Breakwater Studios Promotes Nana Adwoa Frimpong To Executive Media And Communications Director And Chief of Staff

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning Breakwater Studios, a leading maker of premium short documentaries, has promoted Nana Adwoa Frimpong to Executive Media and Communications Director and Chief of Staff.

The appointment takes effect immediately. Frimpong, a Ghanaian-Canadian filmmaker, joins Breakwater’s executive management team and will report to CEO Ben Proudfoot, the Oscar-winning director of The Queen of Basketball.

“Frimpong started at Breakwater in the Office of the C.E.O. and quickly moved up the ranks to Chief of Staff before her current position,” a release noted. “She has been a key driver in managing Breakwater’s bustling slate of dozens of original and branded short documentary projects and speaking engagements on behalf of the company.” 

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Led by Ben Proudfoot and backed by Gigi Pritzker among others, “Breakwater Studios is a world leader in short documentaries and often partners with brands to underwrite their projects, a business model that has grown the company for 11 years to a headcount of nearly 20 staff,” Breakwater states.

Breakwater is noted not only for the quality of its films, but its success reaching audiences with original short form nonfiction content. The Queen of Basketball, for instance, has been viewed more than a million times on the New York Times Op-Docs platform and the Times’ YouTube channel.

“The company creates splashy impact campaigns (often backed by a celebrity executive producer),” Breakwater says, citing the story of Lucy Harris told in The Queen of Basketball (EP’ed by Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry), Patsy Mink in MINK! (EP’ed by Naomi Osaka), and Terence Alan Smith in The Beauty President (EP’ed by Lena Waithe). The upcoming slate under Frimpong’s purview includes Proudfoot’s documentary Forgiving Johnny, which leveraged “rare access to an active case being handled by the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office,” and The Last Repair Shop, directed by Proudfoot and Kris Bowers, who teamed on the Oscar-nominated short A Concerto Is a Conversation.

“I fortuitously met Nana when she moderated a panel with Kris Bowers and I when A Concerto is a Conversation was nominated in 2021,” Proudfoot said in a statement. “I was blown away immediately by her warmth, poise and the incisiveness of her language. I was not surprised to find out that she came from a lineage of diplomats and pretty much hired her immediately. We very much see eye to eye and I am thrilled that she has taken on this new, broader role at the company to help champion the format of short documentary, our films and the storytellers at their center.” 

Frimpong is an award-winning short documentary filmmaker herself, with an M.F.A. in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production from the University of Southern California. 

“I have always believed that films are a vessel for truth-telling. I became a filmmaker because I wanted to see the people and places I knew reflected back to me onscreen,” Frimpong said. “In film school, short documentaries were my direct way into honoring that intention. The films we make at Breakwater Studios are no different. Every film we make is centered around love, honesty, and a deliberate intention to put the storyteller and their unique perspective first. I am grateful to be part of a team that understands the specialness of all of our stories, and works to amplify voices that have been historically unheard or ignored. I look forward to the expansion of my role, and remain eager for what is to come.”

Breakwater Studios, founded by Proudfoot in 2012, describes itself as a “vertically integrated entertainment company specializing in humanist short-form documentaries and brand partnerships… With noteworthy and award-winning collaborations with The New York Times, Charles Schwab, UNICEF, Amazon, Publicis Sapient and different original projects selected at HotDocs, Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, and Telluride, Breakwater is poised to continue to establish itself as an industry leader and innovator.”

The company’s physical campus, spread between three locations in the historic Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, includes Walt Disney’s original studio. 

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