This may come across as a joke but controversial Ghanaian filmmaker Socrates Sarfo says he is thinking about quitting filmmaking because he is no longer making profit from the movies due to unprofessional activities in the industry. He told NEWS-ONE’s Francis Addo that he is now into the production of a liquid soap called Soc Liquid Soap.
Where has Mr.Socrates Sarfo been hiding?
I am not hiding. I sleep at home where I live with my family and go to work at my office.
We have not seen much of you since last year. Have you stopped producing movies?
I’m fasting and praying that I will have the courage to stop because it’s abnormal to me when you are dealing in an environment made up of abnormal thinking people.
You mean the industry or the country as a whole?
The film industry in Ghana, I mean.
Why do you say they think abnormally?
They are not smart. I think the problem is either the food they eat or the water they drink. I wonder why they can’t add a simple 1+1 to get a simple answer. How come in a population of 25 million we can’t easily sell 100, 000 copies of a movie to break even?
What exactly do you want them to do?
Everyone is losing money, yet it looks like they are just happy to get a camera and a group of wannabe actors, then a story and then they shoot a movie, then they head straight to TV stations and beg for it to be shown on TV. They are only happy to see it being shown on TV but they don’t think of how to raise money to pay their production cost.
The distributors also get the films from you and give them out to people who hold themselves as retailers without capital for free and the producer is ignored and denied his money…Kwasiasem!
What do you think is causing the problem and how do we arrest it?
I’m tired. There is nothing new to tell them.
What has FIPAG done about it?
I’ve said all that needs to be told to sensible people but they don’t get it. For years I have been talking about systems and structures. We need to put them in their proper places, yet they don’t get it. So I won’t be stupid to go down with them.
Sounds like you are really angry about this?
I am not angry, I’m tired.
What structures do you propose?
I’ve told them all that already. How does one get to be a producer? What structures are there for exploration of the works and distribution channels needed to be fixed?
Which movie did you last produce?
I am now into soap production. Soc Liquid Soap is what I’m into now. It’s for washing and cleaning.
So are you seriously stopping filmmaking?
Should I write it in English for you to understand?
I hear the problem is the sale of movies.
Many people are watching films now but they are not watching what we are selling, just tune to any TV channel and you can watch film for free so why buy with money.
Has the problem with movie sales got something to do with the general economic challenge in the country?
No no no, don’t bring economy into this. It’s that we are giving it out for free on TV, so they don’t see the need to pay for it. Have people stop buying pure water?
Don’t you think it will be unfair to compare the two?
If you create the interest for it by advertising, people will go for it but when it can be accessed for free why should someone use money to buy? That’s my point.
But Socrates, I think some people like Abdul Salam are still making movies? And I believe they are making money.
My wife has even stopped driving to opera to collect films from the shop for free because she gets them for free on TV. How much more someone who buys with money?
You used the right expression, ‘Believe they are making money.’ As for making films you can but how about making your money back? As for me I will be truthful with the facts. I’m not making money anymore if someone chooses to brag about himself, fine; that’s his or her problem.
Are you saying some people are only bragging and not making money as we are being told?
I am speaking about myself. I don’t know about others.
Socrates, do you think the best way is to opt out of the industry?
For now, that is the sensible thing any smart person will do. I am not Hercules to take the whole industry on my shoulders and force them to do things right. I don’t believe in luck; I rely on strategic planning.
Socrates, tell readers about yourself.
I’m a native of Kwahu Abetifi in the Eastern Region of Ghana. I was born in Accra, attended Amamomo-1 Primary, then to Ayalolo-1 Boys Middle, then to Mercedes Benz GNTC Technical Institute. I grew up on the streets of Bukom. Fortunately, I am gainfully married to a woman that God prepared for a man like me.
Your wife is a Pastor.
It’s her prayers that keep me going and it takes a special kind of woman to manage a man like me and take care of my four stubborn children-three boys and a girl.
Did you ever feature any of your children in your movies?
I will never advise or allow any of my children to go into movies.
Where is Baby Blanche?
She is in her house, I believe.
When did you officially start filmmaking?
We finished shooting on July 1, 1986 and managed to release it on May 3, 1988 at the Globe Cinema.