Ask any player in the movie industry what the biggest challenge is and he or she is most likely to say, lack of funding.
For most of these players, the absence of significant financial investment is killing the industry.
However, award-winning filmmaker, Juliet Asante does not think financial support alone can revive the industry. For her, there is so much more that needs to be in place to ensure the country has a movie scene which will attract international attention.
“We don’t clarify the kind of support we need so there is some misunderstanding between the sector and government. We should not reduce the conversation about the indusrtry to just money.
“ If the government gives me GH¢2M to shoot my film, will that solve the problem? No. The solution lies in infrastructure, policies among others” she said.
Last year, government gave GHc1M to the creative arts industry to help in its development but Juliet said that wouldn’t help much as the structures needed to support individual efforts were lacking.
“For instance, if I make a film and there are no distributors to distribute my film, at the end of the day I will fail. So I get a good film, I won’t be able to sell the film, I won’t make my money back so I won’t be able to make another film and we are back to square one.”
The country’s movie industry is in crisis; in fact for some stakeholders, it is dead. On Monday, actress and producer, Yvonne Nelson took up a cause; to get as many industry players to sign a petition that will push government to support the industry.
Part of the petition reads: “We aim to present a petition to the President and the Minister of Tourism, Creative arts and Culture citing the difficulties facing us in the industry. We want to bring unity to all industry players, we aim to uplift the Ghana movie industry again for the better by making sure there is allocation of special funds for producers, right payment structures for all involved in the industry especially the thespians, royalties and its right disbursement…”.
For Juliet Asante though, the issues being raised are nothing new and it shouldn’t take one person’s move to get more attention. “This is what we’ve been saying for the longest time. This is what we were saying the entire time during the Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF), why didn’t industry players show up to have that conversation? At the end of the day, the industry has to come together; if there are platforms that can bring our voices together, we should all support it but it should not be isolated,” she added.
She said she would lend her support to a broader collective effort to improve the movie industry’s fortunes instead of individual efforts because they may not amount to much. “If we are serious, we have to realise this thing goes beyond our individual interests. We all have to come together to make sure this conversation gets to the right quarters” the Silver Rain director and producer said.
Juliet also criticised the penchant for stakeholders to support international events and neglect what’s happening in their own backyard. She said BSIFF invitations were sent to several people who have been vocal about the movie industry’s collapse but many did not show up. “How do we move forward?” she quipped.