All 10 episodes of My Perfect Funeral, the Ghanaian docu-reality series that goes behind the scenes of planning a proper Ghanaian burial, are now available to binge on Showmax.
In the interview below, creator and executive producer Deloris Frimpong Manso shares her journey on the making of My Perfect Funeral, her biggest challenges and what’s next for her in the Ghanaian film and TV industry.
My Perfect Funeral is really a one-of-a-kind show that has never been done before. Were you nervous when you were first pitching the project to Showmax?
I was nervous and a little bit worried. I wondered if Showmax was going to be interested and if I’d actually get families who would be ready to allow us film them while they grieved.
What was your reaction when it was commissioned for production? And did you feel any kind of pressure going into production?
I generally had mixed feelings. I was excited when the show got commissioned then it hit me that it was about funerals. And there was also a little bit of pressure because I wanted to make sure that we got it right. I was already thinking about Season 2 and wanted to make sure that once we started, we stayed on top of our game so that the show kept running.
You’ve worked on a couple of TV projects before, like your talk show The Delay Show, Cocoa Brown and Afia Schwarzennegar but this is your first reality series. How does it feel?
Working on a reality show was new ground for me, and this being a one-of-a-kind show was even more thrilling. The best way to express my mood at the time was what I used to tell my team: “All hands on deck guys!”
And of course when I drive past the billboard in town, I sometimes don’t know if I should smile or cry. It’s all so surreal.
How long did it take to film My Perfect Funeral, from pre-production to finally premiering on Showmax?
We started filming in November of 2021 and the show premiered in November 2022; that would make a year.
How did you and production come to choose the families you’d feature on the show? Were there any criteria to it?
We opted for diversity. From the affluent to the not so rich, and of course funerals from different parts of the country with different cultures.
Any challenges you had filming the show?
Our first challenge was when we flew the crew to Kumasi, paid for their hotel rooms and car rentals and all that because we had the bereaved family’s approval to film them, then the head of production called to say that the family had changed their mind. Apparently a family member who came from the US wasn’t informed about the shoot. I remember spending two hours on the phone trying to convince them but to no avail.
Then there was the biggest challenge when our first production team, director and editor backed out of the production. Their reason was that the show had begun taking a toll on them emotionally.
Which was the most challenging funeral you had to deal with?
The funeral at Pusiga. The team had to fly from Accra to Tamale and travel six hours by road. We had to get them security to escort them because ‘it wasn’t so safe’ to travel on those lonely roads at night. Michael, our producer, came back with fever blisters and the ultimate, Covid-19.
Anything new you learnt about Ghanaian culture that you didn’t know before filming the series?
I always thought families chose the people to feature in the obituary; I didn’t know some people would actually fight for their names to be added there. It blew my mind.
How was it working with Benjamin Aidoo for the show?
Benjamin was easy to work with, always on time, ready to convince other people to come on board and generally, a positive guy with a sunny disposition.
What’s next for you in the Ghanaian film/TV industry?
My talk show, The Delay Show, is still running. It turns fifteen years on 4 April 2023.
I also started filming my first feature film. It’s a story of a love triangle between a popular musician, his influencer girlfriend and their house help.