Africa Cinema Summit opens in Accra with a call for African filmmakers to tell African stories
African filmmakers have been challenged to appreciate and promote Africa’s rich culture and stories through films at the opening of the maiden edition of Africa Cinema Summit in Accra yesterday.
The call which was made by various speakers at the summit yesterday has become necessary with the growing Africa youth population and the need for the world to know the abundance and diversity of the African story.
In his submission, Mantse Aryeequaye, a creative consultant and organiser of the Chale Wote festival encouraged African Filmmakers not to look for external validation by promoting other cultures at the detriment of their own.
He noted that Africa had a long standing culture dating back to many centuries, with many stories to be told but its filmmakers have shied away from telling the organic African story just to meet up with an accepted “global standards”.
He was very confident that taking up such projects would change the narrative and increase the fortunes of African films with distinct stories.
“The question is, ‘what do want to tell the world?’ We grew up watching the Kungfus in Chines films, Blockbuster American films and Indian movies which projected certain messages pf one overcoming adversity.
“Interestingly, Africans have been authentic in our storytelling. In Ghana for instance, the number of films that have been relevant in the 30s are still the relevant ones like Kwaw Ansah’s Heritage Africa.
“Africa has a lot of mysterious, compelling stories. A lot of our mythologies are unique but somehow, we don’t want to tell those stories but we want to look elsewhere. For instance, some of our groundbreaking stories from Africa shouldn’t be about violence or shaped around Hollywood.
“We are surrounded by everything we can make films but we are not taking advantage of the opportunities,” he stated.
The three day Africa Cinema Summit which started yesterday is a means for stakeholders in the industry value chain across the world and particularly Africa, to discuss challenges and explore potential and opportunities in the African cinema space. (Read President Akufo-Addo to grace first Africa Cinema Summit in Ghana next week)
The first day saw a number of industry persons lead a panel discussion on relevant key areas such as “Fostering collaborations among African countries, “ Role of the Youth in Cinema Development in Africa” and “ Youth –Centric Film Marketing: Strategies for the Digital Age”.
Among the key speakers for day one were Moses Babatope, Co-Founder/Group Deputy Managing Director for FilmHouse Group; Carl Ampah, National Program Officer for Culture (UNESCO); filmmaker, Nana Asihene, Tony Asankomah, Founder of GHMoviefreak.com; Ama Ablorde, Filmaker; Nowe Segun-Ojo, Communications Manager, FilmHouse Group; and filmmaker Majeed Suhuyini.
The others are Nana Kwame Obiri-Tete, Sales and Marketing Lead, Silverbird Cinemas, Ghana; and Adesola Hane Ade-Unigbe, Entertainment Content Partnership lead, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tiktok.
The summit is being organised by National Film Authority (NFA) in partnership with Filmhouse Group and Silverbird Cinemas, Ghana.
In an earlier address by Juliet Asante, Chief Executive Officer of National Film Authority (NFA), she noted that Africa boasts of the largest youth population and yet the continent has failed to as storytellers and story lovers to get them into the cinemas.
“This is part of a cinema agenda strategy by the National Film Authority of Ghana to work to impact the cinema space with a pan African approach,” she stated.
In their respective addresses, the Country manager for Silverbird Cinemas, Ghana, Funmi Onuma; Product Manager, Filmmakers Mart; and Moses Babatope, Co-founder of FilmHouse group pledged their commitment to the growth of Africa cinema.