Award winning Ghanaian film director and producer, Shirley Frimpong-Manso says Ghanaian movies and series were more patronised during the regimes of the former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kuffour.
The CEO of Sparrow Productions, a film, television and advertising company who was a guest on Starr Chat hosted by Bola Ray on Starr FM noted that Former President Kuffour’s (2000 to 2008) era experienced high demand for digital video disc (DVD) as a result boosting the Ghana movie industry.
“I DON’T THINK WE’RE GETTING ENOUGH SUPPORT FROM GOVERNMENT WHEN IT COMES TO THE ART AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT PRESENT BUT I’M TALKING ABOUT FOR AS LONG AS MY MEMORY GOES BACK TO WHEN RAWLINGS WAS AND I FEEL LIKE I SAW A LOT MORE ON OUR SCREENS. PRESIDENT RAWLINGS DID SUPPORT THE ART THEN BECAUSE I WAS YOUNG THEN AND I SAW A LOT MORE ON OUR SCREENS, THE DAYS OF SHOWCASE IN ALL MAJOR LANGUAGES, TV THEATRE AND OF COURSE WE HAVE THE NATIONAL THEATRE, IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY SUNDAY THERE WAS SOMETHING GOING ON THERE AND WE HAD THE TRADE FAIR AS WELL.
“WITH PRESIDENT KUFFOUR, HONESTLY I CAN HARDLY SAY THOUGH DURING HIS TIME WAS THAT THERE WAS QUIET A BOOM IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY. THESE WERE THE TIMES WE DID THE ‘ADAMS APPLE’, ‘PERFECT PICTURE’, THE DVD MARKET AT THAT TIME WAS GREAT AND WE MADE A LOT OF MONEY AND IT SEEM LIKE A GENERAL FEEL WHERE PEOPLE HAD MONEY TO SPEND, THEY WOULD BUY THREE, FOUR DVDS AT AGO.”
Reacting to a question on whether Late President Evans Atta Mills and Former President John Dramani Mahama supported the art industry, Frimpong-Manso said DVD sales went completely down.
“WITH PREZ MILLS’ PERIOD, I’M NOT SURE BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE DVD MARKET KEPT DECLINING. PREZ MAHAMA WANTED TO, THERE WERE ATTEMPTS FOR THAT TO HAPPEN BUT DID THEY REALLY COME TO LIFE, I DON’T THINK THEY DID AND AGAIN I’M TALKING ABOUT BEING A MOVIE PRODUCER, BEING IN THE BUSINESS, I DON’T THINK THERE WERE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES.”
Eleven (11) months in Government, Shirley Frimpong-Manso said stakeholders in the movie industry are yet to experience the new reforms in the arts sector as promised by the New Patriotic Party’s and hope it comes to light.
“THERE IS A CREATIVE ART COUNCIL AND I HAVE HAD MEETINGS WITH THEM AND WE ARE YET TO SEE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN… ELEVEN (11) MONTHS INTO IT, I’VE NOT SEEN ANYTHING. I THINK THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, ARTS AND CULTURE IS QUIET ACTIVE AND I’VE SEEN HER ENGAGE IN A LOT CONVERSATION BUT WE’RE YET TO SEE THE DEEDS AS IN THE FRUITS BECAUSE WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT THE SAME THING. RECENTLY WHEN THE BUDGET WAS READ, THERE WERE FEW PEOPLE WHO WERE QUIET ANGRY ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE WEREN’T PAID PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO SO THERE ARE STILL PROBLEMS, THE CONVERSATIONS ARE STILL HAPPENING. I’M STILL OPTIMISTIC OTHERWISE I WON’T BE ABLE TO WAKE UP IN THE MORNING.”
Commenting on possible resuscitation of the movie industry, the mother of one said she wished more cinemas will be built in communities.
“GHANAIANS LOVE TO GO OUT SO WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE THE CULTURE OF CINEMAS. EVEN FOR US AS A PEOPLE IT OPENS OUR MINDS AND OPEN OUR IMAGINATIONS.”