Archive for Turning Point

Quickies

Posted in Ghana, Of Stories And Their Telling with tags , , , , , , on May 29, 2010 by elisabethefuasutherland

Leila Djansi works as a writer-producer for Safo and Safo Entertainment, and is founder of the LA based production house Turning Point Pictures. She started off her career in Ghana where she promoted and produced TV shows. She attended the National Film and Television School, Manifold College and the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her first production and second screenplay, Together Forever, launched the late actress, Suzzy Williams to stardom.

I decided to feature Leila Djansi as my first example of a storyteller because of her new movie, I sing of a well, a narrative of slavery in which Europeans are totally absent. It is a story of Africans enslaving other Africans, a fact that a lot of people forget. Europeans were not the ones who invented slavery; slavery is an age-old practice, common to every race and tribe. You can watch the trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67eVQijlbx4

In an interview with http://reelladies.wordpress.com , Djansi speaks about the Ghanaian Film Industry and some of its shortcomings.

“It is quick. They do everything quickly; it doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad. They just want it fast. Quickies. But it is a very passionate filmmaking industry. They love what they do and are very eager to learn and advance. Its easy to shoot there, the crew and cast might be a bit difficult because they are not very disciplined and no protocols exist and then with the speed thing, it might get frustrating because things might not get done right. Then you have to realize that these are people who are in this for either fame or money so the art part of it is not there. So when you begin to talk about “creating” you become a “booklong” someone who knows too much. They don’t want that.”

This is another major problem I have with the industry. We copy because we do not give the time needed to create. Quantity is revered over quality, the more films you churn out, the more money you make. This is also the audience’s fault, because the Ghanaian public will buy pretty much anything. Compare production times in other places. Movies usually take over a year to film and go through final editing etc, whereas in Ghana they could take about a month. The problem with that is we end up with piles of poorly thought out plots and half-baked stuff.

I say this because there is serious potential on our continent. Like Djansi says, “we have science fiction in Africa. Lots of it”. Think along the lines of Kenya’s new flick, Pumzi, which took an award at the renowned Cannes Film Festival (watch the trailer for Pumzi here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3elKofS43xM)

. We do not even have to be as futuristic as that. Our deep set spirituality and belief in the supernatural has amazing potential for horror movies. I have often wondered about the famed Madame High Heel and what a good horror movie with her in it would be like. We have so many legends that put Freddie Kreuger and Jason to shame. Imagine if we had built on the movies that used to terrify us as children, Karishika etc? We have amazing ideas, but we do not run with them, we merely drop them by the roadside and pick at other bits of rubbish, like free range chickens.

It is my dream that we will learn that quality is better than quantity, and that we will develop our ideas instead of serving up halfbaked goods.

You can read the rest of the Leila Djansi interview here:

http://reelladies.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/reel-lady-writerproducer-leila-djansi/

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