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Ghana looks to Malta to revive movie industry

Author: Enimil Ashon
Just before the signing,  Mr Daniel Xuereb (left) makes a point. On the right is the Ghanaian delegation.
Just before the signing, Mr Daniel Xuereb (left) makes a point. On the right is the Ghanaian delegation.

Ghana's yearning for a return to its golden days of filmmaking has landed it in Malta; and help seems likely, albeit in downstream operations.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, led by Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with QPM Limited, a Maltese investments, enterprise support and project management consortium, to provide a framework for co-operation in the sector.

The MOU was witnessed by Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe.

The Maltese Islands - Malta, Gozo and Comino - have been home to Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator, U-571, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy as well as prestigious BBC and ITV dramas and sitcoms.

Per the agreement, QPM would use its muscle, experience in the film industry and negotiating skills to promote Ghana in Hollywood as a film location.

It will also make possible the exchange of crews.

In an interview, Director of Programmes and Projects at the National Commission on Culture, Socrates Safo told Showbiz he was optimistic that a breakthrough was imminent.

“Talking about sourcing for productions from Hollywood, these people are in the system and they know who and who in Hollywood are shooting or planning productions”.

A trained film maker himself, Mr Safo urged the government to use this opportunity to create the enabling environment for filming.

“One production coming to Ghana is a lot of money into the economy. No Hollywood production will cost less than US$5million, all spent in Ghana on set construction, hotels, rentals, car hire and artiste fees, among others.

He cited the example of Roots whose production and international release advertised the Gambia on a scale unequalled by any other effort by that country.

“It’s about time we advertised Ghana as a filming location. We should produce show reels of locations in Ghana as well as handbills to drop around at international film festivals at which we can make presentations to producers and the international media. Here is where we need budgetary support.”

In a telephone interview on the subject, actor, David Dontoh, asked: “What don’t we have that can attract film producers to shoot in Ghana?

“Within Ghana, there are different geographical zones –Sahel Savanna and Equatorial Savanna.

“We have the mountain ranges and game parks. For anything on water, we have the Volta Lake and the whole Gulf of Guinea” he added..