Readers’ Mail: Veteran Actors David Dontoh & Fred Amugi Acted In ‘Ties That Binds’ & Were Also Part Of Ghana Movie Awards Jury…Is That Not Why The Movie Won 9 Awards?

Leila Djansi

Leila Djansi

I hope my mail would be given the needed attention on your website; GhanaCelebrities.Com.

Though I’m not based in Ghana, here in Jamaica, we visit your website a lot; we have been well informed about upcoming movies and budding actors/actresses. I’m proud of what you guys have been able to achieve so far. Many years ago, Ghana didn’t have a site designed for solely entertainment and I must say kudos to you guys.

Now to the main reason of this mail, I am a big fan of African movies. I have a collection of both Ghanaian and Nigerian movies. I do enjoy watching them.

I read with rapt attention on this website that, movie maker Leila Djansi’s ‘Ties That Bind’ topped the nominations and subsequently won  9 awards at the awards night. I don’t know Leila in person so I probably don’t care what people will think or say but I found her triumph very awkward.

Leila’s movie ‘Ties That Bind’ was judged by the awards jury which I am well informed includes veteran actors David Dontoh and Fred Amugi who featured in the same movie.

I do not hate but I think this is unacceptable. Even Kofi Middleting [I hope I got the name right] who was part of the jury last year and still part I guess acted in Ties That Binds. Why put together Actors from a particular movie and ask them to judge the movie among others? It is only rational that they will pick the movie they are affiliated as the best. Will you pick someone’s mother movie your own mother?

I’m I the only confused person here? Is it right for people who acted in a movie to judge the movie at the expense of other movies?

Why should members of a jury have conflicting interest? I mean, be in a movie and also be placed in a position to judge the movie with other movies they were not featured in. Won’t their judgment be tainted?

Razak Mohammed/Jamaica


You can send your Readers’ Mail directly to me via

It may take some time to get published because I receive a lot of such mails and need to publish them one after the other. Thank You

Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Editor

Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri is the Founding Editor of GhanaCelebrities.Com , a Film Critic and a Human Rights Advocate; holds a masters degree in International Human Rights Law (LL.M), holds a degree in Law (LL.B), and he’s currently at Nottingham Law School, studying for his Legal Practice Course (with a second masters degree in Law) to practise as a UK Solicitor--he's a Professional Truth Sayer. He is also the author of the popular eBook “Success is a Right, Not A Privilege.” Contact:

How to Start A Blog for Less than 100GHS | CLICK HERE

Commenting Guidelines & Rules

Omar says:

This whole thing is uncalled for, see hw people are insulting themselves and the entire country because of this stupid post. Come-on now people, these celebrities or who ever they call themselves are adorable but certainly not wealth taking insults for. Shirley is splendid, she’s got her own style of movie, i love her pictures and continuity, obviously one of the best Ghanaians have got, Leila is no exception, outstanding costume and great stories….cant u see they are all doing well…….But the intentions of this website host is the one to be insulted……People lets take a second thought about it. Stories that will make people knock thier heads with one another, poor insult on an entire country and all. Its that all Ghanaians are good for? well i think we are better than that. Long live Ghana…Long live the movie industry

Caroline says:

@Omar, thank you Omar. My biggest problem with the likes of hollywood411 is how they continue to say Leila is better than Shirley and yet continue to compare her to their idol. Is it even fair to compare their productions considering Leila uses a 2million dollar budget and Shirley’s come no where close. And I have heard both ladies speak very highly of each other. Why do you come here and peddle insults on one when they have nothing to do with each other. Direct your grievances on the writers and leve them be. Film making is not a competition my friends, the ladies are doing their bits, get on the issue and help build instead of destroy because I don’t see the difference between those insulting and perhaps the writer. 

Francis says:

Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah…. Seriously people get a life and here I mean the those hating on others and the ignorant writer. 

Reena says:

I to the above comment from CNW website.

