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Ghana Films Miss Out On Oscars – I Told You So!

Ghana Films Miss Out On Oscars – I Told You So! File Photo

Ghana will not be represented at the 2018 Academy Awards (Oscars), because the Ghana Foreign Language Committee could not nominate any of the films it received for consideration.

The Chairman of the Committee, Professor Linus Abraham, announced this in Accra last week.

Only three (3) movies were submitted for possible nomination for the Oscars and the Committee found that none of the films met the submission requirements for the Foreign Language category.

According to Professor Abraham, the Committee detected various anomalies in the submission of all three films, which led to their disqualification, in order to preserve the integrity of the Committee and of Ghana’s participation in the Oscars.

Out of the three films submitted to the Committee’s Secretariat, the Chairman noted that one movie stood out, with the potential of being nominated but it unfortunately did not meet the Academy's release requirements.

Does this news come as a surprise? Of course not, because, in May this year, I penned an article published in this newspaper, captioned, ‘Ghana Film (s) For The Oscar – A Difficult Venture; where I outlined the reasons Ghana would find it hard making an appearance at the biggest and most recognised film awards in the world next year.

“Candidly, and to put it bluntly, the race to the Oscar will not be a rosy road. It will be very difficult to get any of our movies make the final cut,” I wrote.

No Glory, No Respect

The African countries that have been selected for the Best Foreign Language category at the 2018 Oscars are Kenya, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Mozambique and South Africa. I say congratulations to them.

It is quite interesting to note that countries like Mozambique, Kenya and some of the North African countries are now making strides in filmmaking and reaping the benefits of international recognition for their respective industries.

Years ago, these were countries that could not hold a torch to Ghana in terms of film making, in fact, some of them are said to have sent their people to Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana to learn about the trade. But here we are, in 2017, lagging behind the likes of Mozambique and Senegal.

With all our ‘too known’ talk, boasting of the best film directors, actors and a marketable industry, we lose out to Kenya, Mozambique and Tunisia. How shameful!

All we have done in the last couple of years is have ramshackle structures, producers bickering and actors ‘slaying’ on Instagram. Shame on us all!

Technical Deficiency

Technically, most of our films are substandard and there was no way we were going to make it to the Oscars, considering how stringent the requirements are in that department.

For an industry that produces the most non-English language movies in Ghana, it looked like Kumawood was our sure bet for the Oscars for the first time, but its technical bankruptcy was its undoing.

The technical requirements for the Oscars are attainable but Ghanaian filmmakers, especially those in Kumawood, stopped paying attention to the technical details of films a long time ago. All they care about is the patronage and the sales.

Any ardent follower of the Oscars, including members of the Ghana Foreign Language Committee know, that, it is an arduous task for any movie in Ghana presently to make the mark – with regards to the technical requirements.

The Committee’s Blunder

Only three (3) movies were submitted for review and possible nomination at the Oscars and that is a disappointing showing which the Committee should take the blame for.

The apathy exhibited by filmmakers in Ghana over this Oscar move was largely because there was low publicity on the opportunity and less education on the requirements.

The Committee’s mandate was to ensure that the entire Ghanaian populace especially the filmmaking fraternity was extensively informed on the venture and were adequately educated on how to get their movies there.

The publicity was poor across the country and the seminar that was geared at educating filmmakers on the category was held just once and in Accra.

Clearly, the Committee was not even serious about the Oscar venture and it manifested in the response of the filmmakers and the final outcome.

The Ministry Must Get Involved

The Oscars is a big deal and it would do the movie industry and the nation a lot of good if government got involved in the whole process of ensuring that, Ghana is represented at the big stage.

In Brazil, the selection of a movie for the Oscar has not been left to an independent body. Instead, the Ministry of Culture oversees the collection, review and submission of movies to the Academy.

In Britain, the British Association of Films & Television (BAFTA) takes control over the selection of a movie to represent the country.

The foreign-language Oscar officially goes to the country that submits the film, the reason the Oscar statuette won by the Canadian film, The Barbarian Invasions (2003) was until recently on display at the Museum of Civilisation in Quebec City.

Funding is an essential tool for filmmaking and a good showing at the Oscars would throw some spotlight on the movie business in Ghana, where potential companies and foreign donors could invest in projecting our story, albeit positively.

This is one of many reasons the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts must consider the opportunity to feature at the Oscars a blessing to get noticed and get funding, and a blessing to now do things right – in making quality movies that meet international standards.

 

Source: Daily Graphic

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