The organization of the Golden Movie Awards last weekend stoked a fiery debate on critical issues concerning the movie industry in Ghana and it was all instigated by actor/producer, Yvonne Nelson, who was gutted by the what she called, ‘a show of pump and pageantry at the red carpet on the movie awards when such effort could be channeled to making the industry better.’
It was quite interesting reading jabs from the likes of Yvonne Nelson, Prince Dave Osei and Eddie Nartey, who chastised other actors who dressed and showed up at the red carpet event and it was even more intriguing to read the ‘clap back’ from the likes of actor, Nana Akua Addo and fashionista, Oscar Doe.
In all the rhubarb, it became apparent that, some commentators made some strong points, other assertions were misplaced while some were just in the mood to call out others.
Yes, The Industry Is Failing
It is no secret that the Ghanaian movie industry has teetered to the brink of total collapse for the past years. Many movie stakeholders have jettisoned the trade, opting for other viable business while the few who are still into film making have been floundering to produce movies.
The number of productions have reduced drastically, the relevance of films in Ghana has taken a dip, movie directors are finding solace in television series and of course, the actors are tinkering with theater while some use red carpet events to make themselves seen.
It is interesting to note the ratio of Ghanaian movies premiered at the Silver Bird Cinemas in a month, a sharp contrast to what transpired some years ago when movies had to go through stringent requirements in order to make the cut. Now, the Cinemas are doing more comedy shows than movie premieres. Times are hard!
Three years ago, some actors, especially the female actors, decided to take matters into their own hands and tried to produce and star in their own movies. The system was almost inundated with movies from Yvonne Nelson, Kafui Danku, Lydia Forson, Bibi Bright, Yvonne Okoro and Zynell Zuh among others, but today, the situation is different.
The crux of the matter is this; all facets of filmmaking in Ghana – production, promotion/marketing and distribution are on ‘lockdown’.
Attack On Golden Movie Awards Unfair
After the telecast of the Golden Movie Awards, Yvonne Nelson went on a tirade, sending out a couple of brash tweets, with one seemingly directed at the organizers of the award show.
She tweeted “Waiting for the day there’s no production to nominate since that has skipped them!”
Firstly, Yvonne should be appreciative of the efforts of the organizers of the scheme. These guys, in an industry that lacks support for events, have been able to gather resources to boost local tourism and put Ghana on the map by bringing the rest of Africa to the shores of Ghana, the same way Nigeria takes the rest of Africa to AMAAs and AMVCAs.
Secondly, if there were no productions, they will be no awards. The awards is there because there are productions, so, that argument is flawed.
Awards are good and what Golden Movie Awards is doing is to award and encourage the few who are still ‘grinding’ to produce movies, striving to give directors, actors and other crew members work to do and to give movie fanatics something to enjoy.
‘Slay Queens’ Not The Problem
The coinage ‘Slay Queen’ emanates from the female celebrities, especially the actors who impress on various red carpet events for major shows in the country.
On the Slay Queens, Yvonne Nelson wrote; “Listen, let’s put in same energy to bring back the dead industry rather than slay on carpets cuz truthfully y’all know there’s no work! This is meant for those with foresight! Those who don’t only wake up and think about slaying but about getting Ghanaian content out there!”
How do you the blame the actress who has been nominated for an award or invited as an award presenter walking on the red carpet over the lack of jobs in the industry? How do you blame the actress who walks the red carpet over the failure to get Ghanaian content out there?
It is not as though, the so-called Slay Queens organize meaningless events in their backyard, fix red carpets and ‘slay’ – no! They are invited by event organizers to either pick award, present award or just grace the occasion. How is that a crime?
Most importantly, these actresses must stay relevant to attract opportunities and endorsement deals and if making appearances on red carpets serve that purpose when the movie industry doesn’t, why not make it a viable venture?
The Problem Of The Industry
The major problem facing the film industry has nothing to do with award schemes and actresses minding their own business on red carpets. It is an issue of funding!
The Ghanaian film industry needs massive funding to stay buoyant and that all-important revenue injection ought to come from government, corporate firms and individual investors.
The core elements needed to make a film happen are the script, actors and the location among others but these element need a budget but unfortunately, Ghanaian filmmakers have faced the daunting task of scraping together enough money to get their film off the ground.
Financing is an important (and often dreaded) aspect of the making of any movie. Without money, films can’t exist. Films are generally not cheap to produce and with all costs of production having to be paid up front as they are incurred, a film producer needs to have access to a significant amount of money in order to commence production – and in Ghana presently, producers do not have it.
‘Nollyfund’ Is Helping The Nigerian Industry
The issue of lack of funding in the film industry is prevalent in major industries including Hollywood and Nollywood. In Nigeria, some corporate firms are seeing the potential of the industry and are willing to help with funding.
The Bank of Industry (BOI) in Nigeria has developed a special Product Program called ‘NollyFund’ under which Nigeria’s leading movie producers receive financial support to produce quality films and screen them through various platforms of movie distribution available both in Nigeria and on the international market.
The Bank did set up a NollyFund Implementation Advisory Group to critically review all the film scripts and associated budgets submitted to the Bank by movie producers and make technical recommendations to the Bank for credit appraisal and subsequent approval.
Thus far, ‘NollyFund’ has helped the production of six or more quality movies from Nollywood, which have all attained some form of international recognition. That’s the way to go!
By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo