Ghana’s parliament recently passed a new law for the regulation of films produced in the country’s local movie industry otherwise known as “Ghallywood.”
According to Ghana.gov, in an official press release issued last week, Ghana’s parliament passed a bill, entitled “Development and Classification of Film Bill After Its Third Reading in the House,” which repeals the Cinematography Act of 1961 and the Cinematographer Amendment Decree of 1975.
The new act seeks to provide a legal framework for the production, regulation, nurturing, and development of the Ghanaian film industry as well as for the distribution, exhibition, and marketing of films and related matters.
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The act calls for the establishment of a national film authority to promote the creation of a conductive environment for the local production, distribution, exhibition, and marketing of films.
The main objectives of the film authority includes the evolution of a dynamic, economically self-sustaining and culturally conscious film industry and the creation of a conducive environment for the local production, distribution, exhibition, and marketing of films that project the identity and image of the republic and its people within and outside the country.
The bill defines a Ghanaian film as a film that is registered with the National Film Authority and satisfies any three of the following criteria: the language used in the film is English or a Ghanaian language, has a Ghanaian producer, has a Ghanaian production team, and/or has a Ghanaian film director.
The soon-to-be-established film authority is also expected to facilitate co-production between local and foreign producers and regulate foreign participation in the Ghanaian film industry to ensure its benefit to Ghanaian film practitioners.
In addition, a national film board will be established under the act to institutionalize and enforce the culture of quality, priority, and decency in the distribution, sale, and exhibition of films and videos in the country.
The film board is empowered by the act to censor or edit content it considers indecent or offensive, including pornographic material, with Section 20 of the act stating, “The Board shall not approve for exhibition, a film it considers to be pornographic.”
Section 19 (4) rates movies as “Universal” for all categories of persons, “PG,” “12,” and “15” for parental guidance, with “12” and “15” rated films being for persons older than 12 years old and 15 years old, respectively. Movies rated an “18” are for adults only with children excluded from entering centers exhibiting such films.
Watch a trailer from Ghanaian film director, writer, and producer Shirley Frimpong-Manso:
Ghana’s local film industry has grown remarkably in the last couple of years. By incorporating influences mainly from Hollywood (the world’s biggest movie industry) and Nigeria’s Nollywood, Ghanaian movie makers have managed to create an industry that is uniquely empowered to give an authentic Ghanaian narrative with a global outlook.
Watch American-Ghanaian film director Leila Djansi’s “Like Cotton Twines” trailer:
The industry, however, continues to grapple with a number of challenges, including a lack of proper financing, limited technical resources, poor policy framework, and piracy.