Award winning Ghanaian director Pascal Aka is celebrating a new career milestone.
“Gold Coast Lounge,” a movie he wrote, directed, and executive produced is now streaming in the United States and Canada, on TOPIC, a boundary-pushing streaming service that can be accessed via Android, Apple iOS, Roku, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV channels.
Set in Ghana, the movie tells the story of a crime family who must unite and clean up their act before the government shuts down their lucrative lounge.
After their head is mysteriously poisoned, Daniel becomes the new leader – implementing his own policies whilst dealing with love triangles, power struggles, tribalism, and a murder investigation.
The star-studded Afro-noir movie features Adjetey Anang, Zynell Zuh, Alphonse Menyo, Raquel Ammah, Fred Amugi, Akofa Edjeani and Pascal Aka.
It won eight awards including ‘Best Director,’ ‘Best Lead Actor,’ ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’ at the 2019 Ghana Movie Awards, and ‘Best Soundtrack’ at the 2020 Africa Academy Movie Awards.
The movie has screened at international festivals in places including New York, Toronto, Egypt, Nairobi, Amsterdam, London, and Paris.
It was produced by Pascal Aka through his music video/motion picture production outfit, Breakthrough Studios, which was established in 2011.
Aka previously won ‘Best Directed Video’ at the 2016 4SyteTV Music Video Awards, and ‘Best African Music Video’ at the 2016 AFRIMAA Awards. His works have been showcased on high-profile platforms including CNN and CBC.
In this interview, he talks to us about his movie premiering in the United States of America and Canada.
GQ. How can you share how the deal with the US streaming company TOPIC came about?
Aka: We have been represented by Gravel Road Distribution Group from South Africa. The company has a good track record with world-class films from Ghana – such as Azali, Keteke and Sidechic Gang, which are all on Netflix.
Gravel Road locked this deal with TOPIC. Deals like this from the North American territory do not come so often for African films, so we are quite excited this deal came through.
GQ: Signing a deal to get your movie streamed in the U.S and Canada is a big deal. Does it affirm your decision to work on this project?
Aka: It’s always a blessing to have your film have a life on the streaming space. Many filmmakers who make films such as Gold Coast Lounge do not get opportunities like this so I am very grateful; but a lot of people will say that there is no bigger reward than making the film itself, but news like this makes the experience extra worth it.
GQ You’ve always set a standard for releasing quality work over the years. What’s your wish for the Ghanaian and African movie industry considering this new career milestone you have achieved?
Aka: I have always done my best to push the boundaries creatively. My wishes are beyond my own career. I would love for Ghanaian filmmakers especially to not be afraid to explore subject matters or different film genres than what has saturated our industry.
There is so much territory that has not been explored yet. Biopics, period films, social dramas, historical fantasies and mythologies, sports films, animation, the possibilities are endless.
When it comes to business opportunities for creatives like me, the more platforms we have to sell our films, the more likely we are to attract investment which would automatically enable us to create more quality films – compared to music production, filmmaking is very expensive!
GQ: What do you hope people who are seeing this movie for the first time will take away?
Aka: You have never seen a movie like Gold Coast Lounge. To a large extent, the film is in a category of its own in terms of genre. Even though it is a period film, it touches upon subjects that are still relevant today. It explores the internal struggles of African identity and independence in post-colonial times.
I have had different phases of my career as a filmmaker: from an action film director in Canada, a music video director, actor, musician – Gold Coast Lounge is a cumulation of all those phases and it has been the most well-received art of my career (16+ Awards). I really hope this new audience loves it.
GQ: Anything else you want to add?
Aka: Now that the film is available to stream in US and Canada, the African rights of the film are still available. We hope to hear some good news about that this year, and everyone on the African continent will have the chance to see this film as well.