Ghana gears up

Could Ghanaian cinema be the next big thing?

by Jennie Kermode

Every now and then, a national film industry succeeds in making the leap to international success. African cinema has been dominated for the last decade by prolific and popular Nollywood productions and their more artistically inclined South African counterparts. Now Ghana looks like it may be stepping up to make that breakthrough.

It has been an interesting year in the Ghanaian film industry, affectionately known as Ghallywood. In February the country's National Film and Television Institute began working on a new project aimed at securing German financial backers for locally produced films, and in April Ghanaian actor Majid Michel was named the best actor on the continent at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. A substantial Ghanaian contingent attended last month's Cannes Film Festival, including the popular actress Jackie Appiah.

Big name stars in Ghana still routinely work for just $3,000 to $5,000 a film. Though this is substantial in relation to standard local salaries it raises concerns that talent could easily be lured away to the West, and already there have been suggestions that Nollywood is outbidding the local industry for acting talent, which Nigerian actors aren't too pleased about either. Many Nigerians feel that the Ghanaian industry is little more than an extension of their own, as a large proportion of Ghaian crew members trained there. Concerns have also been raised about the sensationalist subject matter of many films, particularly given its potential to reinforce the prejudices of outsiders. (A tip: despite what you may see on the screen, Ghana is no more filled with crazed. murderous witch doctors than Britain is filled with crazed, murderous East End gangsters.) But increasing acclaim is giving actors like Michel the power to speak out about the quality of the films they are in. Ghana is starting to find its own artistic voice.

Share this with others on...
News

The turning point Wendy Makkena on Tom Hanks, Chris Cooper and Matthew Rhys in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Decisive moments Evelyn Schels on Marina Abramovic, Sigalit Landau, Shirin Neshat and Katharina Sieverding in Body Of Truth

Sense memories Robert Tinnell on Feast Of The Seven Fishes and family memories

Keeping his word Michael Apted in conversation on 63 Up

Talking about juxtapositions Thom Powers on dreams, fashion, identity, nature and bright spotlights in DOC NYC

Dedicated to DA Pennebaker Thom Powers on Martin Scorsese, Michael Apted, the Masters and Winner’s Circle in the tenth edition

More news and features

We're bringing you coverage of Tallinn Black Nights, Welsh horror spectacular Abertoir and the French Film Festival.



We've recently been at the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC, the Valencia Film Festival, New York's NewFest, the Cambridge Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, and Manchester's Grimmfest.



Read our full for more.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

More competitions coming soon.