Managing Director, Sparrow Productions, Accra, Ghana. Age: 33
Shirley Frimpong-Manso turned a childhood hobby of playing “make believe” into an illustrious career in Ghana’s entertainment industry. “I would organize [friends] into groups and we would always put up some drama, imagining that there was a huge audience. It just felt like a lot more fun than playing with sand and dolls,” she says.
After graduating with top honors in film directing from Ghana’s National Film and Television Institute, Frimpong-Manso established an advertisement and television production firm, Sparrows Productions, in 2003. Since then, she has since written, produced and directed numerous television serials, special segments and films.
Frimpong-Manso is dedicated to raising the standard of film production in Ghana and Africa and tries to do so by telling progressive African stories as seen through the eyes of Africans. Her projects have received critical acclaim and numerous awards, such as Best Director of the Year and Best Soundtrack at the 2010 African Movie Academy Awards for her film A Sting In A Tale. At the 18th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival, A Sting In A Tale took home the award for Audience Favorite-Narrative Feature. She was also awarded the Promising Female Star award by the Ghana Women’s Awards Association in 2009.
Inspired by “people who tread were only a few go,” such as Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey, Frimpong-Manso tells young women, “It’s not a man’s world, it’s a creative world. And survival is not gender based, it’s creativity based. Always be passionate about your work. When it starts feeling like a ‘job,’ leave it.” A new mother, she makes time to write down something new each day that she will use later in one of her stories. Her dream is to create a film that will change the world. Until then, she says, she will continue to produce films based on everyday events, of which her country can be proud.
Favorite food: Grilled salmon and boiled potatoes
What actor should play you in a movie: Angela Bassett
What artist/group would you go on tour with: Linkin Park
Movie theater or home theater: Movie theater
Favorite sports team: Ghana’s Black Stars
Last movie: Inception
List the languages you speak: English, TWI, GA