As Shine Publications sought to find out the perfect movie budget to elevate the Ghanaian cinema to Hollywood standards, movie Director Pascal Aka who directed the award winning 2019 movie ‘Gold Coast Lounge’, cautioned that a budget of $1,000,000 for a Ghanaian movie production is more than likely to yield debts rather than profit. He described such a budget as overly optimistic. He stated this in an exclusive phone interview a few days ago from his home in Accra.
After winning the highest number of awards at the 2019 Ghana Movie Awards, Film maker Pascal Aka set the tone for an international breakthrough by Ghanaian movie producers. With his daring use of ‘black and white’ motion pictures, he told a story dated in the colonial times of Ghana and received applause from local critics. After receiving such praises, some have argued that with a much bigger budget of about $1,000,000 or more, Ghanaian film makers can break the ice of the global movie market, but Director Pascal Aka disagreed. “$1,000,000 is too much for a Ghanaian movie production. $400,000 at most is the amount of money someone should enthusiastically and ambitiously spend on a film here in Ghana; but will still have to use some Nigerian and South African actors. I would personally start with $150,000 on a Ghanaian movie”, he explained.
There have been debates on what exactly do Ghanaian film makers need to cross over to the global film market. With quite an appreciable number of Ghanaian movies showing on streaming platform ‘Netflix’, some film enthusiasts believe that high production budgets would elevate the Ghanaian cinema. Another school of thought have suggested stories of international appeal as the key. But, a 2018/19 survey by Shine Publications shows that movies with high budgets are the most appreciated by the Ghanaian public. Last year, a low budget but creative movie called ‘Bridging the Gap’ starring Jasmine Baroudi, Toosweet Annan and Michelle Hammond, received very low patronage despite having being publicised by big media houses. Last year December, ‘The Perfect Picture’ Movie produced by Sparrow Studios which featured a host of popular faces from Nigeria and Ghana, lasted over 3 months in the cinemas as patrons trooped in continuously to watch the film. The recently produced ‘Aloe Vera’ movie, which was also shot on a budget beyond the average budget for a Ghanaian film, also received an overwhelming response from the public. These have given fuel to the ongoing debate on whether high budget movies are the way forward for Ghanaian movie makers.