The Knell

On his first day at an Oklahoman university, a student from Ghana with hopes of achieving the American Dream encounters a beautiful yet mysterious campus tour guide who sends him down a deadly path to an American nightmare.

  • Joseph Osei-Bonsu
    Director
  • Joseph Osei-Bonsu
    Writer
  • Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bevelyn Osei-Bonsu
    Producer
  • Kevin Richards
    Key Cast
    "Kwaku"
    Creed 2, Power
  • Demetria Marshall
    Key Cast
    "Téa"
  • Kolesa Moore
    Key Cast
    "Nana Yaa Asantewaa"
  • Danny Orosco
    Key Cast
    "Mr. Olyphant"
  • Prince Boakye-Yiadom
    Associate Producer & Storyboard
  • Jack Otto
    Cinematographer
  • Joseph Osei-Bonsu
    Editor
  • Sarah Sarpong
    Costume Design
  • Allen Grey
    Music by
  • Joey West
    Assistant Camera Operator
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 12, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    7,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Ghana
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Blackmagic URSA 2K
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:19
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Seton Hall University
  • Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival
    Toronto
    Canada
    October 31, 2021
    BEST DIRECTOR (Africa): Nominee
  • Blackstar International Film Festival
    Accra
    Ghana
    September 23, 2021
    African Premiere
    BEST STUDENT FILM: Official Selection
  • Festival International du Film Panafricain
    Paris
    France
    October 19, 2021
    European Premiere
    Official Selection
  • London International Web & Short Film Festival
    London
    United Kingdom
    June 26, 2021
    BEST STUDENT FILM (May) : Winner
  • Bronzelens Film Festival
    Atlanta
    United States
    August 20, 2021
    North American
    BEST STUDENT FILM: Official Selection
Director Biography - Joseph Osei-Bonsu

Joseph Osei-Bonsu's filmmaking blends afrofuturism, dark-comedy, history, and elements of fabulism to relate unique diasporic African stories. He grew up in Ghana, West Africa, and emigrated to the U.S. at 20. "The Knell" is Joseph's debut narrative short film which also doubles as the first act of an original, one-hour, TV-drama pilot he wrote in 2020. He will graduate as a Creative Writing Major and Filmmaking Minor from Seton Hall University in December 2021. Joseph resides in New Jersey, where he continues to work on his second original TV pilot...or watching too much TV.

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Director Statement

I created this short film from the first act of an original, one-hour, TV-drama pilot I wrote. I wanted my potential audiences to embark on the emotional journey I experienced while creating it sooner rather than later. In "The Knell," I bring back my great-great-great grandaunt and the Ashanti warrior queen, Nana Yaa Asantewaa, back from the dead. Having fought against British colonialism some 120 years ago, Nana Yaa resurrects to strike fear into her new foreign enemies in America. The film also explores the myth which is the "American Dream." It presents it as a mirage which continues to elude many immigrants and citizens of America, especially, people of African descent. Borrowing from my personal experiences, first, as an international student; and then, as an African American, I hope to take you through the full gamut of my American experience in 15 minutes! I have personified all its highs and lows in these interestingly unique characters via a simple, yet, unconventional plot. And I know very well that it will be different for each individual who watches it. But above all, "The Knell" is a story of reconciliation. It is a story about two people of African descent--long separated by the Transatlantic tragedy--who must now find solidarity in what unites them instead of focusing on what divides them. All the while, contending against the white supremacist world thrust upon them. "The Knell" confronts the obvious disconnect between continental and diasporic Africans and people of African descent. Thus, addressing pertinent issues across both sides of the aisle in hopes of achieving a sense of reconciliation between the two "African" families.