The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has approved a 14-member committee to select a film to represent Ghana at the 90th Oscars which will run in 2018.
Following the guidelines of the Academy, the committee is tasked to select from open submissions one film to be the official film from Ghana at the awards. In 1969, Algeria became the first African country to win an Academy Award, this was followed in 1976 by Ivory Coast with the film Black and White in Color.
African countries and films represented at the Academy Awards in the past have included Tsotsi from South Africa, Lamb from Ethiopia, Timbuktu from Mauritania. South Africa, Ivory Coast, Algeria and Mauritania went ahead to win foreign language Oscars.
Leila Djansi, who spearheaded the committee selection and submission to the Academy explained the motivation behind the move saying :”Since 2011, Films from Ghana and made by Ghanaians have successfully travelled the festival circuit by merit, with 2016 being our most successful year yet. It is time to tell a different story about Ghana and Africa. The Hollywood narrative has been poverty porn, HIV and war.”
“We can best tell of our brave men and women who we meet in our daily lives. Regular people, regular heroes, whether it is a woman with a deformed child, or women atoning for crimes of their families, men who leave their dreams to take care of their homes. These are everyday heroes and if we don’t tell the truth about these people, the world will continue to believe the lies. The Oscars is the ultimate pedestal, we’ll use that to show the world our Africa,” she continued.
The committee is made of up members of the various guilds in the Ghana film industry, journalists, actors, film professionals, members of the media, government and academia. Ms. Akofa Djankui, the Academy approved secretary of the committee is confident of very free and fair selection processes and encourages filmmakers to start preparing their films for submissions.
The basic rule of the foreign language Oscar category is that film must be in a Ghanaian language and capture the true essence of Ghana as well as meet world filmmaking standards. In collaboration with Ghana Academy of Film and Television Arts (GAFTA), the committee will hold a workshop to educate filmmakers on the submission process and filmmaking standards.
Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the workshop and prepare their films for submission. Foreign Oscars are awarded to the country, not the individual and as such, the committee hopes the various film guilds, government organizations and corporate bodies in Ghana will support filmmakers and filmmaking in Ghana.