard Bullock, who wrote and directed the film “But Akwasi’s story lent itself so directly to the notion of a superhero I eventually gave in and went for it. The key difference between him and superheroes is he is actually real. His superpower is resilience.”

D&AD represents global creative, design and advertising communities and celebrates brilliance in commercial creativity.

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