Ghana hosts first Africa cinema summit in November
The nation is to host a maiden Africa Cinema Summit in November, this year, the first of its kind in Africa.
The two-day event will commence on Tuesday, November 14, to Thursday, November 16, 2023, at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra.
The summit falls within the broader agenda and objectives of the National Film Authority (NFA) to highlight opportunities for cinema growth and the required roles of players in the sector.
It will provide a platform for stakeholders in the industry value chain across the world to discuss challenges and explore potential and opportunities in the African cinema space.
The event is premised on two pillars — producing more local content and increasing screen numbers in Africa.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NFA and convener of the summit, Juliet Yaa Asantewaa Asante, made this known at a meeting with the Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd (GCGL), Ato Afful, in Accra.
Present at the meeting were the Editor, Graphic, Theophilus Yartey; the Director, Marketing and Sales, GCGL, Franklin Sowa; a Staff Writer with Graphic Showbiz, Gifty Owusu-Amoah, and some staff of the Communications Unit of the NFA.
Ms Asante said the pan-African approach of the summit would impact the African cinema industry by spearheading conversations on the need for Africans to tell their rich history, culture and stories through films.
“Africans are storytellers and story lovers and if we don’t find a way to get the largest youth population into the cinemas, Africa will not be the only loser; major businesses may collapse and a great culture of going to the cinema may be lost to the world forever, depriving us of the magic of cinema,” she said.
In the 2020 UNESCO Report on African cinema, it said Africa has 1,700 cinemas serving a population of over 1.3 billion. This means that one cinema screen per 787,402 people, making it the most under-served continent in terms of movie theatres.
As such, the summit which will bring together major players and decision-makers such as government officials, film authorities and commissions from various African countries would explore ways to address challenges in the industry.
Activities lined up for the summit include a cocktail and networking session, film screening, conferences and exhibitions, awards night and studio presentations.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, will be the special guest. Speakers would include Juliet Asante, Moses Babatope, Co-founder of Film House Group; Funmi Onuma, Country Manager, Silverbird Cinemas; John Schreiner, Senior Vice-President, Theatre Development, Imax Corporation; Kene Okwuosa, CEO Filmhouse Group; Marie Lora-Mungai, Angel Investor; Daniel Damah, Producer, and Ope Ajayi, President of Cinema Exhibitors Association of Ghana.
Others are Motheo Matsau, Deputy CEO, Ster-Kinekor Theatres; Rob Arthur, founding partner, Entertainment Solution Services Ltd; Chinazo Onuzo, Filmaker, Inkblot Studios; Jotham Micah, East Africa Marketing Manager, Century Cinemax; Oliver Dock, Founder, Whitebench, and Khalil Staily, Head, Cinemanext Africa & Middle East.
Mr Afful pledged the company’s commitment to support the summit and said the initiative would help push the Brand Ghana agenda.
He said although the world was developing a strong taste for African creativity, the continent was unable to meet the demand.
Mr Afful said film was a strong channel in telling the Africa story that could help change the skewed mindset of people, particularly the youth about the continent.
“Film appeals universally and transcends boundaries. It is a good platform for the international community to value Africa since the market is appreciative of African themes in fashion, films and other units of the creative industry.
“With a mandate to push the Brand Ghana agenda, Graphic Communications Group Ltd will lend its full support to this summit,” he added.