After its inauguration last year December, many stakeholders of the film industry in Ghana celebrated the long awaited arrival of the National Film Authority (N.F.A). Being recognized by the Constitution of Ghana as an arm of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, many anticipated swift and effective responses to some of the very obvious problems that have plagued the film community in Ghana. But, as at now, the National Film Authority is without an official place of work and full staff compliments.
The quite recent inauguration of the ‘Classification Committee’, which is a body under the National Film Authority, sent a clear message that the National Film Authority is ready to work. But, the question of full support from the Government of Ghana remains unanswered. Some have speculated that the establishment of the ‘Classification Committee’ was indirectly provoked by the showing of a pornographic material on Gh One Television; just as others say that the National Film Authority wouldn’t have come into existence this year if it wasn’t for the demonstration by stakeholders which preceded the swearing in of the Board of the N.F.A.
After finally getting an official logo for the N.F.A, in May, a pitch series was initiated between filmmakers and corporate bodies namely DSTV and the Ghana Investment and Promotion Centre (G.I.P.C). The process is supposed to take off any time soon as the organizers are receiving proposals from interested persons. But, an interesting clause captured in a communique stated that DSTV and GIPC have absolute power to reject any proposal brought to the pitch series. This means the N.F.A is acting as a mediator in the process. Well, the gesture might be applauded, but the act is not nouvelle as DSTV has been around and made business deals with filmmakers long ago.
Therefore, one may ask, why is the National Film Authority, despite being composed of a highly experienced board, delaying in responding to the real challenges that are facing the industry such as a well regulated and practical system of funding for filmmakers; without the discouraging bureaucratic processes and winding channels.
Even in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis which forced the indefinite closure of all cinema operators in Ghana, there wasn’t a single statement or press release concerning works or initiatives that were on the discussion table to help the film industry from permanent collapse. It was as if there was no mouth piece for the film fraternity or no concern; it was as if the film industry didn’t matter. But, this wasn’t the same in other sectors.
The silence of the National Film Authority is dangerous to the growth of the Film industry and sends a loud message about the ability of the N.F.A to stand for the industry, especially in times of need such as these, and whether there is an obstacle in their way which cannot be spoken of.
By Jerry Wonder