Reena says:

Ties that Bind Special Screening on November 17 At the Cumberland Theatre in Toronto”I see a good number of independent films each year and “Ties That Bind” is one of the most gripping movies I’ve screened in a long time.”  Rick Berman, Executive Producer Star Trek
TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2011 /CNW/ -- From award winning Ghanaian director Leila Djansi comes the much anticipated international drama Ties That Bind will have a special screening on:
November 17th , 2011Cumberland 4 Theater in Yorkvilleat 7:30 pm
Ties that Bind tells the ensemble story of three women from different backgrounds bound together by a common tragedy — the loss of a child. In a destined meeting in a small West African village, the women journey together to redemption, love, life and forgiveness as they renovate a haunted, dilapidated clinic for the villagers.
Starring Kimberly Elise (Diary of a Mad Black Woman), Randall Batinkoff (X Men: First Class), 2011 AMAA Award Winner Ama Abebrese, Nollywood star Omotola Jolade Ekeinde, Ebbe Bassey and John Dumelo, the international star-studded drama was shot on location in Ghana, West Africa.
Ties That Bind is written and directed by BAFTA/LA winner Leila Djansi, whose film I Sing of the Well won the Pan African Festival Choice Prize at the Pan African Film Festival earlier this year. The film follows Djansi’s mission to tell social issue stories that will encourage change. Djansi was inspired to make Ties That Bind after watching a documentary on adoption in her home country of Ghana, where adoption is not a part of the culture for her fellow Africans.  Djansi decided to tell a story that deals with child loss in the African culture, and the effect it had on the women and societies reaction to them.
Hollywood stars Randall Batinkoff and the amazing Kimberly Elise bring international flavor and appeal to this much anticipated drama.
For further information:For more information on Ties that BindContact:LeAnne Armano416 238 1414 ext

I have no idea why people even argue. Hasn’t it ever occured to you that God may be dead? We have serious issues on our hands folks. One day you gonna die and your precious ego shall be consumed by worms. I prefer Leila’s movies to Shirley’s. Does it make Leila better that Shirley? Not really. My life would be better spent if i focused on the comet 3 million light years away veering into the andromeda galaxy.

connie says:

Let de lady be pls!

flint says:

razak mohammed it is ok to think the way u did, but lets look beyond that, the movie won in actual fact becuase it was the best among the ones competing with it not because some of the jurors were in it, lets be honest with ourselves here, what movie last yera from ghana can stand against ties that bind, yes i know many people here don’t like leila(i even get irritated by her attitude somethings) but one thing i can attest about her is that she is a good filmmaker, not only in ghana but across africa,infact i can confortably declare her as the best ghanaian filmmaker(this is my personal opinion), no ghanaian film made last year can stand toe to toe with the movie, so the movie won by merit and as such deserves the 9 acclodes it recieved.

moki says:

Even if david Dontoh and Fred Amugi were part of the jury, Ties That Bind is HEAD AND SHOULDERS above all the other films so no need for complaint. It would have come out tops either way. Some Ghanaians are very ENVIOUS , very PULL-HER-DOWN people. Hollywood 411 has a point. Some Ghanaians are accepted and others not. That is the bottom line here. Do you know the politics and biases involved in nominating Academy Award Winners in the US? They give it to who they want to give it to. Not who so much deserves it. Ghana is slowly becoming an Egypt of some sort. Oppressive!!

Senior Citizen says:

This is why Ghanaians are stupid and will never go forward in life. why must everything be seen as hate? the questions the writer asked are right questions which must be answered or looked into. I don’t think it is fair for people who are part of a movie to be put to judge the same movie and others. 

will you allow a coach of a team or one of the players of the team to be a referee? if no why must that happen with Ghana movie awards then?

it seems people are pulling the hate crap to cover up the real issue here

SMS says:

@Senior Citizen, Hey A$$h0le….!!!!!! how can u begin a statement insulting an entire country????hey fool can u even read at all?….read over the comments from hollywood411 again  and u will realize your reply was hastened and STUPID!! U basically asking questions tht he has already answered. I wonder why jerks like u come up running on peoples parade yet u r not tht smart to comprehend a simple opinion column….WHERE U FROM ANYWAY FOOL!!! I hope u fall off a bridge and die or get knocked down by an unlicensed car DOUCHE BAG!!!!

hollywood411 says:

u are so daft. where did I agree that they are part of the jury? I said they are part of organizers, not jury. again u are very daft. Do u know how many actors are on the boards of ALL awards? whose movies are apart of selection? are u saying that David Dontoh and Fred Amugi should now go and look for other jobs because they are part of Ghana movie awards? will u employ them?

