Hot Issues | 20 May 2010 07:50 CET

Ghanaians’ invasion of Nollywood: Practitioners React

By Benjamin Njoku

Reactions and counter reactions have continued to trail the recent alarm raised by Nollywood practitioners on the invasion of the industry by Ghanaian actors. HVP sought the views of practitioners, and from our findings, Nollywood may be heading for trouble if the issue is not properly handled.

Some of the practitioners who spoke to our correspondent blamed producers for engaging the services of Ghanaians at the expense of the local actors owing to the lower fees allegedly charge by Ghanaian actors, amongst other reasons, while many others do not see anything wrong with the development.

Blame our producers, directors– Alex Eyengho, ANCOP president
We have sold our birth right to Ghanaians. All of a sudden, our producers and directors no longer see anything good in Nigeria, in terms of location and in our storylines.

In fact, some of our major producers and directors have relocated to Ghana, while very many others are busy signing different MOUs with Ghanaian marketers.

Some are even getting sponsorship from Ghanaian executive producers and marketers. I think we must blame our producers and directors who, in my view, have sold their birthrights to the Ghanaian marketers. Otherwise, there shouldn't have been any basis for comparison between our actors and the Ghanaians'.

Our actors and actresses are celebrated globally than their Ghanaian counterparts. So, what is the attraction in Ghanaian actors? Our practitioners, particularly the producers, must be blamed for this ugly development and by extension, the directors too.

The directors are employed by the producers to accomplish their wish for whatever attraction they see in Ghanaian actors.

I have not seen any attraction whatsoever that would make me want to use them more in my films. Except for Jackie Appiah and Van Vicker, I don't know of any other Ghanaian actor that I can deem fit to feature in my movie. Talents are bound here.

We have all the A-list actors and actresses that can stand on their own in any part of the African countries and across the world.

These are actors and actresses who have their fan base both locally and internationally. Why should I prefer to use foreigners in their place. I think, there's need for re-orientation of our practitioners to continue to see something good in our artistes.

I have not been tempted to feature any Ghanaian actor or actress in my movies, and I will never be tempted to do so. There's no bases for comparison here, so why should I be tempted. I cannot even write my scripts around Ghanaian movie stars, while I'm faced with problem of choice in Nigeria; artistes who can interprete my scripts and roles perfectly well as a film maker.

For marketing purposes or to open-up the market, as businessmen, yes, a producers can decide to feature one or two of Ghanaian or Kenyan stars in his movie. There's no problem with that. Naturally, from business perspective, Ghanaian audience will be happy to be exposed to films, where their local stars are featured. But from the artistic perspective, there's no basis for comparison.

*Alex Eyengho is the president of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers(ANCOP) and former Secretary-General of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP).

Nollywood stars are to blame– Emma Isikaku, FVPMA president.

It's true. But we must blame our local stars. It's the making of Nollywood practitioners themselves. Nollywood actors and actresses gave room for this development.

*Emmanuel Isikaku is a Nollywood producer of 13 years, and president of the Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria.

It's jealousy – Dakore Egbuson, actress

“Honestly speaking, there is an element of jealousy among the Nigerian actors over the fact that Ghanaians are invading our industry.

I don't see anything wrong with it, considering that this trend is new and people would always be skeptical about something new in the beginning. Personally, I don't have any problems with that, for the fact that we are all Africans.” Dakore Egbuson

She said it was rather unfortunate this new trend started when she decided to take a break and concentrate on raising funds for her upcoming TV Talk Show. “I'm yet to act alongside any Ghanaian actor”, Dakore told newsmen in Ghana.

The actress whose first visit to Ghana was some four years ago took a break from acting two and half years ago to concentrate on what she used to do before veering into acting which is presenting programmes on television.

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