Movie critics reject the name Gollywood; suggest Anansekrom, others

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A lot of dissenting views have poured in since ‘Gollywood’ was unveiled last week as the official name for Ghana’s film industry.

The naming has re-ignited the old debate of how to call the local film industry.

The unveiling was done in the presence of some stakeholders in the movie industry comprising the leadership of the various groups of the movie sector.

Present at the programme were the President of Ghana Actors Guild, Samuel Fiscian, the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Lulu Xingwana, former President of the Musician’s Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) Alhaji Sidiku Buari, among others.

Film producers Socrate Sarfo (Movie Africa), Abdul Salam Mumuni (Venus Films), Paul Adjei (Paul Gee) and actors like Fiifi Coleman, Nadia Buari, Jackie Appiah, Ken Fiati and Naana Hayford also attended the summit.

This happened at the launch of the Ghana 60 Years on Film Summit which was held on July 12, 2018, at the Accra International Conference Centre.

However, a lot of movie fans and aficionados have expressed dissatisfaction with the name.

Gollywood takes after America’s Hollywood, India’s Bollywood and Nigeria’s Nollywood.

Movie makers like Socrate Safo (currently Director of Projects and Programmes at the Commission on National Culture), film maker Michael Kweku Ola, Music Producer Kwesi Ernest, Broadcaster Kojo Preko Dankwah have all spoken riled the decision.

They believe that the framers of the name did not do the right consultation from the right people.

However, Mr. Richard Boateng (President of Film Directors Guild of Ghana) who was the Chairman of the committee for the summit, has intimated that the decision was taken by the leaders of the various film groups whose views are representative of their members.

Richard Boateng (Mr. India)

“All the groups have reps on the committee who presented a lot of names and we finally arrived at ‘Gollywood.’ Who are those complaining? Are they members of any of the associations? I did not choose the name alone. It is a consensus by all the associations,” he told citinewsroom.com.

Would Osarfo Anthony’s Anansekrom gel?

Few years ago some entertainment critics suggested names like Ghallygold and Ghallywood. Ghallywood could not be adopted even though it was used unofficially.

It was a registered name for William Akuffo’s school – Ghallywood Academy of Film Acting.

Arts writer Osarfo Anthony, in 2012 proposed Anansekrom but it was shot down by some critics including arts writer Mic Yamoah who also mooted GhanaCine.

Osarfo Anthony – Arts writer

According to Osarfo, Ananse, the cunning protagonist in Ghanaian folktales is an important character that can best represent the industry.

“Ananse, is a fictional character around whom most of Ghana’s folktale or storytelling revolves. Folktale is the oldest origin of our literal storytelling and has evolved to novels, play or theatrical performances and now, on-screen storytelling, popularly known as movies or motion pictures (as Hollywood terms it).

It therefore makes perfect sense to brand our movie industry with the name of such a character whose name and stories are deeply rooted in our storytelling history and has also lingered on for more than five millenniums and is still relevant in today’s generation,” he posited.

“Anansekrom because it has got a strong Google search authority. Just type ‘who or what is Anansekrom’ or even search ‘who is Ananse’ – and see if Ghana will not register.

You are also most likely to see focus keywords like: Ananse, Anansi, Folktale, folklore character, Ghanaian folklore legend, Myth and Legends, and the likes,” he added.

Mic Yamoah shoots down Anansekrom, suggests GhanaCine

In an article arts writer and lecturer Mic Yamoah wrote in about seven years ago, he rebuffed Osarfo Anthony’s proposition and suggested another name – GhanaCine.

“The most worrying issue for me which I know will crop up once any attempt is made to formalise Anansekrom will be the ethnic factor. Issues of Anansekrom being an Akan name cannot be taken for granted. A lot of meanings will be read into the choice of the name. May be recollections of some recent developments in Ghana will help make my point clearer:

Daily Guide, Sep. 27, 2011— Chiefs of the La Traditional Area have appealed to government especially the Ministry of Tourism to use the Ga word for ‘welcome’ to greet visitors at the Kotoka International Airport instead of ‘Akwaaba,’ the Akan version of the word currently being used…. For a long time, people coming into Ghana have been greeted by the word ‘Akwaaba’ written on a huge sign in front of the airport.

Citifmonline, Sep. 28, 2011— “The Akwaaba is a certain ethnic language and where the airport is situated belongs to a certain tribe, so what we all need to know is that where the airport is situated now is for the Ga Dangme people… Akwaaba has been projected for a very long time and we need to project other languages so we should just add Mo hee.

Mic further stated that he believed it was not necessary to couch a name in our language.

“A name for the industry, if it is necessary at all, I don’t believe must necessarily be in any of our local languages- but must be one that should readily be identifiable to Ghana. I don’t have any suggestions yet, but to avoid all unnecessary politicising and ethnocentricism, we may consider SPIDERHOOD, if we are uncomfortable with the ‘wood’ or simply GhanaCine!”

Should it have been David Dontoh’s ‘Nyamedua’?

Veteran actor David Dontoh, in 2013 suggested on Koforidua-based Vision FM that Nyamedua (God’s tree) be used, and that it was not necessary to follow the ‘wood’ trend which has been established by the American movie industry (Hollywood).

He said the suffix ‘wood’ connotes negativity [dead tree].

David Dontoh – actor

So he wanted the industry to use Nyamedua which means [God’s tree]. Nyamedua is a certain tree that has a long life span.

“When we talk about wood, it is a dead tree. Why do we go for something that is dead? When you use ‘Nyamedua’ one would be curious to know what it is and that will sell the ‘industry’ better,” these were his words.

‘Gollywood’ already exists, we want ‘Ghana Film Industry’ – Ola Michael

Ola Michael is a film maker and a former Public Relations Officer of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG).

In a recent post on Facebook, he made reference to a wikipedia material which states that Gollywood already exists as name for one of the movie industries in India.

“Gujarati cinema, informally referred to as Dhollywood or Gollywood, is the Gujarati language film industry. It is one of the major regional and vernacular film industries of the cinema of India, having produced more than one thousand films since its inception. During the silent film era, many individuals in the industry were Gujaratis.

The language-associated industry dates back to 1932, when the first Gujarati talkie, Narsinh Mehta, was released. Until the independence of India in 1947, only twelve Gujarati films were produced. There was a spurt in film production in the 1940s focused on saint, sati[A] or dacoit stories as well as mythology and folktales.

Ola Michael – film maker

In 1950s–1960s, the trend continued with the addition of films on literary works. In the 1970s, the Government of Gujarat announced a tax exemption and subsidies which resulted in an increase in the number of films, but the quality declined.

Bollywood, the sobriquet for the Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai (then called Bombay), inspired the nickname Dhollywood for the Gujarati film industry due to its profuse use of the dhol, a double-headed drum. It is also referred to as Gollywood, a portmanteau derived from Gujarat and Bollywood. (Source; Wikipedia)

He has also suggested that since Kwame Nkrumah named Ghana’s movie industry as ‘Ghana Film Industry,’ there was the need to go for that, than pick any other name.

As the debate billows, another question being asked is how this rebranding is going to reflect in the improvement of Ghana’s film industry when the systems and structures are not in place.

By: Kwame Dadzie/citinewsroom.com/Ghana