BSIFF honours Grace Nortey at Gala Awards

By: Jayne Buckman-Owoo
Juliet Grace Nortey BSIFF
BSIFF awards statuettes
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VETERAN actress, Grace Nortey, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the third Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF) Awards Gala held at the Accra International Conference Centre on Friday, August 17.

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Though Grace Nortey was not present to pick her award, a citation said she had played a vital role in the development of the local film industry.

Other receipients of the Yaa Asantewaa Film Awards at the BSIFF were African Rising - Watu Wote, Women in Film - Back to Natural, Best Documentary - DNA, Best Documentary - Rescue List and Best Feature Film - Cleft Lip. Others were Best Short Film - Little Fiel and Best Animation - Kalabanda.

The non-competitive category, which comes with an award money of $250 went to Ghana To You, Corruption, Vagabonds and Survivors.

Giving her address, the Founding President of the Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF), Juliet Yaa Asantewaa Asante, urged the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who who was represented by the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku, to pay more attention to the movie scene.

Juliet Asante is the Founding President of BSIFF

"Mr President, now imagine that this happens on your next flight, as you go through the list of films you can watch, you see the poster of Rescue List or Both Saved or Corruption or Ghana For You or Vagabonds, all films that made it through this year's festival. Or even my own film, Silver Rain.

"You realise that the list of films you just saw on the entertainment menu are all from Ghana. Mr President, you make a mental note of the number of people who worked on these films. It soon hits you that film actually employs a lot of people," she said.

"So what if Ghana had a policy that mandated our local channels to invest and transmit a minimum of 50 percent local content for instance?

"What this would do is that suddenly, the networks will not have a choice but to come up with innovative ideas to generate content to work with local producers.

"This will mean that more productions will be done locally which will create jobs for many young people.

"Mr President, we need data research, we need tax rebate, film treaties, a holding body for the sector like the film authority since we no longer have the Ghana Film Corporation," she continued.

"We need Ghana to sell Ghana at every point. The sector can provide content to show in the lobbies of Ghanaian embassies worldwide," Juliet further stated.

In a speech read on his behalf by Mrs Catherine Afeku, President Akufo-Addo, said he felt very much at home because at a point he wanted to become a film director.

"What defines a nation is its arts and culture, ours as a people is a story worth telling. I commend the Black Star International Film Festival(BSIFF) for instituting the Yaa Asantewaa Film Awards, congratulations to all the award winners," she said.

For her part, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture said her ministry is very much in support of the Black Star International Film Festival. "In our 2019 budget, there will be provision for the BSIFF, we want to see a robust film industry," she said.

Rev. Chris Hesse gave a history of film in Ghana much to the delight of guests.

(Photos by Abeiku Inkoom)

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