When it comes to the film production on the African continent, Nigeria is without a doubt the dominant force. In fact, the Nigerian home-grown film industry named “Nollywood” recently became the second-largest film industry, according to the Public Broadcasting Service. So, it comes as no surprise to anyone that Nollywood has rightfully received its recognition across the globe but there is also another film industry that is brewing in Ghana.
The metamorphosis of Ghana film industry
Some may or may not have heard about the metamorphosis of Ghallywood to Gollywood, the title for the Ghanaian film industry but it is one that produced the notable actors, Such as Jackie Appiah, Nadia Buari, Yvonne Okoro and even Majid Michael. The name “Gollywood” became the official name for the Ghanaian film industry on July 12, 2018, according to AllAfrica.com.
The growth of Ghana’s film industry over the years has been phenomenal and as a result, it saw them verbally acknowledged at the Oscars in 2018. The country currently has the movie “Azali,” which has been submitted and would contend with 92 other countries in the international film category for the Oscars in 2020. The movie was directed by Kwabena Gyanash and it follows the story of a girl who flees from an arranged marriage to a 70-year-old man, according to screendaily.com.
Another Ghanaian movie that has done well on the international scale is “the Burial of Kojo.” This movie was directed and written by Blitz Bazawule, a Ghanaian born hip-hop artist and filmmaker. The film was shot in Ghana on a very minute budget; however, this did not stop the global success of the project. The Guardian in the U.K reported that a partnership existed for Netflix to stream the film on its platform. The initial release date of the film on Netflix was in April of 2019. The film won the best narrative feature (world cinema) at the Urbanworld Film Festival held in New York City in the fall of 2018, according to blackgirlnerds.com.
Contribution of Gollywood to global entertainment market
Ghana is increasingly contributing to the global film entertainment market. Though a 2007 data quoted in “Assessing Brand Ghallywood 2013” that the Industry is at the most worth $3.75 million and in percentage of single-digit when compared to Nollywood, the new net worth of some of its actors like Majid Michel estimated at over 1 Million dollars underscores the fact that the net worth of the Industry is a lot more than this.
The growing success of the film industry in Ghana prompted the government to pass new regulations that would help to positively affect the film industry. On October 21, 2016, the Ghanaian parliament passed a new legislation titled “the development and classification of film bill,” which, according to Ghana web, was to serve as a structure for the production, regulation and the advancement of the film industry. The bill also stated to provide a new and improved system that pertains to the distribution, exhibition and marketing of films in the country.
How Gollywood can contribute to the country’s economy
The thriving film industry in Ghana has proved to be very significant and important for Ghana’s economy. According to Ghanaweb, the film industry in Ghana was established to contribute 30% to the country’s GDP.
For this to happen, filmmakers must have the necessary access to capital, the enabling policy environment that will make the Film business thrive. Government and key stakeholders in the Industry must work together to proactively address the issue of Piracy.
More collaboration with Nollywood should continue in order to have access to the wider audience Nigeria provides. The two countries can leverage on shared experiences. “The Ghana Must Go” film by Yvone Okoro is a typical example of how a regrettable historical event was translated into a romantic comedy that obviously resonated in both countries and showcased well-known actors from the two countries too.
It is evident that there has been upward tick for Ghana’s film industry. It would only be a matter of time before the world starts to sing songs of praises for Gollywood. That will be a plus for the continent.
Paul Olele Jnr writes from Washington DC. He is a 2019 graduate of George Washington University and currently works as graduate Media and Research Intern at the Initiative for Global Development.