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Film Bill Raises Hopes
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Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare
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The Ministry for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts on Wednesday, October 26 held a press conference at the Accra Tourism Centre to announce the passage of the Film Bill by Parliament.
Although this came as welcome news for many in the film industry in Ghana, some have accused the Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare of jumping the gun, since the bill is yet to be signed by the President to become a law. 

But speaking to Showbiz on Tuesday, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare said the fact that the bill had passed through Parliament was enough reason to jubilate. 

“It is a new dawn in the film industry because for the first time after 1961, Parliament has passed the film bill. We have never come this close and so we should be excited. The moment the bill went past Parliament, it meant the difficult part has been done. I know that very soon the President will append his signature and make it a law, she said.

Showbiz spoke to some actors and industry persons to find out their views on the  bill and whether they believe it has any positives for the movie industry in the country. 

Speaking to Michael Ola,  former PRO of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG), said the film bill when passed into law will improve the quality of films produced in the country. He outlined that the film fund, which is a provision in the film bill will ensure that there is adequate funds for film makers to finance their movies.  

Ola, one of the consultants who advised the Parliamentary Select Committee on the film bill said there were various control mechanisms which will also ensure that films produced in the country are adequately reviewed to ensure that sanity prevails in film production in the country.

”I believe  the president would pass the bill into law by the end of October. He has an interest in this bill since he was one of the people who worked on the first draft of the bill when he was with the Communication Ministry. The Attorney General’s Department is also working on the Legislative Instrument which will also outline punitive measures and other legal requirements for the bill,” he said. 

Speaking to the Chairman of the Ghana Culture Forum, Akunu Dake, he also expressed the view that the bill would be passed without much issues. “The Film Law has been a long time coming, all the way back to 1961 and on previous occasions; it did not even pass Cabinet. This time, it has gone all the way through Cabinet, the select committee, the hall of Parliament and it is finally with the President,” he said.

“The bill is a positive venture for filmmakers both in terms of production and administration of film in the country. There are various regulations and standards that are aimed at improving film making in the country. Even more importantly, there are provisions which are aimed at protecting the national interest as far as film is concerned. Industry players now have the opportunity to take control of the industry,” he added. 

Bill Asamoah,  President of the Ashanti Regional Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) said the Film Bill is a step in the right direction. “We as film producers welcome it wholeheartedly since it will help streamline the industry in Ghana. We are grateful to Parliament, the President among others for making this a reality and I only hope it is implemented,” he said.

Bill Asamoah cited the film fund as one of the provisions in the bill which would be instrumental in boosting the growth of the industry. 

“As it stands now, film makers in the country are unable to produce capital intensive movies due to the lack of funds but with the support of the fund, we hope things will change,” he said

On his part, veteran film producer, Socrates Safo was optimistic that the bill would significantly improve the industry but he expressed caution that he was keeping his fingers crossed until the President finally signed the bill into law.  “ This is not the first time the bill has reached this stage. It went this far during Kufour’s era but it was put on hold due to a petition from broadcasters to amend a clause. I pray it goes all the way and becomes a law.

“However, it is my prayer again it doesn’t remain just a law but backed with the necesaary support in terms of funding among others. Otherwise, it comes to nothing and we are back to square one.”he added.
Source: Graphic Showbiz

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