Paa Joe & The Lion is a feature documentary about Ghana's greatest living fantasy coffin maker. In 2010 film-maker Ben Wigley discovered Paa Joe's work and was immediately intrigued. He went to Ghana to make a short film about him, but found there was a much bigger story to tell. Now he needs your help to finish his film and complete the story of Paa Joe & The Lion.


Paa Joe Trailer


Join Our Campaign

We’ve got a great story to share, but we need your help to tell it. Funds for documentaries are scarce, so we are crowd-funding our film. We’re running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to finish Paa Joe & The Lion and we’d love you to get involved. Head straight to Kickstarter by clicking the logo, or read on to find out more about this fantastic project.

Who is Paa Joe?

He is an artist and pioneer of the fantasy coffin craft. He was apprentice to the founder of the movement, his uncle, Kane Kwei. Paa Joe is known as the Grandfather of Ghana's fantasy coffin trade for his extraordinary artistic talent. He makes beautiful creations that are often seen by only a handful of people before being buried forever.

In the past he was sought out by US Presidents and art galleries, but is now facing great difficulties. Join us as we follow his highs and lows as he tries to get back on top - from losing his workshop in Accra, to travelling to England to create a coffin as artist-in-residence at the National Trust’s Clumber Park.

More About Paa Joe & The Lion

Paa Joe & The Lion is a documentary about a legendary craftsman and his last chance to save his legacy. Shot in Ghana and the UK, it shows an artist at work, and records a unique aspect of African culture.

It all began when director Ben found Paa Joe’s work and flew to Ghana to discover a story that the world needed to hear.

"Here was Paa Joe, the greatest living Ghanaian coffin maker, a true artist and a Lion himself, who had fallen on desperately hard times. He was unexpectedly forced to move from his workshop in Ghana’s busy capital Accra and his business plummeted.."

Can Paa Joe get back on top and leave a legacy to his son and apprentice, Jacob? Help us finish the film and find out.

What is a Fantasy Coffin?

Also called figurative coffins, the movement began in the 1950s when two carpenters made their Grandmother an aeroplane-shaped coffin, to fulfil her lifelong wish to fly. Each coffin is carefully crafted by talented woodworkers. Designs include everything from coke bottles to cars and are chosen to represent the person the coffin will carry.

Meet the Team

Ben Wigley is an independent film-maker who runs his own production company, artdocs and works on art-related film projects. His clients include: English Heritage, Tate Media, BBC, Oxfam, Save the Children and Wateraid.

Previous projects have seen him filming in far flung places and following intriguing stories nearer to home. 'In Search of the Vissarion' documented the celebration of a Siberian religious leader, a man who believed himself to be the second coming. 'PS Your Mystery Sender' is a short film looking at fashion designer Paul Smith’s collection of random gifts received from an anonymous admirer. It has been shown at festivals around the world: SXSW, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Hot Docs.

The producer is Anna Griffin, who also works with Wellington Films. Anna has been involved with productions including 'Bronson' and 'Only God Forgives' and has recently produced a spine-chilling short horror film, 'The Gas Man'.

Executive Producer - Brian Hill from Century Films. Century Films is one of the leading documentary companies in the UK. They have won many awards and their films are regularly shown at festivals around the world. Brian Hill has won numerous awards as a director and also as an executive producer.

What is Crowd-funding?

Crowd-funding is a new model of community support for artistic & commercial projects. If people like the sound of a film, book or app their money can make it a reality. In return for small (or large!) investments you get a stake in the project, rewards and a very BIG thank you!

We're using Kickstarter, a well-established crowd-funding platform, but one which is all or nothing. We need to reach our full £20,000 target to get our pledges. This means we need everyone's help to reach our target and fund our last trip to Ghana to finish Paa Joe's story. So, as well as asking you to pledge - anything from £1 upwards - we're asking you to become a partner. Please share our campaign on Facebook & Twitter, email your friends…tell your Mum!


Get in Touch

You can find out more about the film, our trips to Ghana, Ga culture, movie-making and more on our blog. For further information, to get involved, sponsor the film or just say hello, email us at info@artdocs.org

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