The creative arts, particularly film, have an unlimited albeit untapped potential to be a primary source of direct investment – foreign and local – as well as provide exports for the nation, Yofi Grant, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) CEO, has said.
He therefore urged film-makers to take advantage of renewed local-content interest, the success of other similar ventures, and interconnectedness of the world through digital platforms to generate quality content that will rake-in good foreign exchange.
“With the quality of scripts and content we are seeing, if we put our shoulders to the wheel we will see major investments. People are willing to engage, and if we create the opportunity for them and a conducive ecosystem, they will do so.
“We are already hearing excitement from specific investors looking to put money at every point in the production value-chain, and we hope our creatives are able to take advantage of this,” he said to the B&FT on sidelines of the Pitch Series selection event jointly organised by the GIPC and National Film Authority (NFA).
To Mr. Grant, with rising urbanization, an increasing young demographic, and the expanding and emerging middle-class, quality content will be backed by investment which could see private equity and venture capital flow freely into the industry.
According to a 2018 report, Framing the Shot: Key Trends in African Film, if Sub-Saharan Africa were to follow the example of Asian giants India and China, and broadly invest in cinema infrastructure, it could achieve annual box office revenues of US$1.5billion to US$2billion – and Ghana is primly positioned to tap into the market.
On her part, Executive Secretary of the NFA Juliet Yaa Asantewaa Asante disclosed that the NFA is working on the Local Content bill, under supervision of the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture.
She added that when passed into law, this will ensure a percentage of Prime Time content, especially on television, will be local. “This bill,” she said, “will ensure that content makers get opportunities and jobs by making more content for television and other platforms.”
In view of this, she noted, the Pitch Series has been launched to raise the profile of local film makers and find opportunities for them while attracting foreign investment as well as co-productions and opportunities into the film sector to position Ghana as a film-hub in the region.
“The NFA Pitch is a pipeline facilitation project aimed at improving the entire value-chain of the film sector pipeline by taking projects from start to finish within and down the value chain – from the development stage to identifying investments and ultimately marketing and distribution of selected projects,” she added.
She also implored participants to take matters of plagiarism and contractual obligations seriously, as they are often neglected by players in the creative arts – often with dire consequences. The initiative, with support from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Multichoice Ghana, will see six projects out of 25 – from an initial pool of 100 – produced for media consumption.