In Nuotama's Words...

I became a filmmaker because of my migrant childhood. I grew up on 4 continents (in Ghana, Norway, the US, and Hong Kong) and thus struggled with the incapability of spoken and text-based languages to speak to all the worlds that I have seen. When I took a film class in college, the audio-visual filmic language burst everything wide open for me. Film gave me unprecedented access to modes of communication I didn’t know I possessed. It was an ingenious solution to the knowledge-schism that occurred in my lineage when the text-based literacy of colonial education seemingly rendered my ancestors' afro-indigenous knowledge systems obsolete.

Film enabled a potently clear channel from this ancestral wisdom to the hyper-diasporic realities I experienced daily. Through film, I found an immense medium to finally communicate from my truth, untranslated.

In the earliest part of my career, I was supported and recognized beyond my wildest imagination. But something was still missing. At my core I was struggling to reconcile the questions that brought me to film—how to channel a primordial, ancestral wisdom into my contemporary reality—with the institutions instated to recognize and bolster film talent.

In 2019—after receiving an unrestricted cash prize from United States Artists—I began to actively work from my own foundation. I founded a film entity, Mothertongue, and started pushing the limits of my filmmaking beyond what I had been taught.

I began to explore film from a perspective of afro-indigenous visuality (which goes beyond ocular sight), began to move away from text as the privileged channel to knowledge, and began to relish moving images because the key quality of the language I am exploring—a “mother tongue”—is that it is silent and/or unspoken.

The practice spans film theory, production, programming, speaking engagements & educational talks, institution-building, and distribution. Through this studio practice, I am hoping to foreground other-knowledges and find ways to translate them to the globalist, internationalist communities I am a part of.

Since 2019, I have done a lot of unlearning: I crafted the video lecture “Unbraiding Three-Act-Structure” as a pedagogical affront that seeks to undo the Greek-formalist approach that is still taught as the universal way to write films. I also crafted "Beyond the Colonial Camera: 3 Departures," which seeks to undo the truism that the camera is inherently colonial and bring this powerful tool back to a place of accessibility for all indigenous cultures. I am also currently in post-production on "In Search of Yennenga," a docu-hybrid, afrofuturist contemporary retelling of the legend of Yennenga (a largely forgotten warrior princess from 12th century Ghana). This work represents the most powerful shift in my film production practice and the largest reward for the risks I have taken.

I hope to build Mothertongue to support the undoing of entrenched modes of film production and to blow the door wide open for myriad other-knowledges to be freely and robustly expressed. I came to film because I needed to express from an authentic, untranslated place (that the textual and the spoken—though highly privileged—could not access). I intend to use that jumping-off point to make radical changes to this medium so that it can become accessible in ways that will truly speak to its potency and its power. Film has given me so much, and this is what I hope to give back.


An African family, lost in America, travels to a Louisiana church to find a cure for its problem child. Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival 2013, SXSW 2013, Telluride Film Festival 2013 Director: Frances Bodomo Producer: Alana Pryor Ackerman DP: Joshua James Richards
still from “Unbraiding Three-Act-Structure”
"In Search of Yennenga" teaser
In this contemporary retelling of the Yennenga legend, a warrior from the speculative Mabia Empire mistakenly time travels back to 2020s Tamale in frantic search of the girl that will become the mother of her empire •
still from "Everybody Dies!"
still from "Afronauts"

"In Search Of Yennenga" Crew Photo