‘Pocket-money’ produced movies can’t meet Oscars standard – Dagbani film actor
Film actor and producer in the Northern Movie Industry, Alhassan Faisal has bemoaned the lack of support in the movie industry in northern Ghana to propel it to meet the international standard, saying quality movies are not produced with “pocket money”.
Mr. Faisal made this comment when he reacted to a Facebook shared post about one of Ghanaian movies produced in both the northern part of Ghana and in the capital Accra, titled – Azali that has been selected for the Oscars Awards in 2019.
“Having a nice script and the ability to direct it well can not get you a good film that can travel far when you don’t have the funds to do it. They don’t make such movies with pocket money”, he commented saying.
According to the Dagbani actor, many well to do people, including business men in the north are not ready to invest in the production of quality movies.
“How many business men in the north are ready to invest heavily in a production?”, He queried.
Mr. Faisal disclosed that he witnessed the seriousness and quantum of money put into the production of the nominated Azali.
“Ananse production spent millions to get this job done, I was there with them during the production. Actors are hired to do their job on set, our brothers and sisters who featured in Azali were paid for the job done”, he stared.
He however disagreed with those who hold the notion that the southerners exploit their colleague actors in the north.
Mr. Faisal also expressed his happiness for seeing his colleagues making a mark at the higher level of the movie industry.
“So it will not sound right if we say they USED them to make name. Frankly speaking I am happy for them, if not for anything at least for our own brothers and sisters who featured in the movie. It is the first movie to be selected for international Oscars in Ghana and we have a good representation in it”, he concluded.
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Oscars: Ghana Selects ‘Azali’ for International Feature Film Category
Kwabena Gyansah’s story of a teenage girl’s escape from an arranged marriage to a 70-year-old farmer is the African country’s first ever Oscar submission.
Ghana has selected Kwabena Gyansah’s Azali as its submission for the international feature film category at the 2020 Oscars.
Starring Asana Alhassan in her debut role, the film follows the journey of 14-year-old Amina from a village in Northern Ghana to the slums of the bustling capital, Accra.
Amina escapes her impending marriage to a 70-year-old farmer but finds herself on a truck being trafficked to Burkina Faso. A cruel twist of fate sees her rescued from the truck but flung into the bustling city of Accra. Amina has to choose between surviving in Accra and returning to her village and marriage.
Written by Gwandellen Quartey and directed by Kwabena Gyansah, Azali is produced by Ananse Entertainment with support from Motion Revolution, both Ghanaian companies.
It is the first time Ghana has submitted a film to the Oscars, although the country has recently become a production hub for international productions, including Beast of No Nation, Forgiving Earth and the upcoming USA network television show Treadstone,starring Jeremy Irvine.
Professor Linus Abraham, chair of Ghana’s Oscar selection committee, told said: “Azali is a consciousness-raising film [and] we are very honored that for the first time, Ghana has found a film worthy enough to represent it at the 92nd Oscars. This has been a long time coming and it is a testament to the growth of the Ghana film industry. We believe this will enhance the image of Ghanaian films and encourage more co-productions and quality filmmaking.”
Ghanaian-American filmmaker Leila Djansi, who serves as an advisor to the Ghanaian selection committee, told The Hollywood Reporter that language and resources had historically been major obstacles to the growth of the Ghanaian film industry.
“In a country with diverse languages, marketing your film is easier if it’s in English because that’s the official language of the country and majority of the continent, which has stifled a lot of voices.
“Foreign film markets have not had interest in African films beyond those that show war, extreme poverty or white saviors and this also largely limited the creative voice and, of course, income. But things seem to be changing as more Africans embrace their local dialects. This will strengthen the identity of African cinema.”