In the past few weeks, the movie industry In Ghana and the nation at large has been projected in a positive light globally with the announcement that the sequel to American comedy film, Girls Trip, starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Tiffany Haddish will be shot here.
The news, in addition to the revelation by British actor, Idris Elba, to construct a film studio in Ghana on his recent visit, seems to have boosted the faith of players in the industry to anticipate better days for the sector.
But while the news coming in offer lots of hope of turning the fortunes of the sector around, the CEO of National Film Authority (NFA), Juliet Asante, is entreating players in the industry to adequately prepare themselves for the upcoming opportunities.
Speaking with Graphic Showbiz recently, Ms Asante said every player in the sector has the responsibility to improve their skills set.
She was emphatic that it would be the only means by which they would be relevant when such international projects take off.
“We all have responsibilities at the table so the local set have to improve their skills. People have to upgrade their skills set and I don’t mean only actors but every member of the production team.”
“We need to train, read and educate ourselves to take advantage of this. The presence of these foreign film productions requires some level of expertise and we need to constantly work on ourselves to meet the standards when the opportunity comes,” she said.
Three years ago, NFA started the Cinema Development Agenda with the focus of pushing the gains of films from Ghana.
The project made significant strides in October last year when the NFA signed a strategic partnership deal with VOX Cinemas, one of the largest film distributors in the Middle East, to distribute and show Ghanaian films in cinemas in the region.
As a result, three Ghanaian films, Single and Searching, Borga and Terminus were premiered at the Nakheel Mall in Dubai and subsequently in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.
According to Ms Asante, the Cinema Development Agenda alongside many other fruitful projects that the authority worked on behind the scenes, created the fertile grounds for Ghana to be selected as the preferred destination for the likes of Idris Elba and the production crew of Girls Trip.
“As a National Film Authority, we have been working hard for over three years and now yielding very good results and everyone is happy about it.”
“But obviously, what we have received in the past has been a lot of bashing for this same strategy that is now bearing fruits.”
“However, we need support of government, stakeholders and the industry to succeed and also they need to trust us in what we are doing.”
“Also, investors need to fund the sector because this is a very lucrative industry. However, because of lack of financial support, returns on investments haven’t been clear for many people but all of those things are being worked out to make the sector more attractive,” she added.
In his submission during a visit to President Nana Akufo Addo, the Beast of No Nation actor, Idris Elba, commended the NFA for working tirelessly to put together a very comprehensive plan to propel Ghana as a film and content hub.