Cinema of Ghana

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Cinema in Ghana began when early film making was first introduced to the British colony of Gold Coast (now Ghana).[1][2][3] In the 1950s, film making in Ghana began to increase.[4][5][6][7] Cinemas were the primary venue for watching films until home video became more popular.[sources 1]

Cinema in the colonial period

In the1920s, individuals in the private sector brought film to Ghana by opening cinemas in urban areas. Cinema vans were used in rural areas.[16]

In the 1940s, the Information Services Department of the colonial government used green-yellow Bedford buses to screen documentary films, newsreels and government information films to the public. Attendance was free. (Sakyi 1996: 9). The films included propaganda films about World War II which were produced by the Colonial Film Unit (CFU) in London. (cf. Diawara 1992: 3). After the war, the unit produced educational films and feature films for the African colonies. The films were designed to contrast the Western "civilised" way of life with the African "backward" way of life. They suggested "superstitious" customs should be ceased. (Diawara 1992: 3; Ukadike 1994: 44ff).

The Gold Coast Film Unit, produced films with local interest to encourage improvements in health, crops, living, marketing and human co-operation. (Middleton—Mends 1995: 1; Diawara 1992: 5). In 1948, the Gold Coast Film Unit began to train local African film makers. Films were exchanged with other British colonies in Africa. (Middleton-Mends ibid.)[16]

Contemporary cinema

Since the late 1980s, the making of direct-to-video films has increased in Ghana.[17] Funds for cinematography were hard to come by, for both the state owned Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC) and for independent film makers. Therefore, people in Ghana began to make their own films using VHS videocameras. Such film makers created a brief outline of the film, assembled actors both professional and amateur and made successful films, especially in Accra. Income from these VHS video movies helped to support the cinema industry. The GFIC offered technical support to the VHS video film makers in exchange for the right to first screening in its Accra cinemas. By the early 1990s, approximately fifty VHS video movies per year were made in Ghana. Over time, professional and amateur film makers in Ghana produced films of similar quality and garnered equal respect.

In 1996, the government of Ghana sold seventy percent of the equity in the GFIC to the Malaysian television production company, Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad of Kuala Lumpur. The GFIC was renamed "Gama Media System Ltd". The company had little interest in film making and so the film industry in Ghana continued with independent film makers. Their ongoing funding relied on the popular appeal of the films.[18] For example, in Ghanaian cinema there is a popular theme of darkness and the occult placed in a framework of Christian dualism involving God and the Devil (see Meyer 1999a). [19]

Twi dialect are known as "Kumawood" films. Other Ghanaian films are sometimes known as "Ghallywood" productions.[sources 2] Films depicting African witchcraft are popular in Ghana, despite criticism being directed towards them.[sources 3] Ghana produces low-budget visual effects films. These include 2016 (2010), and Obonsam Besu (Devil May Cry).[32][33][34]

In about 2006, the Nigerian filmmaker Frank Rajah Arase collaborated with Venus Films, a Ghanaian production company to help Ghanaian actors to access work in Nigeria (Nollywood). Some of the actors involved were successful including Van Vicker, Jackie Appiah, Majid Michel, Yvonne Nelson, John Dumelo, Nadia Buari and Yvonne Okoro. Some Nigerian producers have filmed in Ghana where production costs are lower.[35] Such arrangements have created discord over employment opportunities for Nigerians.[36][37]

