I get truly upset when I hear my sisters and brothers in Nigeria say that they taught GhanaianS how to make movies. I am here to present certain facts.
Nigeria did not teach Ghana how to make movies. That is a big bold historical lie. one of the first Ghanaian movies I watched was Hamile, the Ghanaian version of Hamlet (the Shakespeare play) directed by Terry Bishop and produced by the them Ghana Film Industry Corporation, now called GAMA Films. That movie was made in 1964.
The came Kwaw Ansah and his film Africa, shooting on film, high end movies like heritage Africa, Love Brewed in African pots to name a few. This was in 1981-1989. The film industry began to flourish especially in 1990-1998. below is the link to a book called Fontomfrom, which lists all the Ghana films of the 1990s.
A list of titles I can easily remember here and I will list at least 50 before I end this article:
Meba (my child)
shoe shine boy
mama mia italiano
a heart of Gold
I want her blood
Kukurantumi, the road to accra
for better for worse
cult of Alala
harvest at 17
the haunted House
Step dad (me yari, maabo dam)
All for you
bride of death
for better for worse
house of pain
the lost stool
Mataa, Our missing children. ( i still sing that song!)
matters of the heart
A mothers revenge
matters of the heart
dza gbele (till death)
no one knows
Noise of Silence
Out of sight out of love
the reward for effect
lt me add another 10
when the going gets tough
when the heart decides
who killed nancy
whew. memories. So many memories from recollecting these titles. Pay attention to the titles. Real, beautiful, attractive titles. I will tell you how the Ghana industry collapsed.
The Nigerian industry did not start making movies until late 1960, Ola Balogun and co, but they did not succeed. Not until 1980s did a proper broadcasting network grow wings in Nigeria. Then kenneth Nnebue broke records by making and releasing Living in Bondage in 1992!! before the Nigerian film industry properly started.
Nigerians are businessmen. When they grew confident in their filmmaking, the next thing was to broadened their market. Ghana was making successful movies so why not Ghana? In 1998, they arrived in Ghana. One of the first movies we saw then was When The Sun Sets. A very compelling story. More fashionable, more daring. different. I must also say, about 60% better acting.
A very bad trait in Ghana is the chase after new things. Ghana people are very quick to forget the old and run after the new. Shun van Vicker for Majid, shun Majd for John Dumelo. Look at Nigeria. Tonto Dike, Ini edo, Monalisa chinda, Uche Jombo have nothing on Genevieve Nnaji, Stella Damascus, Kate Henshaw or Omotola. The later women will always outsell the former. No question about that.
This does not apply in Ghana. so when the Nigerian films came flaunting the sexy Omotola and Liz Benson, things shifted. We run after the Nigerian movies. The taste for Ghana made was lost. The Nigerians started to import the Pascaline Edwards and Kwame Owusu Ansahs into Nigeria. After that, Zack Orji moved to Ghana to make The Web. Our doom was sealed.
Soon, Ghana producers and other class actors by 2000 started to take the back seat. The Nigerians come with their own crew and their own cast. No market or even money to make Movies anymore. People like Socrates Safo who are determined started to make ultra low budget films. A far cry from his mega hit movie of the 1990s Ghost Tears or even step-dad, which till today has earned a fashion style for hair called maa bodam. (large rasta braids). Suddenly, he could only make Hot Fork and sex sex movies to grab the market attention again.
No one is listening though. Frank Rajah is fooling them all with his useless crap.
Any way. Venus films has to be thanked for resurrecting the industry in 2002. Single handedly, he managed to infuse Ghana Nigeria talent and then moved on to purely Ghana talent. by 2005, some independent filmmakers began to emerge. Ghana syndrome. We like new things. We started to pay attention to our movies again.
Then comes Shirley Frimpong Manso Emmanuel Appea and Leila Djansi. Once again, we have arrived. We like new things. Shirley brings new faces, John Appea brings new stories and Leila Djansi brings high budget, white people and Hollywood stars. We like new things.
Its sad the old actors have been washed away. Sandrah Nortey, Irene Opare, Akofa Asiedu, Fred Amugi, no one uses them anymore. No one wants to watch them. Did I say we like new things? That explains the ridiculous fashion gimmick Frank Rajah throws at us and we swallow hook line and sinker.
Nigeria should stop licking its wounds. They destroyed the Ghana film industry, now, we are taking it back. What we need to do is look for a unified body. Form an actors and producers guild that bridges national gaps and work as a united front and make good films.
Both nations have great potential! Stop behaving like teenagers. (although you are).
PSI to those who are saying Nollywood created the world recognition. let me also educate you that, Werner Herzog was making movies in ghana and with other germans in the 80s.
What created world recognition for nollywood is the fact that, there was no longer any competition around the 2000s and that was the time the world became a global village with internet, cell phones and importing local films into the diaspora.