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Ghallywood Rescues The Movie Industry

By Daily Guide

THE GHALLYWOOD Film Academy, a film training institute, is poised to change the face of the movie industry in Ghana and beyond.

In line with this ambition, Ghallywood collaborated with the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and trained 500 youth across the country in different disciplines of the movie industry.

These students, who passed out last year, are currently engaged in various productions in their respective communities while about 450 are also currently receiving training at the Ghallywood African Film village located on the Accra- Ada road in the Greater Accra region.

According to the Director of the Ghallywood Film Academy, William Akuffo, who is one of the pioneers of video movie productions in the country, after receiving the training from the academy, the students, usually in groups from different districts, were presented with start-up packages made up of cameras, computers, editing and lighting equipment, to enable them go back to their communities and start some work.

He said the idea behind the Ghallywood Academy was to train the younger ones who had taken to the movie industry to acquire the proper way to do things, adding that 'when we started, we put the cart before the horse and we realized that things were not done properly.'

He said, 'What we are doing now is teaching them how to fish and not just giving them fish; it is important for them as youth in the industry to have the basic training to help them in the profession. In our time most of the films we made were mediocre and it is time to go professional.'

According to him, Ghallywood was currently reviving some of the old television drama groups, notably 'Mr. Mensah', saying six episodes had already been shot and would soon start running on our local television screens.

The academy, sited on a 210 acre land, also runs an orphanage with about 34 kids who are put through school and given all the care they need.

Launched in 2005, Ghallywood started its film academy about two years ago and currently has a number of structures in place at its film village for effective teaching and learning, with the academy employing some of the best lecturers in the industry.

The school has two foreign teachers, one from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the other from Hollywood, while some of the veteran and experienced Ghanaian teachers include Evans Omar Hunter, Abeiku Sagoe, and a few from the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), with which the film academy has some collaboration.

The Ghallywood Film academy runs courses in film directing, digital editing, camera work, lighting and make-up.

To further ensure effective teaching and learning, the academy has well-equipped classrooms for production personnel and actors as well as hostels for both male and female students, and teachers' residence.

According to Mr. Akuffo, 'It's not about the name of the school but what goes on in there,' adding that he was aware a few people had issues with the name.

In honour of those who have contributed to the arts and entertainment industry, some of the streets in the school have been named after these people, who include Grace Nortey, Reggie Rockstone, Kwaw Ansah, George Williams, Ataa Mensah and Alhaji Sidiku Buari.

Mr. Akuffo expressed the hope that the Ghallywood Film Academy would become one of the leading film training institutes on the continent and change the face of the movie industry in Africa.