Pastor Paul: Film Screening and Discussion

PASTOR PAUL explores the remarkable confluence of New African Cinema, Christianity and Witchcraft; and undermines the classic symbolic imagery of the “white man in Africa,” whether he be tourist, missionary, actor, or ghost. Filmed in Ghana and Nigeria in 2013 on a micro-budget, Pastor Paul was the result of a guerilla-style international co-production with Pidgen Films. Pastor Paul also features performances by Edi Osei and Kwame Owusu, employees of the School for International Training in Ghana - an institution which provided crucial assistance in several aspects of production.

Nigeria’s film industry - Nollywood - recently surpassed the United States in annual film productions, making it the second largest entertainment industry in the world. Since its inception in the early 1990’s, most Nollywood films have been about witchcraft and Christianity and the disparity between rural and urban life in Africa. These narratives are relevant to contemporary Africans and the style has spread all over the continent. Pastor Paul is the first American Nollywood film; an homage to the spirit - and the spirits - of Nollywood’s self-determined narratives.

Director Biography

Jules David Bartkowski made his directorial debut with Pastor Paul, which was first screened at the Alliance Francaise in Accra, Ghana, and went on to a sold out world premiere at Lincoln Center as a part of the New York African Film Festival in May of 2016. Since then Bartkowski won an award for his performance in Pastor Paul at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and the film will have its European premiere at the International Filmmakers Festival in Berlin this October.

The film is a co-production with Pidgen Films in Ghana where Bartkowski will return in 2017 to work as a consultant on an expansion of Pidgen Films, and for preproduction of a new film. Bartkowski is a life-long actor, musician, and writer who is currently composing and producing the score for an upcoming film starring Willie Nelson, entitled M y Cricket and Me, and recently released an album of original songs and videos under the pseudonym ‘Goolis,’ with a second album to be released this Thanksgiving.

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