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The rise of Ghana's animation features

The rise of Ghana's animation features

Ghana

A new crop of animators and cartoonists in Ghana are sparing no effort to put Ghana on the map when it comes to the genre.

The story of animation dates back to the 1890s and it developed alongside the mainstream motion picture industry.

But in Ghana, when the thriving film industry kicked off in the 1940s, it was without animation.

You should be able to create your own job and I think animation is a new venture and if you have your artistic instincts in check you can probably venture into it.

Over the years, young animators and cartoonists in the west African nation are have been trained chiefly by the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), which also trained most of the country’s top television and film professionals.

The works produced by these students have however remained largely academic works which are screened only at the film school during students week celebrations and at seminars.

As a result, many of the graduates tend to focus on feature films or television after school leading to a void in taste for home made animated films.

But the trend is changing now thanks to the efforts of young people like Louis Appiah and Francis Yushau Brown who have created a job for other animation enthusiasts like themselves.

“If you take your mind back to the early 90s where we had Ghanaian animation and compared it to the animations we were seeing from the western world, there was a huge difference,” Appiah says, “but now you can probably go on the internet and find a lot of animations from Africa (and) you don’t even know that it was made in Ghana or any other African country.”

Animation studios are springing up fast across the country.

Francis Yushau Brown runs his ANIMAX studios from his living room.

Surrounded by computers and tablets, he and his team bring to life all manner of concepts and images.

“Our main aim at Animax FYB studios is actually to create content in-house content for the public consumption, so be it short films, feature films, series and all that,” Francis explained to Africanews.

Francis Brown has so far won several international awards and being nominated for others for his works such as AGRADAA, BEGGAR and AGORKOLI.

Louis Appiah’s LOUICAGE studios which recently made history by premiering the first full length animated film in the Ghanaian capital says people should be able to create jobs for themselves.

“You should be able to create your own job and I think animation is a new venture and if you have your artistic instincts in check you can probably venture into it.”

Communication specialist and fashion designer, Nana Darkoa Sekyiarmah relies on animated images to reach out to her clients.

This is because for her, such “communication package is really suited for the internet age. People will share it on their facebook, they share it on their twitter, they share it on instagram. It makes it very easy for you to assess the impact, because you can actually track, you can actually see how many times people have shared the post.”

With animation proving a viable source of employment and a prefered medium of putting information across to the public, there is no doubt about the future of the genre in the west African nation.

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