THE Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi has said that government will build a film village in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital.
“I am happy to announce to you that the government has taken a very solid decision to build a film village in Kumasi, government appreciates the effort you are all making in the industry and is ever ready to support you, “ he said.
Dr Ziblim Iddi was speaking at the opening of the fourth edition of the Blackstar International Film Festival (BSIFF) at the Alliance Francaise in Accra on Tuesday, August 20.
“I am so excited to be here and I would use this opportunity to congratulate Juliet and the team for bringing us and sustaining the Blackstar International Film Festival. The festival has come to stay.
“We are in the 'Year of Return' and this festival takes centre stage of the 'Year of Return'. Our strength is in our cultural heritage and this festival will put culture at the centre of tourism. I will encourage all Ghanaians to participate in the festival,” he said.
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Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi with Juliet Asante
In her welcome address, President and founder of the BSIFF, Juliet Yaa Asantewaa Asante said her team was excited to welcome 28 countries into Ghana and to the festival.
“A year comes by quickly. Last year, we explored in our minds how film can be a tool for national development, imagining how it can serve as a tool for opening up employment opportunities for the many young people who are interested in the film sector and working all manner of jobs on a film set.
“We imagined that films could bring in the needed foreign investment into our country, Ghana, if the environment were made attractive to encourage more co-productions to happen.
"We touched on how this could go further to helping sell and brand Ghana to bring in more tourists into the country who will also spend hard currency,” she said.
“The good news is that, not only did we imagine, we got to work. In collaboration with the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) and with the help of our advocacy partner, BUSAC, we set out to help define a clear path towards making this dream of positioning Ghana as a film hub, a reality.
Actress Yvonne Nelson and singer, Irene Logan were at the opening of the BSIFF
According to Juliet Asante, first on the list of their achievements was a commitment to show Ghanaian content at all Ghanaian missions around the world.
“The Blackstar International Film Institute, the mothering body of our film festival is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Film and Television Institute to achieve this.
“I am very pleased to say that filmmakers have magnanimously agreed to provide content for free to Ghana government to help roll out this great initiative,” she said.
“We want to take the opportunity to congratulate the 'Year of Return' team for doing a good job and bringing in all the stars, but how about going a step further and inviting them to shoot scenes and films here and working with the locals to transfer skills and grow the sector?”
“We are happy to have the support of Ghana Commercial Bank for this year’s festival and we go further to throw a challenge to the banking sector to work with the film sector to develop a facility targeted at industry,” she stated.
The opening film, Solvable was screened to the delight of guests. Some actors who made it to the opening ceremony included Akofa Edjeani, Oscar Provencal and Fiifi Coleman.
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Miss Ghana 2019, Rebecca Kwabi with her second runner-up, Deborah Opoku Sarfo
Singer Stephanie Benson was also there
A section of the audience at the opening of the BSIFF
The event was interspersed with cultural displays