Universally, the quest in pursuit and discovery of the authentic and true voice is one that can take precedence over all things in the hierarchy of life. In short, we all share this inherent need to identify our truth — our voice. It is something that doesn’t come naturally for some, and instead is a lifelong process of learning to be vulnerable enough to discover it.

Director Nana Ghana is pursuing this feat through filmmaking — elevating the stories that speak to her spirit and allow her voice as a director to flourish and be seen. Debuting her short film WATER WARRIOR at Cannes Film Festival in 2016, and being recognized for her work and performance in WHITE RABBIT at Sundance 2018, by People and Entertainment Weekly, Ghana has the opportunity to be discerning in the roles and projects that she selects.

Photo Credit: Tijana Vukovic

In Nana’s documentary feature film, LA WOMAN RISING, she pursues this art — this manner of finding the essence of truth within the voice. The film focuses on 50 women of Los Angeles, from diverse backgrounds, distinct neighborhoods, and different walks of life. Nana offers them a platform to speak their truth and reveal the most vulnerable parts of themselves. She depicts the common ground that connects each woman in the film, ultimately elevating their untold stories from around the city.


‘[achieves] a distinct tone that celebrates the feminine spirit — a raw visualization of empathy.’

Although she grew up in a house full of women in Ghana, she didn’t become a ‘woman’ until she went to L.A., learning a powerful truth that

‘a woman is another woman’s natural ally.’

With Rosario Dawson as Executive Producer, the film has become a beautiful portrayal of what it means to be an ally to one another. Dawson supports the film every step of the way. Since coming on the project, she has become a champion for the documentary and what it represents. Dawson lends her voice to narrate the film with original poetry. Even Megalyn Echikunwoke, who was on the cover of the last issue of Afropolitain, has become an advocate for the project. She has a special feature in the film that shows her waking to the morning glare of the city. This idea of women being each other’s allies helps weave the stories together, showing that the typical perceived L.A. woman is not necessarily a depiction of the real and diverse women of L.A. Through storytelling, Nana aims to get this point across.

Because of these ideas of perceived perceptions, Ghana, as a filmmaker, pursues stories that help contradict and expose stereotypes in a light that allows the viewer to discern that there is no black and white. In identifying projects that speak to this, for Nana, she is pursuing a path that will help bridge gaps as opposed to widen them. As a young African woman in the states, Ghana saw this divide, even more so among Africans and African Americans. She chooses to help shed light on these profound differences in perception and reality by seeking out projects that expose these complexities.

LA WOMAN RISING was released on Friday, October 18, through limited theatrical engagements at the Laemmle Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills, as well as released worldwide in all major territories on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.