Ghana's movie industry hijacked by non-professionals – Diabolo Man

Highly acclaimed Ghanaian movie producer, writer, director, and actor Bob Smith Jnr, popularly known as Diabolo Man, has said Ghana’s movie industry has been hijacked by unprofessional actors, directors, and writers.

The Diabolo Man said this in an interview with Chrystal Kwami-Aryee on Simply Showbiz on TV3, Saturday, March 26.

When asked why the Ghanaian movie industry is facing a downturn in patronage and acclaim in modern times, he answered that “the coincidence is that, I will say the industry has been hijacked by unprofessionals unfortunately, as a two time executive of the Film Producers Association, we have always complained. We ask ourselves, what can we do? But then when we have to go back in retrospect, you can tell that when we started videos in the late ‘80s, NAFTI was not approving the productions we were doing”.

“One, Because we were not trained as filmmakers and then two, because we were breaking new grounds and we were using videos that the professionals thought was not too professional to use. They were doing celluloid, but you see, at that time, celluloid when you have finished your shooting, just making a print of your movie was about 10,000-pound sterling, you have to send it to a studio in London in order to make your own print out of it” he pointed out.

“So it means that at that time we could use that 10,000-pound sterling to make about fifty movies in videos, so slowly we experimented and then NAFTI realized something in it and then professionalized it. Then at that time we also went training ourselves in reading and going deeper into New York Film Academy and got professionalized”.

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He went on to say that “now at this stage, we can tell that there are people outside Accra, there are the Kumawoods and so many places, people are doing it somewhere in the Volta, Western Region and so on. What they are doing is, there is a production house, they start shooting, make one or two movies and some people working with them, also think they have under-studied what is being done and they think they are okay, they have learned what is done so they also break away, next time they are making their own movies. They can stand in this area and within a day or two finish a movie and give it a title”.

“So it’s unfortunate that we don’t know who is on set somewhere making a movie, they make those cheap, low-budget movies and release them. So juxtaposing such low-budget movies and then yours that is high budget, there will be difficulty in selling, the first time somebody saw a Ghanaian movie, he might have seen that shoddy job and then wants to see the professional one, he tells himself: No Ghanaian movies are trash and unfortunately people have done that”.

“If I want to do a movie now, I won’t put in less than GHC70,000, if I put in so much money doing something professional, how do I recoup my cost, that is my question. So I tell myself, let’s do the series and TV and wait for the enabling environment to come before we probably do the high budget ones” he pointed.

He ended by saying that he has four solid scripts waiting for the right time to produce them into classic movies before he retires to pension.

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By Barima Kwabena Yeboah||Ghana