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Don’t Lose Hope – Nana Addo Tells Filmmakers   
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President Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaian filmmakers that his government will not relegate the country’s film industry to the background.

The president, in a speech read on his behalf by Ambassador Ayikoi Otoo, High Commissioner to Canada, at ‘Ghana 60 Years On Film Summit’ said, “Government is still committed to the promises it made to the tourism and creative arts industry in the New Patriotic Party manifesto ahead of the 2016 general elections.”

He called on the film industry players not to lose hope.

The summit was organised by the Film Directors Guild of Ghana (FDGG) at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) in Accra to celebrate previous feats of the film industry and also discuss the way forward to rescue the industry from total collapse.

Filmmakers who attended the event enumerated a number of factors that have worsened the current poor state of the film industry.

Among them were lack of government support, funding, lack of education, lack of distribution networks, lack of proper regulations of foreign content on local TV, among others.

What started the woes of the film industry, according to Richard J. A Boateng, President of FDGG, was the sale of Ghana Film Industry Corporation in 1996 by the then NDC government.

“We lost our heritage as an industry. It was sold out to a television company which is now TV3 and unfortunately our archives in 1997 was burnt live on national television…as I am talking to you now, Ghana as a republic we don’t have archives for our movies. It is sad,” he said.

Mr Boateng continued that prior to selling of the Ghana Film Corporation, Ghana was the hub of filmmaking in Africa. But as it stands, “we have lost that glory.” He, thus, called on government to support the industry.

“We heard ‘one district one factory’. I will plead with government to look into the film industry. In all the districts we have, there are assembly halls. We can start from there; one district one cinema. It is possible. This is our call,” Mr Boateng added.

Actor and media practitioner, JOT Agyemang, also registered his disappointment with the sale of Ghana Film Corporation.

“It is a shame during our 50th anniversary celebration we had to go to the BBC to borrow films to show to Ghanaians,” he revealed.

But, according to him, it is not too late to revive the industry, calling on President Akufo-Addo to assist the industry back on its feet.

The president, responding to their request, mentioned that he has taken notice of the struggles of the film industry and demands by the filmmakers.

He promised to look into it, assuring the film stakeholders of his earlier promises to the creative arts industry.

President Akufo-Addo then reiterated government’s plans for the industry, including building of theatres in every regional capital except Accra to address the crucial age-long challenge the lack of auditoriums and venues for entertainment events have created for the creative arts sector.

He would create a new division of the High Court that would be well-equipped to focus on the creative arts and address all matters relating to intellectual property rights and legal challenges that often pop up within the creative arts sector, as well as aggressively promote domestic tourism with a sense of urgency and also establish a special fund for creative arts.

Government would focus on transforming the country into a major meeting, incentive, conference, & exhibition (MICE) centre, as well as on expanding the tourism sector, through investment, innovation, the pursuit of service excellence and meaningful partnerships.
This would enable tourism to become a major revenue generating sector that provides safe, memorable and enjoyable experience for tourists and others.

He also mentioned the creation of creative arts fund to support the industry, among other plans, but urged filmmakers to also enliven the standard of filmmaking to help the industry grow.
Source: Daily Guide

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