Ghana’s diverse and dynamic arts and cultural heritage can be safely described as one of its richest and most important resources. This sector has the capacity to generate significant economic and social benefits for the nation. Equally important, but less understood, is the sector’s potential to create a vibrant and dynamic local movie industry to contribute significantly to the economy of the country.
However, evidence abound to suggest that the movie industry in Ghana is being inundated with foreign films particularly from Hollywood (America), Bollywood (India) and Nollywood (Nigeria) largely due to poor regulatory mechanisms and liberalized trade policies leading to the detriment of the growth and development of the local Ghanaian movie industry.
Nowhere else can producer from neighboring countries shoot movies within her boundaries without recourse to the laws pertaining in the country. Various stakeholders in the movie industry in Ghana have tried to enforce certain initiatives aimed at insulating their interest in the industry from over-exploitation by foreigners. However, the enforcement of these initiatives have their limitations because they are not backed by any national law.
The importance of the film industry, in Ghana, can be examined from three levels – the social, political and economic levels. At the social level, this industry plays an important role in communicating ideas, information and ideology. Politically, this industry provides a forum for debate and discussion as well as information, which is essential for citizen’s participation in community life.
On the economic front, the movie industry generates hundreds of thousands of cedis and creates several jobs throughout the country. The movie industry generates jobs directly in production and post-production fields, through casting and crewing agencies, in equipment-hiring companies, through set design and manufacturing companies and prop suppliers. Jobs are also created indirectly in supporting industries such as the hospitality industry in catering firms and hotels, and the transport industry.
A number of trends are evident in the global film front that affects the Ghanaian film industry. These include increased distribution avenues due to the advent of digital and satellite technology, which have created a greater number of channels on which movies are aired.
One effect of the increased distribution channels has been a fragmentation of audiences as they now have greater choices regarding the programs they choose to watch.
Furthermore, current legislations on the Ghanaian movie industry seem to be obsolete and fail to reflect current trends and needs of the Ghana film industry in the light of technological advancement and other geo-political as well as socio-economic and cultural dynamics.
The Ghana Actors’ Guild (GAG) is contributing to the government’s efforts at passing appropriate legislation to regulate the film industry in Ghana and, consequently, ensure sustained growth, employment and redistribution strategy through a number of initiatives intended to enhance the economic and social benefits of arts and culture, in general. The GAG has collaborated with various stakeholders especially Parliament in the enactment of the Cinematography Bill, which has been in Parliament for years without the necessary action to ensure its passage into law.
This advocacy action is one such initiative being pursued by the GAG to intensify dialogue with both the Executive and Legislative arms of Government to expedite action on the passage of the cinematography bill currently in Parliament as well as the appropriate Legislative Instruments (L.I) to effectively respond to the ever-changing needs the cinematography industry in Ghana.
The passage of this bill will inspire the development of effective strategies for the growth and development of the cinematography industry, to optimize the realization of its potential to create an export market, to create employment and expand the national economy.
It is in the light of this that GAG, through the technical assistance of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund and the Society for Managing Initiatives and Leadership Enhancement (SMILE), Ghana is carrying out advocacy action for the passage of the cinematography bill and required Legislative Instruments (L.I) to effectively respond to the ever-changing needs of the cinematography industry in Ghana.
From Elorm Ntumy