NAFTI: donate old films for preservation

The National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) has made a passionate appeal to the Film Producers Association to donate their 1980s and 1990s production to the institute for preservation.
“One of the sad things that is happening is that we have tried to get some of the significant films and it is proving very difficult because of technology issues,” the Rector of the institute, Prof Linus Abraham, said at the opening ceremony of this year’s NAFTI lectures on motion pictures on Monday in Accra.
“This is part of the history of this country. We need to preserve our audio-visual history. It is important that we have some of these films and store them. We have been trying to get some of these films to screen on national television but it has been difficult,” he said.
Prof Abraham observed that the country risked losing significant films from that period, if nothing was done to save the situation.
He, however, stated that the institute had a central database to store such films.
The annual NAFTI lectures which started in 2010 is among other things meant to provide both an academic and professional forum to reflect on developments in the country’s motion picture industry.
It is also meant to highlight the role film and television play in the economic and social development of the country as well as showcase Ghana’s finest filmmakers and their contributions to the industry and to discuss best practices in the film and television industry.
The occasion is also used to celebrate some of the country’s legendary filmmakers. From 2012, celebrated filmmakers, Mr Kwaw Ansah, King Ampaw and Rev Dr Chris T. Hesse were awarded for their momentous contribution to the industry in Ghana.
Yesterday, a professional workshop was held as part of activities lined for the one week event. Other programmes is a stakeholders’ forum on the Film Bill today and an awards and recognition night tomorrow, Friday.
Prof Abraham said the 2015 lectures celebrated the work of the various producers in the 1980s and 1990s, who acting as early adopters of the emerging video technology contributed significantly to sustaining and maintaining the film industry in Ghana.
“These early entrepreneurial adopters of the video technology, constituted a creative and significant group who ensured the survival and growth of the industry,” he added.
Prof Abraham urged the movie industry in Ghana to brace itself up for the re-restructuring of the industry that might come with the passage of the Film Bill.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Ms Abla Dzifa Gomashie, was optimistic that the Bill would be passed soon.      
The deputy minister, who was also the guest of honour, commended the institute for training young people, including Mr Francis Brown, whose animation, Agorkoli was making waves in Ghana and abroad.
Mr Brown’s Agorkoli has earned him over five awards including Best Animation at the Accra Francophone film Festival and Overall Best Film at the NAFTI Student Film Festival.
“This is an industry that has a wide room to accommodate everyone but we must position ourselves so that we can take it a notch higher than our godfathers have done. “
She also commended the institute for reaching out to local language movie producers as part of effort to enhance the quality of their productions.
Ms Gomashie called for a much stronger collaboration among all players of the creative arts industry, including dancers, fashion designers and the music industry.
“We need to include them in our work. They help us tell a good story. If a story is told about Ghana, in clothes that belong to Nigeria, China, and Brazil or wherever we get the clothes from, that story loses its finesse,”
The Chairman of the NAFTI Board of Governors, Prof Kofi Anyidoho, who was the chairman for the occasion, observed that film was not only the newest form of creative art but also one that called for an expansive collaboration.
“There are just so many talents and skills required for this industry to flourish,” he added.

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