Two Thumbs Up for BIG MEN on Ghana’s Oil Dilemma

March 24, 2014

[UPDATE: The broadcast of Big Men will air on PBS's POV on Monday, August 25th at 10pm EST.]

The wonky public policy debates over what to do with African oil windfalls comes to the big screen with BIG MEN, a terrific new documentary by Rachel Boynton. BIG MEN follows the Texas-based Kosmos Energy as it searches for oil off the West African coast and then, soon after their discovery, as they renegotiate with a new government in Accra. The film also delves into the entrenched corruption and violence in the Niger Delta, providing a stark backdrop to the growing worries about what might happen in Ghana. I was lucky enough to see the film recently and it has three big strengths:

  1. Incredible access to key players, including inside Kosmos, the Government of Ghana, and the swamps of the Delta.
  2. The complexities of the issues facing countries and investors are thoughtfully handled with care and subtlety.
  3. The tension of a real-life thriller.

BIG MEN opens in Washington DC on Friday March 28th in at the E Street Theater. On opening night, Oxfam’s Ian Gary will moderate a Q&A with the Director at 7:10pm. (Other cities listed here.) I’ve seen it once already, but I’ll be going again with CGD staff on April 3rd.

Here’s a preview: 


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.