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Before we call it Gollywood, Ghallywood, Sinikrom, etc - let's get our house in order

Posted by abocco on Mon, 08/17/2009 - 07:48 GhanaThink Managing Executive

I can't wait for Shirley Frimpong-Manso's next movie. It's been almost 5 months since Perfect Picture came out. She's not the only one making Ghanaian movies though, some of the other movie houses churn out movies as frequently as once a month. I'll like to touch on a few issues in Ghanaian movies and offer some thoughts and advice. See my previous post about the emergence of Ghanaian movies and some thoughts on working towards more excellence. I know some people don't like the idea of calling Ghana's movie industry Ghallywood or Gollywood and they have a point. Let's do something different. How about we call it Sinikrom? Oh wait, Phamous People has the 'Cinekrom' show. I am a huge fan of Phamous People, will love to see them get involved in the movie industry.

I call the 'Nadia Buari-Van Vicker-Jackie Appiah-Majid Michel' movies the Accra movies. They feature English lines and are set in Accra Takoradi. Owners of magnificent homes in Accra are afraid to release them for shooting of these movies because they feel they'll become susceptible to armed robbers. Who knew there were magnificent houses in Takoradi like that? I hear the house in which Nadia lived in for 'Beyonce' is her own. No, she didn't earn that house through her countless roles in Ghanaian movies, her father is Sidiku Buari, a famous Ghanaian musician. Doing arts and entertainment in Ghana does pay, my people. These 'Accra/Takoradi movies' have used the Nollywood distribution channels to make stars out of their actors. They are enjoying the name recognition that the Nollywood stars have.

I have a bunch of issues with these 'Accra movies'. They are making the same Nollywood mistakes, average sound and video quality, concentrating on making as many movies as possible instead of improving the quality of the production, etc. Do you pay attention to the dialogue in these films? Ridiculous. I made my brother buy 'The Perfect Picture' for me when he came to visit the US, and he also bought 'The King Is Mine'. The differences between the two movies were clear. 'The King Is Mine' tried too hard. These AA (Accra movies) use these big English words that definitely are not used in normal Ghanaian life and the dialogue is fake, to say the least. They sound better in Twi, because we use a lot of idioms there but when you do the same thing in English, it doesn't look real. You don't need to have your viewer sitting by dictionaries to impress them. You need profound lines, good witty conversation and superb acting to make a great movie. These proverbs and big English will make more sense if the lines were in the local languages because that's synonymous with our mother tongues.

If you are making two movies a month, you are not spending enough time on each production. Besides, by using the same actors and actresses all the time, you have the situation where the actors' bargaining power increases and they can command huge sums to be in a movie. It worked for Nollywood around 2003, when Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola, Ramsey Nouah and Nkem Owoh were banned from appearing in movies due to hefty compensation packages and this allowed for new actors to get major roles. We should spend a little more time on the movies, re-take the scenes till they are excellent and edit them properly to get rid of times where the mic is showing on the top of the screen.

I call the 'Agya Koo/Kyeiwaa movies with mostly Twi lines' Kumasi movies. Agya Koo is a gem. He has to receive a national medal soon. As Bradez sang, he helped stop the dominance of Nigerian films in Ghana. He seems to shine in almost any role he's put it in in a Ghanaian movie so far. Agya Koo is one of the most searched names on Youtube and Google and I know that because an unrelated Praye song called Agya Koo on Museke is popular. Recently, he stated that he didn't need script to act in movies. If you talk as much as Agya Koo does in movies, you probably don't want to be memorizing scripts. Many Ghanaians love his movies, etc, but it's about time we found a way to market him internationally so that non-Twi speakers will appreciate his talent.

One of my biggest issues with these Twi movies is the subtitles. It may be tough to subtitle everything the actors are saying but we can be intentional about how we go about it. I feel the dialogue is rich and getting people to appreciate that should be one of the major goals. If we are going to do the subtitling, we must do it right - with zero grammatical errors et al.

I watched a movie called 'Ashanti' the other day. I couldn't finish but it seemed to narrate some Asante history. I liked the idea a lot, the dialogue was super, the acting was great too and the settings were good. There were no subtitles though. I can't say it looked like Akan drama or Concert Party because the latter shows don't tell stories like this movie did. We always caught likening our movies to things like Efie Wura, but it's not our fault, it's what we are used to. I'll like to see more movies talking about our history. It's good for us Ghanaians to learn about it and I think it will have some more international appeal. We need to do this before someone else does and sells back to us anyway.

Where are all the major actors who were around before the movie industry took a nosedive around 2004? Akofa Adjeani-Asiedu, Pascaline Edwards, Brew Riverson, etc? Can someone cast Oscar Provencal in some Inspector Bediako role in a movie? No one mentions NAFTI anymore, is it dead? The idea of doing auditions at hotels for movies is not the way to go. The fact that someone can come and play the part of a lotto doctor brilliantly for 2 minutes doesn't mean he'll play different roles that well in other movies. If we can't afford to teach our actors, let's spend a little more time on our productions. I already discussed the monetizing options, putting out as many movies in a short time is not the only way to make money.