Bibliography

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  • Brantlinger, Patrick. 1988. Rule of Darkness. British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914. Ithaca and London: Cornell University
  • Diawara, Manthia. 1992. African Cinema. Politics & Culture. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
  • Geschiere, Peter. 1997. The Modernity of Witchcraft. Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia
  • Gifford, Paul. 1994. “Ghana’s Charismatic Churches”. Journal of Religion in Africa 64 (3): 241-65
  • Gifford, Paul. 1998 African Christianity. Its Public Role. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indianan University Press
  • Gunning, Tom. 1989. “An Aesthetic of Astonishment”. Art & Text 34 (Spring):*
  • Kramer, Fritz. 1987. Der rote Fes. †ber Besessenheit und Kunst in Afrika. Frankfurt am Main: AthenŠum.
  • Landau, Paul. 1994. “The Illumination of Christ in the Kalahari Desert”. Representations 45 (Winter): 26-40.
  • McLuhan, Marshall. 1995[1964] Understanding Media. The Extensions of Man. London: Routledge.
  • McQuire, Scott. 1998. Visions of Modernity. Representation, Memory, Time and Space in the Age of the Camera. London: Sage.
  • Mensah, G.B. 1989. “The Film Industry in Ghana — Development, Potentials and Constraints”. University of Ghana, Legon: Unpublished Thesis.
  • Meyer, Birgit. 1995. “Delivered from the Powers of Darkness. Confessions about Satanic Riches in Christian Ghana”. Africa Vol. 65 (2): 263—55.
  • Meyer, Birgit. “Make a complete break with the past. Memory and Post—colonial Modernity in Ghanaian Pentecostalist discourse”. Journal of Religion in Africa XXVII (3):316-349.
  • Meyer, Birgit. 1999a. Translating the Devil. Religion and Modernity Among the Ewe in Ghana. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Meyer, Birgit.1999b. “Popular Ghanaian Cinema and the African Heritage”. Working Paper 7. The Hague: WOTRO-Project “Globalization and the Construction of Communal Identitie”.
  • Middleton—Mends, Kofi. 1995. “Video-Production — Which Direction?” Unpublished Paper.
  • Moore, Rachel. n.d. “Savage Theory. Cinema as Modern Magic”. Manuscript.
  • Morton—Williams. 1953. Cinema in Rural Nigeria. A Field Study of the Impact of Fundamental-Education Films on Rural Audiences in Nigeria. West African Institute of Social and Economic Research, University College, Ibadan.
  • Neal, James H. 1966. Ju—ju in My Life. London: George G. Harap.
  • Pels, Peter. 1999. A Politics of Presence. Contacts Between Missionaries and Waluguru in Late Colonial Tanganyika. Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers.
  • Powdermaker, Hortense. 1950. Hollywood. The Dream Factory. USA: The Universal Library, Little Brown, and Company
  • Sakyi, Kwamina. 1996. “The Problems and Achievements of the Ghana Film Industry Corporation and the Growth and Development of the Film Industry in Ghana”. University of Ghana, Legon: Unpublished Thesis.
  • Sreberny—Mohammadi, Annabelle and Ali Mohammadi. 1994. Small Media, Big Revolution. Communication, Culture, and the Iranian Revolution. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Starker, Steven. 1989. Evil Influences. Crusades Against the Mass Media. New Brunswick & London: Transaction Publishers.
  • Tyler, Parker. 1971[1947] Magic and Myth of the Movies. London: Secker & Warburg.
  • Ukadike, Nwachukwu Frank. 1994. Black African Cinema. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.
  • Van der Geest, Sjaak. n.d. “Ybisa Wo Fie: Building a House in Akan Culture”. Unpublished Paper.
  • Verrips, Jojada. in press. “The State and the Empire of Evil” in J. Mitchell & P. Clough (eds.), Powers of Good and Evil. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Reference notes

References

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  3. ^ Martin, Michael T. (1 January 1995). "Cinemas of the Black Diaspora: Diversity, Dependence, and Oppositionality". Wayne State University Press – via Google Books. 
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  6. ^ Davis, Lauren. "The Curious Art of Ghana's Mobile Movie Posters". gizmodo.com. 
  7. ^ Frindéthié, K. Martial (24 March 2009). "Francophone African Cinema: History, Culture, Politics and Theory". McFarland – via Google Books. 
  8. ^ Mammadyarov, Riyad. "Watch: Experience the Power of Ghanaian Cinema in Exclusive 'Nakom' Trailer - IndieWire". Indiewire.com. Retrieved 2017-05-31. 
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  10. ^ Brown, Ryan Lenora (4 February 2016). "How Ghana's Gory, Gaudy Movie Posters Became High Art". The Atlantic. 
  11. ^ Salm, Steven J.; Falola, Toyin (1 January 2002). "Culture and Customs of Ghana". Greenwood Publishing Group – via Google Books. 
  12. ^ Meyer, Birgit (16 October 2015). "Sensational Movies: Video, Vision, and Christianity in Ghana". University of California Press – via Google Books. 
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  21. ^ Christie, Marian. "Ellen White: I don't belong to Kumawood". Ghana Live TV. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  22. ^ "I'm not a Kumawood actor but rep Ghallywood - Ellen White". Ghanaweb.com. 26 March 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
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  26. ^ "Flex Newspaper – "Action Movies Can Scare Witches"- Ashbowa". 
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  37. ^ Enengedi, Victor (23 September 2013). "NET SPECIAL FEATURE: Ghanaian actresses take over Nollywood". Nigerian Entertainment Today. The NET NG. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
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