By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
The state of filmmaking in Ghana has not been encouraging and uplifting in the last couple of years but you hear stories of Peter Sedufia and his resolve to chart such an innovative approach in film making and you feel some sense of optimism.
Sedufia has been in the business less than a decade but his influence and expertise in the field is impressive and being felt not only in Ghana, but across the shores of Africa. He deserves plaudits and the least we can do, is shout out his achievements.
The young film maker is currently shooting his new movie at a location in the Volta Region called Dabala. What’s intriguing and most exciting about this project is the fact that, Sedufia constructed a film village – building over 100 structures on the plain land and taking a crew and cast numbering close to 300 to the location for this movie.
A True Filmmaker
In our dispensation of movie making, where anything goes and standards are hardly adhered to; Sedufia could have chosen to follow the norm – to use whatever is available to shoot. But that’s actually not him; he is built differently.
For his ability to create such a novelty in Ghanaian film making by any local filmmaker, his ability to brace against all odds, take such risk and make such a bold move – he represents a true filmmaker that knows his stuff.
This tells of a gentleman who has a vision and wants to execute regardless of the challenges and such boldness, ingenuity and bravado are hardly seen on this side of the planet.
Sedufia, in his short span in filmmaking has already won laurels for such exemplary work. His 2 movies, ‘Keteke’ and ‘SideChic Gang’ have annexed several nominations and awards in the last 3 years. He won ‘Best Screenplay’ at the 2019 FESPACO for ‘Keteke’ and his lead actor, Adjetey Anang also won AMVCA as ‘Best Actor’ and ‘SideChic Gang’ notched several nominations at the AMAA.
It is indisputable that he is already up for greatness and with the requisite resources, tools, motivation, encouragement and most importantly, the support, he would elevate his brand, Ghanaian films and filmmaking to higher grounds.
He Made Nonsense of Film Village Banter
Clearly, Peter Sedufia is more of walk than talk – a bane in our entertainment industry, where we relish more talk than the actual work.
In the last month and still pending, there’s been such cacophony and rhubarb over the establishment of a film village. A group, spearheaded by stakeholders in ‘Kumawood’ are agitating for the Government-espoused film village to be set up in the Ashanti Region, after the news that Government actually intends to fix the village in the Eastern part of the country.
The pressure has been intense to the point where, representatives from the Government have come to announce that indeed, 2 film villages would be set in both regions.
In my rejection of the argument to sit the film village in Ashanti by all means, I stated that among other reasons, that, a film village can be set anywhere in the country – so long as there is availability of land, good weather and money.
Peter Sedufia just killed the varied argument that a film village should go to a place where there is abundance of actors and directors and a place that is well known for film making. He has shown with ample evidence that, a film village can be set up anywhere.
But wait, there’s more;
He intends, after the shooting of his movie, to make the village available to his fellow Ghanaian filmmakers to use in shooting their respective films or hand over to the people of Dabala.
Support Is Still Key
Peter Sedufia revealed in an interview that he had originally intended for the film to be carried out in 2018, but financial hurdles forced him to shelve it for some time and focus on other projects.
He told www.enewsgh.com; “In 2017, after the release of my debut feature length film ‘Keteke,’ I got the inspiration to make a film where I have an entire own world and community created for it. The plan was to film in 2018, but, I couldn’t for the lack of resources and funding.”
One can just imagine the sort of resources and investment Peter had to inject to attain the plain land, construct over 100 structures, transport and accommodate a personnel close to 300 for the duration of the shoot.
Film making and especially the setting up of a village to execute a movie comes with a cost, and without any form of succor, from Government and Corporate firms, it is extremely torrid.
The 2014 Nigerian movie, ‘October1’ which was loosely based on situations that shrouded the country’s independence, was shot with a $2million (N330million) budget. The film got sponsorship from the Lagos State Government, Toyota Nigeria, Elizade Motors, Guinness and Sovereign Trust Insurance, all in Nigeria. The movie made profit of over N100million and became the second highest grossing movie ever in Nigeria.
Another high grossing Nigerian movie, ‘76’, based on the civil war in Nigeria, was released in 2016 and the film stock used for filming, along with other equipment used for production, were subsidized by the Nigerian Film Corporation.
We Need More Peter Sedufias
With the level of confidence, knowledge, risk and business acumen being exhibited by Peter Sedufia, he cannot fail, especially if he garners the well-needed support from all quarters; from Government, corporate world and the media.
We need 9 more of a Sedufia to alter the narrative, take situations by the horns with pragmatic action and project the plot that a Ghanaian is capable.
By setting up a village to shoot his close to 2-hour feature film, Sedufia is employing lots of people, actors and crew from Accra and in the Dabala region. He is placing the spotlight in the community, before, during and after shooting wraps. In a single venture, he is solving nagging problems of unemployment, commerce, local tourism and is bringing live to the town of Dabala.
Most importantly, he is showing that, with the necessary support, we can use film to not only sell and tell our stories, but to also quell or curtail many economic –related complications.