When Freeman Akomea was still a foetus, his mother’s condition prompted the specialist doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to induce the birth of baby Freeman in order to afford both mother and baby a better chance at survival.
Freeman was finally delivered to his parents from one of the incubators at KATH in Kumasi in March 1985, after having spent the rest of the time in the old bottle-like incubators of the 80s.
Freeman’s near miniature size at birth, his arrival into the world through the bottle and the difficulties of raising such a son, would all play a weirdly important role in his early life. His father was convinced he would not survive his second and third birthday anniversaries. And when he miraculously qualified to enter the senior high school (SHS), his father’s belief and stereotypes would greatly stand in the way of that education. He received that formation, anyway.
Acting, teaching theatre arts, directing and sound engineering all appealed to Freeman very early in his life. However, the high schools he attended had no theatre clubs even though subjects such as Literature in English and Akan languages were studied. When he completed SHS, he started working on setting up an acting club. By the time he talked to the fifth person about his movie making ideas, two had joined him.
The church Freeman fellowshipped with had a choir which made room for choreography and theatre twice a year. However, these isolated cases that happened at Christmas and Easter failed to meet the most basic theatrical needs of Freeman. When he would not get more, Freeman set up his own theatre group. He soon converted this into a motion picture acting group and named it Freeman Multimedia. This was 16 years ago.
The beginning Freeman multimedia released their third movie in a series that same year. With the release of these movies, Freeman Multimedia got their name registered in the then young Akan movie sub-sector. Of the three, the one that did the magic was titled Black Coffin. By riding on the back of the lead character, a villain in the plot, Kweku Boadi (Akrobeto as screen name), Black Coffin appealed to hundreds of movie lovers, especially the Akan speaking communities. By its sixth week of release, the movie had become a hit. Television networks sought the movie and showed it.
Black Coffin introduced the then less known Kwadjo Nkansah, whose screen name is Lewin, another promising star in Kumawood. While the movie was projecting new actors like Lewin and his favourite screen friend, Kwaku Manu, the same movie was doing same to the name under which it was produced.
When Nana Cambu, a comedy set in a typical small community in the Ashanti Region, was released, Freeman Multimedia was on its way to becoming a household name in Kumawood. Starring Kwabena Boadi as the Nana of the village, the village chief buried his feet in a pair of canvas shoes that he was indoctrinated never to remove no matter the circumstances.
Nyame Nfrewo was released in 2007 under the direction of Freeman. It was sponsored by a vastly resourced, movies craving middle-aged man, Habbib Abu Banda. The movie assembled some of the blockbuster characters of Kumawood and sold out quickly. Many more thrillers followed, some of them in numerous episodes, including the one currently running on Power TV channel, Asetenamu Obre.
These successes have not come at an easy price. Along the journey to the present, many dream-shattering challenges had to be surmounted. When Freeman first started to assemble his team, the beast that first dared him came from within. His father’s continuous belief that Freeman was wont to demise affected the morale of his team and in the process stole away l’esprit de corps necessary during trying times.
In 2007, the Devil’s Assignment promised to be a hit but turned out a miserable flop through the reckless, unprofessional work of a team of foul cameramen.
Freeman Multimedia spent vast resources to shoot the film only to go back into the studio for editing to discover that the entire job by the cameramen at the various locations was unprofessional. It was so way below the minimum industry standards that the entire movie had to be reshot all over again, but there was no capital for such an enterprise.
Again, in the fall of 2014, Freeman Multimedia directed and produced Nyame Nehene, a standard Akan movie with huge potential. It did move to the top of the chart of Kumawood and sold hundreds of copies in Accra. However, the marketer of this movie squandered the revenue generated from the proceeds. The case went to court but industry leaders intervened. Freeman Multimedia dropped the case.
Another tragedy, a comic one of course, was the making of Aniado the Killer. Freeman Multimedia travelled to the summit of the Kumawu Hills with its crew to shoot the entire movie only to be left stranded by the sponsor agency. The big stars got their share but the young emerging artists were left there unattended to.
Freeman Multimedia has a crew of about 70 and counting. The regular and casual members meet every fortnight to review the activities of the group. Those on the payroll of the business are about a dozen and the rest earn a living featuring in movies that Freeman Multimedia produces and directs or is contacted to produce cast for.
Author: MAHMUD AFIMFIWEY