Its best the writer comes up with CONCRETE FACTS that disqualify Ties That Bind from fairly WINNING all it won rather than because some of its cast members were in the jury or in organizers or where ever.
was it a bad film? was Omotolas acting bad?, was the ligting, sound, editing etc bad?, the movie was edited by an Oscar nominated editor, the sound was mixed at paramount studios, the coloring was done on a davinci, all these Leila Djansi posts on her facebook. pictures from the coloring room, pictures from paramount ect she was always updating her facebook with these so some of us were not surprised at the win. Hollywood production from A to Z.
they built a house as a clinic, they built a church at shai hills… Please visit the fanpage of the film and see for yourself and use that to determine whether it didn’t deserve all the awards.
If it were shirley who won, no one would have found anything wrong with it because she is who u know and you consider Leila Djansi an outsider. you are forgetting that this same Leila Djansi was making movies before Shirley entered radio. Read Leila Djansi’s bio on wikipedia. it says she made her first film at age 19 in Ghana. if she is maybe 28 or 29 now, is that not 10 years plus?
it amuses me when people say she has problems with anyone.
she decided not to work with Genevieve Nnaji and nnaji went public. Van Vicker has the load down of that story. ask him.
she had a fallout with Akofa over I sing of a well. today we see who really owns i sing of a well
Her PA and Semanu Gbedawo robbed her
she told Chris Vincent Agyepong to back off her facebook status
she called out Socrates Safo for making soft p*rn.
please finish the list if you have one. I am a die hard fan of hers and I follow her like a leach so I know. are these enough reasons to hate her? Does it make sense why she has decided to leave Ghana film industry? I don’t blame her one bit.

lets rationalize and paint a proper picture here. why can’t anyone leave this girl alone to live her life? Ties That Bind was not the only unreleased film nominated by the GMAs. so why is it that its only Ties That Bind that people are complaining about? have you seen the end of Adamd Apples? how could it have won Best Story? how come no one has sent CVA a readers mail on that?
For real Africans! for real! Just this morning I was reading on facebook where a Black American Rev was saying that they thank God for rescuing them from Africa and bringing them to the civilization of America. I was annoyed at that, but coming back to GC, he makes so much sense.

if you don’t fan the fire under your pot of yams, it is you that will go hungry!!

CVA, u can delete this if you want but here is review of Ties That Bind. The most intelligent write-up i”ve ever read from ghana.

miself says:

Am not sayin wat they did is right.but Ghana ddoes nnot eexactly hhave movie iin people that are wworkin as critics.that all they is ssit and watch movies to tthe bbarest of dedetail aand critisize wat do u expect.but i still think they ddeserve ththe award.

hollywood411 says:

I just want to say a big SHAME!! on Chris Vincent and whoever he claims sent him this article. Being a citizen journalist or what is called a blogger comes with a lot of responsibilities. some which include curbing peoples excesses.
Ties That Bind is an excellent movie (though I have not seen it, I have read many a review from people I respect who say its nothing but excellent). I doubt that a legend like Kimberly Elise and her team will partake in anything that is not up to standard. after all, Kimberly Elise is not hungry.
Ties That Bind was invited to open the Africa International Film festival which was hosted by Tchina Arnold and Lyn Whitfield, It is also a selection into the San Diego film festival and the Pan African Film Festival. I am sure that more festivals are coming up.
the movie I hear has been selling out at the cinemas and silverbird cinemas, which does not keep any Ghana film for more than two weeks has kept the film for 3 weeks so far and they are going into the 4th week. please visit silverbird cinemas on facebook to prove this.
Rick Berman, who is the excetive producer of star trek gave the movie a blurb that it is the most compelling independent film he has screened in a long time. I will post links but Chris Vincent will be quick to delete my comment and the links. but please google Rick Berman and Ties That Bind and you will see.