I can only sit here and yob bunch about what I feel must be done. I hope someone somewhere who knows someone who knows someone who is directly involved in the industry would pay heed and get to work. M'ano asi.

Culled from the MIghTy African blog


Hmmmph! Get me a good story book instead

I got no beef with time spans in which movies are churned out; albeit if the end product is crap then patience becomes a virtue in production. Big budget films take months even years so you wouldn't expect that sort of time span from a twetwepoaa project.
My beef is with the dialogues as you put it and people trying too hard. Wise cracks, attempts at dry humour and pretentiousness to be cool when in fact it is blase makes me cringe!
Infact the majority of the good films have been the ones set in village life as the performance is effortless and depicts our culture beautifully. But once it moves to depicting city life it becomes a different ball game. It becomes a mish-mash of trying too hard to glorify the high life, high time and affluence and like our Nollywood compatriots if its not about husband snatching, juju killings, or witch crafted shenanigans then you aint got a Ghanaian movie.

Its simple, most times the owner of the big bucks gets to write and direct the is probably not his or her forte but because he or she is got the dough and call the shots he or she needs to get their name on the acknowlegement reel so it ends in shoddy work. There are people out there in society who could churn out a fabulous script if you run your idea by them and there are also people who can bring out the best in actors by their direction. In the absence of that then do some research on story line, expand your horizons and challenge the imagination. But if film production becomes a matter of any money bearing wannamaker gonnamaker, then no wonder it has become as common as popping hot bread out of ovens.
And need i say more about Equipment, Editing and Post Production and locations plus props?

And i get ever so tired of seeing the same old faces in film after film. And half of them dont know how to get into character. Lets face it casting is often a whom you know and who is got the best contacts basis. There are unexplored characters and naturals out there but who is going to discover them if they are not sought after and given a chance to shine. I expect to see different body language, even tonations with different films but you know with most of the old guards you go to bed after watching a film thinking you've seen them do it all before.
Story lines are so limited its amazing and yet there is a whole lot of wealth out there.
It is definitely not a feild we are well versed in when it comes to the private sector but if they must then why not just do it well hmn? Afterall a film never dies, so better to leave a good mark than a crappy one.


Please dont call it Gollywood, sounds almost like Gullible

I joined this site for this particular subject,
Ghana People come on, for Christ sake.
The other day I was thinking nollywood is a name rip off of hollywood
but I was thinking that because I forgot about bollywood. so nollywood is a rip off of a rip off.

Then I was thinking gollywood is a rip off, of a rip off, of a rip off
but then I realised I've forgotten about tollywood
I hear there's banglawood or something , and many that I dont care to know
Why the hel do people think the have to add wood to any madeup silly name to represent their movie industry

Hollywood ,has a whole history behind it, please read on Google
Hollywood is a town on it's own that just happened to turn into the movie making capital due to certain economic and natural factors
Read about how Hobart & Gigi came up with the name and why is it what it is now.

CineKrom is Great
1. it has the word Cine which is Cinema in it
2. it has krom which translated means town in a widely spoken language in Ghana

And this is great because we can build a whole city around it just like hollywood, purposely for this kind of thing
and it's brilliant. it doesn't matter if Phamous People coined that name for a show, it can still represent a bigger thing and it will work more in their favour because history will refer to them as the guys who came up with the name and Cinekrom will be filled with famous people, so hey.

"Jesus Christ"

Imagine 100 years from now our children asks , "so why do we call it bollywood "
"well the nigerians were calling it nollywood"

Maybe I'm mistaken
I am a singer myself and I learn from and take a lot from the people I've learned from and use it creatively in my own music but not in a manner that smells rip off.

Abocco & Omanba, I'm very happy there are ghananians like you and I thank God you are angry.
I'm an aspiring film maker myself , currently I make DVD Covers for miracle films here in UK
have a look at my Facebook Profile ( Tutu) and look at some of my work esp. Ghana films stuff
if there's anything that you will suggest please , it will help me a lot as this year I'm moving back to Ghana .

once I was watching this nigerian movie.
at the end they wrote. NOLLYWOOD, shaking the very foundations of HOLLYWOOD
I just finished watching Camerons Avatar and wondering if Nigeria can do that in the next 100 years.
And if they can what will HOLLYWOOD be doing then.
This movie making is not only about Great cameras and computers and guys eager to make money
These people think far
Watch Star Trek and listen to the dialogue.
Movies are meant to entertain , YES, they are also meant to Shape
But that's just me ,if there's something I've learnt is everybody is different, and we should let all be and you should always be yourself as long as yourself is great and doesn't harm anyone else including yourself.

Secondly though I design these covers for these movies I hardly watch them as I get angry right from pressing play, so i think I'm in no position to judge, and some of them are really good too, I mean they cant all be bad and Agya Koo and Nana Ama , they are great .

But I know the kind of Movies I'm gonna make
God Help me.

yea , where are they

those great old ghananian actors
I remember Oscar Provencal, he was great
I was very young but I was mersmerised
Inspector Bediako

Great work buddy, keep it

Great work buddy, keep it up