The successes and economic impacts of big-time movie industries like Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and other top-notch movie industries around the globe equally enunciate the fact that movies go beyond just:“Lights, Camera Action!”
Movies play a significant role in depicting culture, shaping lives and selling moral values.
Retrospect of our Ghanaian movie industry
Once upon a time, a visual army was birthed in Ghana. Ghana in the late period of 1970 had one of the most promising movie industry in West Africa and the African continent as a whole.
Not only did individuals in the private sector imbibe the movie craze in Ghana by opening cinemas in urban areas, but the state established a film school which was the first of its kind here in West Africa: the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI).
The educational institution became the learning grounds for lovers of the movie trade in Africa.
This shaped our movie industry immensely as we started to produce some interesting features such as Kwaw Ansah’s epic ‘Love Brewed in an African Pot’, ‘Road to Kukurantumi’, ‘Expectations’, ‘A Stab in the Dark’, ‘Ripples’, amongst others.
That era ushered in revered actors like David Dontoh, Doris Sackitey, Grace Omaboe, Fred Amugi and a tall list of other talented film-makers.
Our stories, script quality, cast and good movie technicalities were unrivaled on the African continent.
At the turn of the millennium saw a period of a booming movie industry and an upsurge massive in sales.
It also ushered in a crop of modern-day actors in the likes of Jackie Appiah, Nadia Buari, Majid Michel and Van Vicker.
However, this boom came with its negative trails and truthfully, the movie industry hasn’t been able to cope.
The excess demand made producers focus only on profits to detriment of innovations and proper planning.
The influx of some big producers from the more powerful and vibrant Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) meant that little Ghanaian producers and movie makers were kept out of business.
Public Relations Officer of the Film Producers Association of Ghana ( FIPAG ), Nana Yaa Serwaa Osei captures the rot in the Ghanaian movie industry aptly.
She stated, "some presenters have deliberately over the years decided to dent the image of the movie industry for their selfish gains. And for some, they do that to be awarded all in the name of being famous"
But to Ms. Mimi Andani, Director of the Golden Movie Awards Africa (GMAA), ‘actors-turned-producers’ are to blame for the falling standards in the Ghanaian movie industry.
Mimi made this assertion at the launch of the 2017 edition of the Golden Movie Awards Africa (GMAA). She stated, "Now this is my solution or what I think should be done; inasmuch as you are an actress with a production house, I’ll urge you to look for professionals. You’re an actress and not a professional in production. Get professionals and don’t be mediocre."
Others have also blamed the stagnant movie industry on the advent of foreign telenovelas that are prevalent on every local Ghanaian television station.
What could be done?
The movie industry has the potential to be better in recent times looking at the benefits and reach technology has provided.
Streaming movies have become a norm in modern times and a lot of powerful movie industries across the world have taken advantage, yet same cannot be said of the Ghanaian movie industry.
Government’s support of the industry cannot be downplayed. An enabling environment to curtail piracy and increase the revenues of movie producers is important in strengthening the industry.
Signing of the ‘Film Bill’ into law in 2016 by the government is an important step, however, enforcing the content in the Bill is very critical. The new law provides the legal framework for the production, regulation, nurturing and development of the local film industry.
Countries like South Korea, India, and even Nigeria has its movie industry as a major contributor to their economy.
How the average Ghanaian could help
Patronage has been one of the hue and cries of stakeholders in the industry and rightly so.
Interest in locally made movies is at an all-time low among the youth and young adults. Truthfully, some of the materials produced by the local producers are nothing to write home about.
But, a little push in interest by citizens in the local movies can shore up the quality. It will also line the pockets of producers to be able to make big budget movies.
After all is said and done, the huge onus lies on the movie makers to get their audience to feign interest in the movies.
The movies we produce is a reflection of the crew's input. When it turns out awesome, it goes to show some hard work was really put in the movie but when it does otherwise, then you have yourselves to blame.
Movie makers should let passion and professionalism lead their moves before the thought of profits.
We should also learn to tell our stories from the Ghanaian or African perspective as a whole and void of copying foreign movies just to fit in with the international market.
If movies like Deadly Voyage, Beast of No Nation and Black Panther could garner all the attention it had from the world as a whole, then that should tell us stories centered around our culture has the potency of breaking bounds.
This is just one of the many steps every Ghanaian can take to make Ghana a better place. Know some more? Email us at email@example.com