Filmmaker Shirley tells gov't to walk the talk

By: Linda Safoa Antwi
Shirley Frimpong Manso
Filmmaker Shirley Frimpong Manso
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ALTHOUGH recent happenings in the movie industry are giving hope to some players that things are looking up, for filmmaker, Shirley Frimpong Manso, it would take some major move for her to be convinced that the once vibrant sector can bounce back.

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This is in spite of the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Madam Catherine Afeku finally turning her attention to the creative arts sector by holding a number of meetings with stakeholders in the movie industry.

Consultations are also ongoing across the country for the legislative Instrument to power the Film Bill and some sort of rebranding has been done with the industry getting a new name, Gollywood.

However, Shirley Frimpong Manso, who is one of the best filmmakers to come out of this country and has been part of the stakeholder meetings, believes government has not done enough in addressing the challenges of the movie industry.

“To be honest, when it comes to the film industry, it’s been too much talk and little action. Before they come into power, politicians talk a lot and make a lot of promises but when they come to power, there are no results.

“They come and use the creative people; the musicians, actors and others and yet when the time comes to act, not much is done. Things are worse off in the movie industry now and government needs to do better for us,” she told Showbiz on Monday.

Spend a few minutes with Shirley and you will realise just how passionate she is about the creative arts industry and her determination to see it succeed.

And that is why she is so pained at the neglect the industry has suffered at the hands of successive governments.

Shirley is of the belief that players in the industry have done enough to draw government’s attention.

“Over the years, we have proven that we are capable of doing this with the little resources we have. Although things were not perfect in the past, we did it anyway because we wanted to show that we could do it. And I believe we have done enough, the English movie industry has shown that, Kumawood has done so too.

“There are talented creative people who are getting recognition both home and abroad, the AMVCAs and AMAAs we have won have shown we are capable of competing at the highest level and we were hoping that government would notice.

“We have spoken to government, we have tried to entice them but nothing has happened. There are no polices in place to protect the industry and the little we have left; we allow every foreign content onto our screens and expect that local producers still compete. Nobody seems to care,” Shirley said.

For Shirley, addressing the creative industry’s problems requires some decisiveness. “I have heard that government says that we need to come together as one body so we can work at the issues we have as one unit but what they don’t get is that, what we have done has been on an individual basis.

“There are some of us who do this because we are creatively interested, some also do it because they believe in Ghana and want to sell the country and others even do it just for money so asking us all to come together is never going to happen.

“What can happen is that, you can select some people from the English side and from Kumawood and use them as a blueprint to build something like has been done in other industries.

“When government starts something and makes everyone aware that this is the direction we are all going, everyone will fall in line and then we can go on from there.

“So government just needs to start something, they need to find the right people and when the blueprint is in place, we can look at making progress,” Shirley added.