Last year, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a 14-member committee, spearheaded by multiple-award winning filmmaker, Leila Djansi, to select a film to represent Ghana at the 90th Oscars which will run in 2018.
Following the guidelines of the Academy, the committee, made of up of members of the various guilds in the Ghana film industry, journalists, actors, film professionals, members of the media, government and academia, was tasked to select from open submissions one film for nomination into the category of ‘Foreign Language Oscars’
The basic rule of the Foreign Language Oscar category is that the film must be in a Ghanaian language, meet laid down technical specifications and capture the true essence of Ghana, as well as meet world filmmaking standards.
Workshop To Prep Filmmakers For Submission Of Movies
The Oscars have a very strict regime for submission of films. The Foreign Language Selection Committee therefore held a workshop in Ghana in June 2017 with resource persons who took filmmakers through the submission process.
Unfortunately, there was a dismal representation of active and notable Ghanaian filmmakers at the workshop.
Submitted Movies Could Not Meet Requirement
At the end of the day, Ghana was not represented at the 2018 Oscars, because the Ghana Foreign Language Committee could not nominate any of the films submitted.
The Chairman of the Committee, Professor Linus Abraham, announced that none of the three films: ‘Children of the Mountain’, ‘Na Me Nim’ and ‘Black Monkey’ – submitted, met the requirements for the Foreign Language Oscars.
According to Professor Abraham, the committee detected various anomalies with the submissions of all three films, “and so the committee had no choice but to disqualify them, to preserve the integrity of the committee and of Ghana’s participation in the Oscars.”
Out of the three films submitted, Professor Abraham noted that although one movie was outstanding with the potential of being nominated, it did not meet the Academy’s release requirements.
Any film submitted must have first been released in its country of origin, theatrically for seven consecutive days before its VOD release. The said film fell short of that requirement.
Also, the submitted films failed to use the committee’s standards of submission, which required submitting the films via film freeway as well as supplying the Committee with 20 DVD copies.
Ghana Will Not Be Represented At 2019 Oscars
Presspeep.com reached out to Miss Leila Djansi (Founder – Turning Point Pictures) via Facebook (Messenger) to find out if the committee has started receiving movies for selection for Oscars 2019.
“No. 2018 is out” she said. She continued that “there is no film this year because the committee would like to reconstitute its membership as some members are inactive. The submission process in 2017 was chaotic and the committee needs to address that anomaly and present a strong front when submissions open in June 2019.”
In a sanguine posture, Miss Djansi said “the Academy will open committee approvals in March. Once every member is vetted, we open submissions in June. The committee needs to be reconstituted because there are a number of inactive members and also, filmmakers are not adhering to the rules or methods of submission. So we need to figure out a method of submission that everyone understands.”
She however bemoaned the fact that Ghanaian “filmmakers don’t listen. Anyone can submit to the oscars a foreign language film. But to actually be selected is a whole other thing. The committee doesn’t have an office, so submissions have to be online and a hard copy delivered to NAFTI librarian or some other place we decide. But they don’t listen. They try to circumvent the system.
“The films need to do qualifying festivals, press, and be good and done right. That’s how to get selected. But when you advise, they don’t take it. It’s very exhausting.”
This makes it twice, Ghana’s failure to go to the Oscars, a rare privilege, caused by our own unpreparedness. We hope to get there someday.
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.
Source: This reportage was exclusively featured on Ytainment with permission from Osarfo Anthony of PRESSPEEP.COM