In a previous post, I emphasized how the way the rest of the world views Ghana depends largely on the stories we tell as a people. A major medium through which we can tell our stories is through movies. However, many people – in and out of the industry – have stated that the industry is dying. Others say the industry is dead and needs a burial.
Indeed. In my opinion, I believe the movie industry in Ghana is dying. Why do I say this? Movies do a whole lot more than tell our stories. Movies educate. Movies expose the ills in society. Movies can be used to protect certain endangered groups in the society. And my favourite function of movies – they are used as a major source of entertainment. So when movies fail to achieve all these functions or the audience for which the movies were intended for, say the movies are not performing its functions and therefore do not patronize the movies, then the industry is indeed dying. Ghanaian movies now serve to only make movie makers and actors money but fail in their main functions.
The movie industry in Ghana has been the subject of conversation on social media and other media platforms in recent times. All the conversation centres around the failure of the Ghanaian movie industry. It is therefore imperative that we have a discussion on how to revive our dying industry and raise it back to its former glory.
An important question to ask is, “What is causing the collapse of the local movie industry?”. One of the causes of this phenomenon, in my opinion, is the lack of genuine and quality content in the movies produced by local film makers. When the content of our movies is not genuine or is copied from those of foreign cultures or countries, the local audience loses interest in them. ‘Kumawood’ some years back aimed to solve the problem of unoriginality in our movies, portraying Ghanaian culture (Asante culture) and entertainment in the movies. This worked for a couple of years but they have since resorted to what the rest are doing. They have lost focus and also produce unoriginal content in movies like the rest.
Another cause can be attributed to the unwillingness of local TV channels to air Ghanaian movies. Local TV channels demand huge sums of money from local producers before they show their movies. However, these TV channels are more than ready to show foreign movies all day long without taking a pesewa from foreign producers. Such apathy towards the local movie industry is one of the leading causes of the collapse of the local movie industry. TV channels in the country are flooded with foreign telenovelas and movies. This is gradually changing the Ghanaian audience. Certain foreign cultures which are not healthy for the Ghanaian setting are rapidly being adopted by the Ghanaian youth.
The unwillingness of Ghanaians to patronize in locally produced movies is also part of the problem. This can be attributed to the fact that local TV channels mostly air foreign content on television. This has made the Ghanaian audience get used to appreciating foreign movies. And since humans are creatures of habit, it becomes difficult to switch back to watching and appreciating Ghanaian movies, which are still not being shown on TV.
Finally, the movie industry comes under the entertainment industry, of which showbiz is a major part of. However, the showbiz aspect of the industry seems to be overshadowing the real purpose and functions of the industry. Ghanaian actors and actresses now seem to be more interested in red carpet appearances and photo shoots than putting much talent and effort in acting. They make inferior movies and ‘slay’ on the red carpet. This phenomenon has become a major concern of people in and out of the industry and is one that needs to be managed.
The industry is dying. Movie makers must produce quality movies which are relevant and of interest to the Ghanaian audience. Local TV channels must desist from the cruel act of demanding huge sums of money from local producers – money these producers don’t have – before airing their movies instead of freely showing foreign movies all day long. Ghanaians must show a high interest in locally produced movies, helping the local movie industry grow. And Ghanaian actors and actresses should put in much effort in acting and not lose focus on what is more important.
WRITER: Kofi Dzogbewu