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Juliet Asante, the Chief Executive Officer of NFA, speaking at the launch
Juliet Asante, the Chief Executive Officer of NFA, speaking at the launch
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Africa Cinema Summit is here again

THE National Film Authority (NFA) has launched the second edition of the Africa Cinema Summit (ACS), a landmark event that promises to propel the African film industry to new heights.

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Scheduled for Monday, October 7-10, the summit will bring together stakeholders from across the continent to explore opportunities, address challenges, and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Africa.

This year’s theme: “Is Cinema Relevant in African Communities?” resonates deeply on a continent where film has the potential to shape cultural narratives, preserve history, and inspire future generations. 

Indeed, Africa's film industry is experiencing a surge in growth, with cinema emerging as a significant aspect of the continent's cultural landscape. The rise of cinema in Africa is not only providing entertainment but also serving as a channel for storytelling, preserving history, and promoting cultural heritage.

In recent years, the African movie industry has gained global recognition, with films such as The Wedding Party and Jewel of the Nile showcasing the continent's talent and creativity.

The industry's growth is attributed to various factors, including advancements in technology, increased investment, and a new generation of filmmakers passionate about telling African stories.

It is, however, worth noting that despite Africa's impressive population of almost 1.5 billion, the cinema culture remains underdeveloped, with fewer than 1,700 screens across the continent.

This stark reality calls for attention to the need for investment in cinemas and the development of local content.

Untapped potential

At the launch of this year’s ACS in Accra recently, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NFA, Juliet Asante, said Africa’s cinematic prowess was undeniable, yet remained largely untapped.

As such, the summit is poised to bridge this gap by fostering collaboration, innovation and sustainable growth in the African cinema industry. 

Using figures to build her case, Ms Asante said with a population of 64 million, France had over 6,000 cinemas while  Africa had about 1,700 with its much bigger population.

She pointed out that the figures showed a big gap in the movie sector, particularly with the potential of making great returns investing in cinemas.

“The goal for ACS was simple, while we are trying to raise quality films, we also need a marketplace for the content developed because without a marketplace, we can talk and talk and talk. 

“And as  Africans, we are one people, so we have to come to a point where we have the marketplace that we can all access,” she said. 

In his address, the Board Chairman of the National Film Authority, David Dontoh, emphasised the positive waves of the summit.

According to him, the ACS was a worthy project that had come to document Africa’s history, culture, people and everything African. 

“African Cinema Summit is something that has come to document our history, our culture and everything about us so that when we are not around, the seed we are sowing today will germinate for succeeding generations to know and understand that there lived in this country some people who took particular interest in the development of the industry,” he noted.

Last year, the inaugural Africa Cinema Summit brought together representatives from 20 African countries.

The event facilitated critical discussions on the cinema landscape in Africa, focusing on exploring and tailoring opportunities to suit the unique characteristics of each geographic location across the continent.

In line with this year’s theme, ACS aims to consolidate the progress made in the African cinema industry, driving growth in quality local content production and consumption.

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The move was applauded by co-founder and former Group Managing Director, Filmhouse Group, Moses Babatope, at the launch. 

He disclosed that a number of participants at last year’s summit lauded its impact as players in the African film industry.

“I want to celebrate the Africa Cinema Summit last year. Speaking to a number of international players before and after the event, it was indeed a world-class event put up by the National Film Authority,” he said. 

Investment

Film has long been a powerful tool for promoting African culture, documenting history, and showcasing unique stories. 

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The ACS recognises this significance and seeks to trumpet Africa's rich cultural heritage to the world. 

The Country Manager for Silverbird Ghana, Funmi Onuma, said the above could be achieved with quality content and called for both private and government support for the film sector.

“It’s expensive to produce good content and it’s also expensive to market them, so let's support the cinema agenda. By investing in cinemas and supporting local content production, we can preserve our cultural legacy for future generations,” she said. 

The inaugural ACS in 2023 set the stage for this year's event, convening representatives from 20 African countries to facilitate critical discussions on the cinema landscape in Africa.

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The success of the maiden edition highlighted the potential of the summit to shape the future of African cinema and stakeholders in the African film industry eagerly await this year’s event in October. 

As the continent's film industry continues to evolve, Ms Asante is confident the ACS will play a vital role in promoting African culture, driving investment in cinemas, and supporting local content production. 

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