Entertainment of 2014-01-11

Juliet Asante believes in Ghana film school and African movies

Juliet Asante; a Harvard University graduate, an entrepreneur, a women's rights advocate, a contributor to the Huffington Post and a lover of film making believes the African film industry has the potential to surpass itself and surprise many a sceptic.
The actress, producer director and writer said this in a conversation we had about her firm Eagle Productions Limited and its latest brand; Mobile Fliks, with which she is embarking on the production of 5-10 minutes long film for adaptation to mobile phones.
During our chat we talked about the African film making industry with reference to Nollywood; the Nigerian movie industry, which is the second largest in the world today. She also shed some light on Ghana's National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI).
As an entrepreneur, Juliet still has hopes for NAFTI and believes it could reach higher and churn more quality productions and students if the public and private sectors step in to help improve its infrastructure quickly to enable it relive its glory days.
NAFTI could be saved if the fact that its standards needs improving is recognized quickly and appropriately remedied to enable it become one of the best film schools in Africa again she believes.
Even though governments in Africa are not equipped with the expertise to help develop the movie making industry, Juliet believes they can still play a major role in its growth by providing an enabling environment within which the industry can thrive.
This can be done by showing some level of interest and also making it less tedious and cumbersome for players in the sector to access resources like loans and other things needed to take the industry to where it really belongs--the top.
A lot of Africa's stories have not been told, especially by Africans and in reference to a personal example, Juliet mentions her attempts to make a biopic on the life and legacy of Yaa Asantewaa, an Ashanti female warrior who lived through 1840 to 1921. She was appointed Queen Mother of Ejisu in then Ashanti Empire of now Ghana.
Recalling her experience, Juliet explained how she simply could not find enough materials to build the story in the way she really wanted it to be and how the mere lack of information was enough to kill her desire to tell the story of Yaa Asantewaa. Juliet was named after the Queen Mother who in the 1900's led the Ashanti rebellion against the British in the fight to protect the legendary Golden Stool.
In praise of Nollywood, the Harvard graduate acknowledged it has done such a great job of disseminating a lot of African contents into the international movie world. Juliet believes Africa can do further by investing in telling a lot more of the stories about the positives and greats of the continent that the West is oblivious about.
With the right people in place and the desire for change, the movie industry in Africa has the potential to even surprise its expectations because these are exciting times for the continent and we must seize the moment and opportunity to shine in all aspects she said.