Movies Tue, 31 May 2011

Gov’t Explains Seizure Of “Atta Mortuary Man” Movie

Government has explained why security operatives drawn from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) including some alleged Castle boys, carried out a Rambo-styled raid at the offices of a film producer at Opera Square near Tudu, a suburb of Accra, carting away 13,000 copies of a movie that had just been released unto the market.

Deputy Information Minister Baba Jamal says the 13,000 copies of the movie seized were because the producer did not complete censorship procedures.

The title of the intercepted movie is ‘Atta Mortuary Man’.

The name ‘Atta Mortuary Man’ became popular after the NDC’s Founder and Former President Mr. Jerry John Rawlings, made reference to an ‘Atta’ friend of his, who works in the mortuary at the 37 Military Hospital during a speech at the NDC’s Congress in Tamale in 2010.

Some persons had surmised from that reference that the Former President sought to make mockery of the sitting President Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, whom he has often criticized and described as a failure.

However, Eric Asante, producer of the said movie told PeaceFM that “Atta Mortuary Man” has no political coloration, inclination or content, except the titles and cannot fathom why the movies were seized.

“Atta Mortuary Man” is a comedy in which the lead actor, Agya Koo, playing the role of Atta, is a susu collector who after fraudulently embezzling the amounts he had collected from the residents decided to ran away from the vicinity. Finding himself in a new locality, he had to pursue other jobs for a living and settled on being a mortuary man,” he narrated.

He disclosed that the movie had been given a clean bill of health by the Ghana Cinematography Exhibition Board of Control which has the statutory mandate to evaluate contents of movies before they are aired to the public and therefore wonders why national security operatives acted in that manner.

But speaking in an exclusive interview with Kwami Sefa Kayi on PeaceFM’s flagship programme, “Kokrokoo”, the Deputy Information Minister explained that though the movie itself had been censored and approved by the Cinematography Board, its posters and adverts had not yet been scrutinised.

Baba Jamal was emphatic that “until the adverts and posters have been properly censored, the movie should not have been sold”. He added that the national security had to intervene and seize the copies to ensure that laws governing film production were strictly adhered to.

Meanwhile, another Movie Producer and Director, Mr. Kofi Asamoah, fears his new movie, titled “Oh Uncle Atta”, may be prevented from being released onto the market by National Security operatives and elements within the governing NDC.

Mr. Asamoah says although the content of his Movie has no bearing on President John Evans Atta Mills, sometimes referred to as ‘Uncle Atta’, he believes that the title may be the purpose for National Security’s action.

According to him, his fears were heightened after some persons believed to be National Security Operatives, stormed the offices of a Film Distributor and made away with all copies of a new movie that had been released by his colleague Producer.

In a related development, the Ghana Cinematography Exhibition Board of Control has described the action by the national security officers as too high-handed and unwarranted.

“This film has gone through the right process. It has come through the Board. It has been previewed and classified and it has been given permission to be put out on the open market. I again checked with the Secretariat whether anybody from the National Security contacted the Secretariat on this issue before the action that was taken, and the answer was 'No', which I feel very hurt about, because otherwise what is the purpose of the body?

"The Body is to regulate films that come into the open market and this film has gone through the process. So if anything at all, the National Security could have checked and then the Board would have made it known to them that the content of the film has no bearing on any particular person, but they didn’t and I feel very sad about that," he said.

“The Board would therefore speak to the National Security to find out why they did that because as at now, I do not know their reasons for what they did,” Mr. Ken Addy, a member of the Board told Citi News.

Source: Peacefmonline.com with some files from Citifm