The 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa, serve as a backdrop for this feature documentary that looks behind-the-scenes at the complex, political machinery of a developing democracy struggling to legitimize itself to its first world contemporaries.
The 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa, serve as a backdrop for this feature documentary, which looks behind the scenes of a complex, political machinery of a developing country trying to catch up with the first world. Merz embarks on a once in a lifetime political journey. Merz carefully examines the presidential electoral arena and thereby allows for an unprecedented in-depth view of the forces at work politically, economically and socially. He thereby never forgets that he is portraying the country he spent his childhood in. He follows the key players for almost three months, witnessing their challenges, their highs and lows and manages to portray people rather than bigger than life characters. The stakes are high and each contestant will do everything, almost everything to win. An African Election turns into a suspenseful political thriller with unexpected twists and turns, yet always personal through the eyes of its director Jarreth Merz.
Jarreth Merz studied directing at the New York University and with Salem Ludwig at HB-Studio in New York. In 2006 he founded Urban Republic Films. Projects include: Abeka Junction, a mystery thriller/family drama set in Africa that he developed with his brother Kevin Merz, and Spurlos, a mystery thriller/family drama set in Switzerland and based on a true story. Merz co-produced Nightshift, a film by Shari Yantra Marcacci and Yantra Films. The duo is currently working on Little Tokyo Hotel, a lyrical drama set in Los Angeles, and Room 411, the story of a bipolar concert pianist set in New York. In 2005 Merz co-founded The Cell Film Production. Merz is a Swiss born actor, director and producer. He grew up in Ghana, Germany and Switzerland and speaks five languages fluently. He is known for his portrayal of Simon of Cyrene in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and his recurring role as Charles Baruani in ER. Merz has worked extensively in film, television and theatre. Most recently, he directed and produced The Soul of Ashanti for the Africa Channel in Los Angeles and Mousy Brown, a narrative short. He is currently working on a biopic about the life of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.