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Dedication to the art of "Hip Life"

Kobina Annan, Jr.

Eli Jacobs- Fantauzzi is a new film maker, who has won prestigious awards with his earlier film “Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano.” “Hip-Life” is his next title currently being produced in Ghana.

"Hip Life” is being shot in Ghana. It is a feature-length documentary film that illustrates the relationship between American and West African music traditions by focusing on Hip-life music, a fusion of traditional African High-Life music and American Hip Hop. The film covers ten years in the life of V.I.P (Vision in Progress), the most famous Hip-Life group in West Africa.

Eli Jacobs- Fantauzzi

Eli Jacobs was born and raised in Maui, Hawaii. When he was in high school his mother bought a digital camera which he could not stop playing with, and that was when Eli’s film interest began.

He received his BA from Berkley University in 2000. After graduating with a Masters degree from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU in 2004, his film Inventos won the Best Documentary Film Award at the Pan African Film festival held in Denver in 2005.

This film “Inventos” has continued to be screened nationally and internationally in major countries, including Cuba, Brazil, England, South Africa, and India. He is currently directing his latest film HomeGrown Hip-Life in Ghana.

In 1998, Eli went to Ghana to visit and was introduced to the world of Hip-life music when it was just getting recognition in the music industry. He collaborated with Hashim Haruna, producer of the film and started working on production. It was very inspirational to listen to Eli speak about the project with joy and enthusiasm.

Eli says, “To watch the guys in the group V.I.P. grow in a decade to becoming the most popular Hip- Life group is amazing and wonderful.”

The film documents the life of the band members from recording in a one-room studio in Nima, a poor Muslim neighborhood in Accra, to their first international tour of the United States. The group members are from different tribes, religious affiliations, linguistic backgrounds, who grew up together and began making music at an early age. Just as Hip Hop began in the Bronx, Hip-Life was born in the ghetto of Nima and expresses the rage of poverty, the beauty of hope, and endless possibilities.

The film covers a decade in which the group members grow from the teenagers who share a dream, to musicians with fans across Africa, Europe, and the U.S. The three members of V.I.P. have a passion for improving the lives of Ghanaians, and for unifying Africans. Hip-Life music gives them a vehicle to connect traditional languages and music to the contemporary Hip Hop scene. The group also uses their fame and power to address critical issues in their community, such as HIV/AIDS and the lack of educational opportunities. They recently became part of the Unites Nations messengers of peace.

This film provides a vital link for understanding the inter-connectivity of Africa and the U.S. By using Ghana a as a focus, the film illustrates the cross-cultural influences between Africa and the U.S. Thereby highlighting issues that shape the way of life in both countries.

To make donations for the project please contact

Kobina Annan, Jr, NY, September 9, 07


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