We had the good fortune of connecting with Joseph Osei-Bonsu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joseph, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I didn’t have a choice hahaha! I was in fourth grade when I started writing short stories; making comic books; selling them. I guess from the time I sold my first comic book to one of my classmates for 50 Ghanaian pesewas (which is equivalent to 31 cents in today’s market), I kind of knew this would be my lot in life. So, from writing 10-page stories to 30-page comic books, to writing a novella, to writing short films, better short stories, a TV pilot, and currently, a feature-length film, there has been this sort of natural progression in the expression of my talents, in the media in which I work, and in my own work ethic. Storytelling is what I do best!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, my storytelling–my filmmaking–blends afrofuturism, dark-comedy, history, and sometimes elements of fabulism to relate niche and unique global black stories. I grew up in Ghana, West Africa, and emigrated to the U.S. to study architecture. I lost my way there for a bit in when I somehow convinced myself that I would be a great architect. That didn’t work out hahaha. So, I dropped out; worked odd jobs here and there to support myself, until I finally decided to return to school as a Creative Writing major with a minor in filmmaking. From there, I made my debut narrative short film, “The Knell,” which won several awards at various film festivals around the world. And the rest, as one too many have already said, is history. It was a steep learning curve appreciating and understanding the fact that it is highly imperative for me to be who I am. And you can see that in my stories both on the page and on the screen. When people see a Joseph Osei-Bonsu picture or read a Joseph Osei-Bonsu story, they’ll discover an authenticity which is steeped in a hybrid of the glorious African past and the globalized world today.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I assume this question relates to the city of Atlanta (which I’m yet to visit).
But as a New Jersey resident, I would say that the key to enjoying yourself in the tristate area is to minimize your interaction with The City, by which I mean, New York City; and to maximize your exploration outside it. In the City, I like to have a nice lunch or dinner at the RH Rooftop restaurant in the Meatpacking District of NYC. Stroll through the high-line park, visit the Whitney Museum of American Art. And if this visiting friend insisted, we might hit Times Square or Central Park but ONLY as a last resort. Because it can get tedious real fast. Outside The City, specifically in Jersey where I live, I like Arturo’s Pizza in Maplewood. There are few good restaurants in Edgewater as well. We could go jet-skiing in Jersey City, kayaking, maybe even some horse riding at the Overpeck Park in Leonia. If we were feeling very adventurous, spending some of that week at the Catskills in New York wouldn’t be a bad bet.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
She deserves more than a little credit, my missus, Bevy. She saved my life during the worst crisis of my life. She’s my partner both on and off the set. And trust me when I tell you that what she says goes in terms of my storytelling. We make movies and do life together.