Funmi Onuma, Country Manager of Silverbird Cinemas Ghana, has debunked the myth that Ghanaian films are ‘low grade’ and noncompetitive.
According to the country manager who spoke with Graphic Showbiz about cinema patronage after its reopening in July last year, the incorrect perception has taken root due to poor sponsorship and a lack of investment in the film sector.
She noted that the vibrancy of other film industries had been made possible by large investments by governments and corporate entities, and she expressed hope that such support would be extended to Ghanaian film productions.
“It is never true that Ghanaian films are of poor quality or that the industry is dying.”
At the very least, the number of quality Ghanaian films that have premiered at Silverbird Cinemas since its reopening in July of last year demonstrates this.
“However, the industry lacks the necessary sponsorship and investment.”
A good script cannot be well interpreted without a good production, which costs money.
“But here in Ghana, that support is not so strong and so film producers have no choice than to finance their projects with their own budget.
“I really wish that the corporate institutions will see the need to invest in the film industry since the industry is showing lots of promise,” she said.
President Nana Akufo Addo announced the opening of cinemas in July of last year, but the cinemas, including Silverbird, did not open until March of this year.
Aloe Vera, Coming to Africa, Drops of Happiness, Galamsey, God is African, Happy Surprise, Red Carpet, Savannah, Shemale, Terminus, The men we love, The Return of Jamal, Till Sunset, and Tito are among the films that have premiered at Silverbird Cinemas since its reopening.
Ms Funmi Onuma named the top three Ghanaian films that premiered at Silverbird as The Men We Love, Happy Surprise, and Red Carpet.
“These films drew a lot of attention, and if Ghanaian films were truly bad, they wouldn’t have done so well.”
“Ghanaian movies are changing in terms of content, with storylines shifting toward real-life issues to which the average Ghanaian can relate.
“”We just need to believe in our abilities and not dismiss all of the industry’s potential,” she added.
COVID-19’s devastating effects on various sectors of the economy cannot be overstated.
With the creative industry being one of the hardest hit, cinemas were not immune to its outlandish effects.
Ms Funmi Onuma revealed that Silverbird Cinemas lost more than $20 million in value during the period.
She stated that the company is still in recovery mode because the pandemic caused a major setback, including having some of their operational equipment locked up for months.
“The cinema industry suffered a significant setback as a result of COVID-19 because the factories from which we source our equipment were closed in China and theaters were not permitted to sell their products.”
“Products were not even ready to be released to the market at one point because there were no workers to install the equipment.
“”Most of our products are still in stock and have yet to be sold, causing significant damage to the industry,” she explained.
Despite the pressing challenges, Funmi stated that Silverbird Cinemas was planning a successful 13th anniversary celebration in Ghana.
“By November, we will have been in Ghana for 13 years, so we have come a long way in supporting the industry to the best of our ability and hope for more collaborations in the future.”
“Once again, we are considering expanding to other locations, which is in the works,” she said.