In a resounding call to harness Africa's rich cultural tapestry, filmmakers across the continent are being urged to pool their resources and collaborate effectively to propel growth.
This call echoes louder as Ghana plays host to the inaugural African Cinema Summit, aimed at revitalizing the cinematic landscape to generate wealth.
Africa, with its rich cultural, historical, and social diversity, has a film legacy that dates back to the emigration era.
However, the industry has struggled to reflect an accurate portrayal of its cultures, often being relegated to mere backdrops for Western narratives.
A challenge which underscores the need for change.
"It’s time for Africa to assert its voice on the global cinema stage," Edward Moukala the head of UNESCO Accra office: said.
"Let us save this comment to foster collaboration, share resources and unit in our commitment to create a vibrant African film industry".
"Tell a story that resonates"
The 3-day African Cinema Summit in Accra delved into the intricacies, challenges, and opportunities within the African cinematic space.
As a filmmaker and head of Ghana's film agency, Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante said she always had the same sense when attending international industry events: African cinema had so much more potential to deliver.
"We’re [...] telling local filmmakers that look, your content cannot survive only in Ghana. First of all, you need to make sure that your film makes it through festivals, through cinemas, but also you need to take your film outside of Ghana. And for your film to do well means that you’re able to tell a story that resonate, and a good story is a good story. "
CEO of Ghana's National Film Authority, Asante joined forces with Nigerian and other African filmmakers and distributors this week in Ghana's capital to debate how the continent's industry can do just that.
Africa's film and audiovisual businesses generate about $5 billion annually, but could potentially reach $20 billion and create 20 million jobs, according to the UN cultural agency UNESCO citing a pan-African filmmakers' federation.
President Akufo Addo recognizes the great influence of an empowered film industry, as a catalyst for sustainable development across African nations.
"I believe it’s not beyond us collectively in Africa to produce such statistics and the availability of the right skills set is critical to this end," the president said.
Ghana has been promoting itself as a movie location with its "Shoot in Ghana" campaign, with British actor Idris Elba recently visiting the country where he said he would shoot some of his next film, local media reported.
"Those who lose out are not just Africans, it is the global community, because the global community will be more enriched by African stories playing out," Asante said. "We have seen there is a definitely a place for African stories told with the right quality."
As investments and collaborations increase, the African film industry stands poised to capture the essence of its diverse stories, drive economic progress and pave the way for a sustainable future.