Gone are the days when the likes of Shirley Frimpong Manso of Sparrow Produtions, Leila Djansi, Abdul Sallam Mumuni, Kwaw Ansah, Hajia Meizongo of Silverline Films among other English language producers were actively involved in the film sector churning out movies.
In those days, these giant movie makers and their producing houses frequently hosted press screening of their new movies and subsequently grand premieres to outdoor those movies.
Also in those days, producing movies was seen by many as some sort of competition among the movie makers in Ghana.
However, that trend is different lately. If the right word to use for that is not ‘dead’, then I’m sure we can settle on ‘dying’.
What we saw in the past few years and what we are seeing now clearly speaks of an industry which is struggling not only for attention but also for well defined policies and directions.
Below are words from Abdul Sallam Mumuni of Venus Film Production disagreeing with everyone else including his compatriots in the movie industry that the English language movies are dying.
He said the industry is not dying, however it has just moved to a different level. Which level?
According to him, “The industry has moved from VCD level. If you are depending on VCD then it means the industry is dead for you but if you are depending on the new level that the industry has taken, then the industry is not dead.
“If indeed, the industry is dead then why am I investing? I am still investing into the movie industry and I’m shooting movies.
“Now you have to put your movie on the Internet for people to watch. That’s a new step the industry has taken. You can put your movie on Mnet’s Boxoffice for people to pay to watch. If you have a good movie, you can put it there and promote it.
“I feel the industry is not like what we used to have which was depending on VCD. It is not like that anymore. It has been taken to a different level and if you want to follow that level then you have to shoot a very good movie.”
He added that “Now we have over 50 TV channels and all of them air good contents. So, even if you buy a good movie on your DVD, you can’t watch it because there are a lot of content showing on these channels. Hence the sale of the VCDs or DVDs have dropped. If you don’t have any plan then you can’t survive in the industry,” he told NewsOne.
His points also confirm the fact that clearly the current happening in their sector and in general amounts to an industry which is not only disorganized but very confusing and needs urgent attention.
How vibrant is the industry? Host of the popular TV show, “Thank God Is Friday”, KSM, has over the past few years always been on the issue saying that, Ghana doesn’t have a film industry despite the huge interest in it.
KSM recently said on Hitz FM that Ghana doesn’t have an industry as he defined what an industry is.
“An industry is well structured and well-coordinated when there is more to benefit from it. Yes, there are people who have been engaged in the business of film, people have dabbled in film, so I think there is a film business, not a movie industry.”
“In a very well structured industry, we have the writers, directors, distributors and those who basically fund the film, but Ghana is like a one-man crusade. So we have a loose association of people doing films here and there but I do not think this qualifies to be called a movie industry.”
“The problem is not the money, it is the fact that we don’t have an active film viewing base to support it for anybody to throw their money in it because chances are they will not get their money back. People who invest are looking to grow their money and not to do charity work.”
This is not the first time that the King of Primetime is sharing such sentiments. He has always been vocal about it and said it anytime the opportunity presents itself.
A lot of things may have moved KSM to share such sentiments and some practices happening now can allude to the things he said.
About two months ago, I found myself in a meeting with two new movie producers who had shot a movie and are ready to get it premiered before the end of the year.
I said new because they are fresh entrants into the movie making industry, though they have each come out with a movie.
Each of them complained bitterly about not having a date slot at the Silverbird Cinemas to premiere their movies.
The monopoly is there for Silverbird to enjoy because they don’t have any competition whatsoever. Until the recent introduction of the Global Cinemas by Global Media Alliance, Silverbird Cinemas was enjoying all the monopoly. It will take some time for that to be broken though.
The reason for their inability to get slots is that, the date slots have been exhausted. This means that, a producer who wants to outdoor their movies should be thinking of doing so next year, 2016.
As the conversation continues, it was revealed that, there are actually two practices in this date acquiring saga.
I always believed one only goes to the Silverbird to secure a date to premiere one’s movie when it is already shot.
Surprisingly that’s not what happens. People go for dates even when they have not thought of going on set to shoot a movie.
The other practice is where Ghanaian movie producers, instead of shooting their own movies will go and buy rights of a movie in Nigeria, sometimes change the title and acquire a date to premiere it.
These unfortunate practices prevent producers who have gone through difficult rudiments of shooting movies to hassle for dates.
I believe these are just a few of the things helping to kill the English movie sector and gives KSM the audacity to share such sentiments about the sector. Clearly we are all waiting for the Film Bill to be passed into Law.