African Animation

Francis Brown: The Ghanaian Animator Pushing Boundaries 

This story on Francis Brown originally appeared on Pulse Business Insider. It has been slightly modified for context and clarity.

AnimaxFYB studios have teamed up to deliver the “African story” using animation. Despite the increasing appetite from curious minds for African stories, finding animated films that tell the African story in West Africa, let alone Ghana, has been near impossible.

But that is changing.

Tired of telling the stories of other people’s cultures, a Ghanaian animator is redefining the animation terrain after years of hard work within Ghana’s animation industry.

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Now with a small team, Francis Y Brown, CEO of AnimaxFYB studios is telling “African stories” through animation.

But How Did it All Begin?

Francis Brown
Francis Yushua Brown. Image via Team Blackimage

Francis is best described as an open-minded young man who believes every action should be supported by sound reasoning and has a deep love for art and history.

He tells Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa that at age six, drawing tools were his best friends. This friendship was appreciated by his family and this earned him their support.

Interestingly, he tells us that he used to kill mosquitoes and used their blood to draw on the walls of his family’s washrooms. Do not mistake him for a mosquito hater though.

WHENEVER I WAS IN THE WASHROOM MY DRAWING TOOLS WERE NOT WITH ME AND I FELT THAT THE WALLS WERE MY CANVAS SO I HAD TO WORK ON IT. I WOULD KILL MOSQUITOES AND USE THEIR BLOOD FOR MY DRAWINGS ON THE WALL.

Francis Brown giving his acceptance speech at the GUBA Awards
Francis Yushua Brown at the GUBA Awards

This he says frustrated his grandma to the point where she got him drawing tools so he could give the washroom walls a break.

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Francis Brown’s passion for art made him enrol as an art apprentice at the age of eleven in his hometown, Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana.

“I had a large sense of appreciation for cartoon network when I was a kid and really loved watching those that were shown on national television. Honestly, I could draw them all”, he tells Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa.

Fast forward, he read visual arts in high school and at the National Film and Television Insitute (NAFTI, Ghana’s foremost animation school). His dexterity in school won him so many awards due to his dexterity.

But Why the Interest in Telling the African Story?

Well, he tells us that he really loved to listen to his grandma’s stories and wanted those stories to be heard beyond his home.

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Francis shares in the popular belief that there is very scanty literature telling the African story.  He thus made it a point to increase the existing literature with his animation.

I didn’t want to tell the tea and bread stories because the authenticity could be lost, however the traditional African story which I live every day could be best told by me.

Francis Brown

Francis Brown’s Success story

“My first animation, the beggar, was in 2010 and the reception was mind-blowing. It actually got recognised and won an award.”

Success has been his friend since his first animation. Talk of awards and his honours – both international and local – are countless. He’s won awards at the African Film Festival among others.

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Francis Yushau Brown’s 11:08 minutes short animation film titled “Agorkoli” was adjudged Best Animation Film at the 2016 Africa International Film Festival’s Globe Award. Francis beat tight competition from 15 other nominees to cling the prestigious accolade.

Francis officially launched AnimaxFYB on January 30 this year.

Here is a link to his amazing output.


This post was written by Desmond Frimpong and originally appeared on Pulse Business Insider titled “Francis Yushua Brown – The Ghanaian Illustrator Who Practised With Mosquito Blood As A Boy Is Breaking Boundaries As A Man”.

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