Don’t give filmmakers free cash – Leila Djansi tells Nana Addo

Entertainment of Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Source: Francis Addo


Leila CameraLeila Djansi

Ghanaian filmmaker of international repute, Leila Djansi, has said one of the best options for government to support the country’s film industry is to set up grant in the form of a loan scheme that filmmakers can access rather than hand them free cash.

Also, she said stakeholders need government’s support to train themselves through workshops, taking up film courses, among others.

Leila made the call through a message on her Facebook page addressed at President Nana Akufo-Addo. She suggested that the president needs not to give free money to filmmakers to do film.

According to her, filmmakers are most likely to abuse and misuse any such money unless it is a loan they are to repay or lose their valuable collateral.

With a loan, she said the filmmakers would pay back so they would make judicious use of it.

Interestingly, top celebrated Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson agreed with Leila Djansi on her advice to the president, as she also shared Leila’s post on Facebook.

“DON’T DO IT! #PresNanaAddo aka #NADAA, do not give Ghana filmmakers any money for filmmaking! Don’t do it! If you give them a free 100,000ghc for example 70,000 will be used for car, trips abroad for IG pix, living large parties and 30,000 will be used to make a film that goes to Silverbird and Iroko or Ibaka or DSTV and end of story! The car money will go back to the west since we don’t make cars and the trips will be U.K. Or US. Still no money for Ghana. And that fund will dry up because we don’t have any film levies or taxes,” Leila said on Facebook.

Instead, she said Nana Addo should “set up a low interest loan scheme for filmmakers which they can access with a collateral (assets, lien on the film or distribution deal from a reputable company). Yes, my dear filmmakers! There are distributors like Canal Plus and Côte Ouest, even Iroko, I’m sure, who will pre buy your film, thus they pay your loan back once you deliver the film. This way, money turns around in the economy. And this money should not be given in bulk but disbursements after each stage of production and proof.”

She went on to say that there should be “treaties with film strong nations so Ghana filmmakers can access grants and fellowships, as well as strong laws on piracy. Prison time or public flogging (laughs) for anyone caught with a pirated film. TV stations showing pirated films should be suspended forthwith!! Block all torrent sites in Ghana. People should understand and practise the art of buying content.”

According to her, there are enough awards already and there is the need for “more workshops, create an enabling environment for collaborative filmmaking.”

She also advocated selling brand Ghana and its locations, saying, “We have amazing locations. Make them visible to the world so Ghana will become a location choice.”

Leila also reiterated the need for education for the crew, hinting, “NAFTI has short programmes, participate!

“Ghana film board/office should start going to festivals and hold panels. Tell the stakeholders about the endless possibilities. Invite investors and show them you’re ready with good crew, ready to work and become cast, hardworking staff, and an ‘it’s all about the project’ attitude,” she indicated will wake Ghana’s film industry from its long slumber.