Film Directors Guild of Ghana Swears In New Executives
The Ghana film industry is one of the oldest film industries in West Africa, it was established before independence, in 1948 – the Gold Coast Film Unit.
The Ghana film industry has been maintained and supported by the stakeholder associations and guilds; associations like Film Directors Guild of Ghana, Film Producers Association of Ghana, Film Crew Association of Ghana, Ghana Actors Guild, among many others.
On 6th October, 2023 the Film Directors Guild have swon in new elected executives. As part of their constitutional mandates, these leaders are elected and swon in to oversea the activities of the guild for the next four years. The guild has elected leaders who are very vibrant and willing to serve the film industry as well the members of the guild. After swearing the newly elected executives, which comprises of the National President, the General Secretary, the National Treasurer, and the various Regional Executives.
The National President, Mr. Richard Yaw Boateng, urged to reshape the guild and the film fraternity in Ghana into a loveable one.
According to Mr. Richard Yaw Boateng, “though many people thought the industry is not alive, but we shall do our possible best to bring the industry on its feet again, where many who left shall come back to be part of the film industry again.” Mr. Richard Yaw Boateng says.
Though this is the second and the last term for the National President, Mr Richard Yaw Boateng, but in his keynote address he is ever willing to build the industry and the guild more than before due to the authoritative mandate vested and given to him.
The National President together with the rest of the national and regional executives, they are happy today for how far the guild has come after going through all the hard and difficult moments, since 2012 of its establishment.
The National President of Film Directors Guild of Ghana talked about the formation of the guild. In his address, “the guild started with 3 people in Accra, at the MUSIGA office, in the year 2012. That the founding members of the guild were himself, Slim Bastar and Kofi Yeboah, the then main film director for Nyankonton Productions.
The two other founding members like Slim Bastar and Kofi Yeboah could not stand the public attacks that came on them from the film producers association and from other stakeholders who wanted the guild to be shutdown. But he, Mr Richard Yaw Boateng, stood on his feets without giving up on the dream to make sure other interested film directors are brought on board from all over the country. “Today the members of the Guild are over 300 film directors across the 16 regions in Ghana.
*BRIEF BACKGROUND OF GHANAIAN FILM INDUSTRY*
Cinema came to Ghana, then colonial Gold Coast, in the early 1923. The colonial masters established the Gold Coast Film Unit in 1948. In 1964, the first president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, established the state owned film industry – Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC). The establishment of the film industry took place at Kanda-Accra, TV 3.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah sent many Ghanaians abroad to learn filmmaking in order to take away the negative impacts of the colonial government. And the restoration of the citizen’s prides, values and sense of being a Ghanaian or an African.
But the overthrown of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s government led to the deprivation of the Ghana film industry from 1966 to date. In the early 1980s, the then young men and women who were talented and interested in the film industry took upon themselves to develop the Ghana film industry by using the newly immerged video technology, i.e the VHS camcorders, to shoot films instead of the traditional celluloid film camera, since they could not afford the celluloid film cameras its accessories.
So the Ghana film industry for the first time in history became a private business whilst the then government GFIC fought them for over a decade. But the persistency of the private or independent filmmakers and multiplicity of films that they were producing, and how the Ghanaian public embraced the locally made films, made them more stronger than the government GFIC. This is how the independent filmmakers took over the Ghana film industry till date. GFIC was put on divestiture and sold out to a Malaysian television company by the then government of Ghana. And all cinema theatres under the GFIC were closed down. This started the nosedive of the Ghana film industry in 1997. Ghana film industry lost its principal revenue, the Cinema industry. This is the main reason why the film industry in Ghana is struggling to date.
*ACTIONS PLAN OF THE FILM DIRECTORS GUILD OF GHANA*
After the swearing in ceremony the leadership of the guild held a brief meetings ahead of incoming days.
The National President, Mr. Richard Yaw Boateng, admonished the guild members the new Sworn-in Executives to embrace the new dimensions to bright changes to the film fraternity.
Below are some of the inputs they have talked about.
The National President, Mr. Richard Yaw Boateng, and his team members encouraged the members to leave behind the past experiences and put on fresh leafs. According to Mr Richard Yaw Boateng, he emphasized that all leaders including members should learn to forgive one another and let go of offenses. “Unity is the key and main source of strength”. He said.
The Executive members of the guild discussed how they can organize frequent film workshops for members in order to build their capacity. The leadership of the Film Directors Guild of Ghana have also noticed that, one of the reasons why many people can’t produce quality films is as a result of lack of professional training for the film directing craft. Though some have the skills or the talent but that’s not enough – they need experts to guide them stay on course.
Due to the evolving nature of the days we are in, the Film Directors Guild of Ghana saw an opportunity to organise members and support them create quality short films that can meet international standards for short film festivals.