I am also aware that Fred Amugi and david Dontoh are NOT part of the jury but part of the organizers. to also remind this reader, the academy awards has members who are sworn in after they win an oscar, again, Oprah Winfrey is on the board of the Acadcemy awards, she is the one who fronted last years big movie Precious starring Garbourey Sidibe and Monique. Even if Fred Amugi and David Dontoh were on the awards jury, it doesn’t stop them from taking part in movies and doesn;t stop any movie they have worked on to qualify and win any award.

I’m not sure why there is so much hate for Leila Djansi. oops, I am sure why there is hate for her.
she is an Ewe
she does not have fake weave
she does not have boobs spilling out of her dress in pictures
she does not wear funky designer shoes and clothes
she does not live in ghana enough to do the “Ghana celebrity thing”
she brings Hollywood stars into Ghana
she is rich
she makes High budget films
she speaks her mind
she takes no nonsense from anyone
she is blessed and highly favored
I guess all that is enough to make her a threat to anyone. all that is enough to make people hate on her.

But please, ask yourself, how can a 10 part movie be entered into an award and even win? how can a movie we have not seen its end win best story? do we know the end of the story?
I am waiting for someone to write a note on the new scam tactics of Shirley Frimpong manso who is the reason someone sent this note anyway because it was not shirley and the Eves bananas that won the GMAs.

as someone said on twitter, don’t compare shirley frimpong manso to leila djansi. thats like comparing who killed nancy to inception. I rest my case.
FYI to the writer,

David Dontoh also stared in Somewhere in Africa which Majid won two awards for. I hope you are able to make some deductions from that free tip.

you live in jamaica my ass.

Francis says:

@hollywood411, to be frank your long comment is garbage. so you agree David Dontoh and Fred Amugi as well as  Kofi Middleting were in Ties that bind and they were also on the jury right?

Do you think it is fair? how can 3 people of a jury of maybe 7 or 5 be from the same movie and expect anyone to believe that they were not biased? 

It is because of Ghanaians like you that we don’t move forward and what is Shirley got to do with this? I read the piece twice and i did not see any shirley in there yet you kept mentioning her name

SMS says:

@Francis, hey fool can u even read at all?….read over the comments from hollywood411 again  and u will realise your reply was hastened and STUPID!! U basically asking questions tht he has already answered. I wonder why jerks like u come up running on peoples parade yet u r not tht smart to comprehend a simple opinion column….WHERE U FROM ANYWAY FOOL!!! I hope u fall off a bridge and die or get knocked down by an unlicensed car DOUCHEBAG!!!!!

inchristalone says:

@hollywood411, infact u have said it all.i totally agree with beat me why ppl are hating on someone who is making ghana proud.she is the best filmamaker in ghana now who has international standard.shiley is quite good but leila is if u go to the niger website they call ghana the home of p*rn.instead of us encouraging her so other filmakers will learn from her and make good movies,we are here bashing is really sad.leila be strong and continue to do what u do.some of us are behind you.i know you will be the first african to win an oscar.let the sky be ya limit.

lesbos says:

@hollywood411,thank u!!..people just like to hate….and leila does not tolerate the nonsense from haters and this blog owner.The fact is that, it is a great movie..simple!!>Now everyone shd just get a life!.aba!!

BeautiBee says:

oh Ghana movie awards na adzeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen. when will Ghanaians reward true excellence? how can you allow david and fred to be judges of their own boxing match? 

Sweety says:

Oh really? So David Dontoh and Fred Amugi were part of the jury? Now we all see the light. Ghana for you, everything is corrupted

PART II – More Teaser Photos From Chris-Vincent And Elsie’s Amazing Wedding Ceremony---CLICK HERE