Maiden Workshop with Renowned Directors Ignites Passion at Accra FDGG

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By Zaahida Abdul-Wahid and Sandra Tetteh

Afriwood Media, in collaboration with the Department of Creative Arts (DoCA) at African University College of Communications (AUCC) and the Film Directors Guild of Ghana, FDGG, (Greater Accra Chapter), hosted its maiden workshop for film directors December 15, 2023, on the school’s Adabraka Campus to sharpen essential skills of filmmaking in Ghana.

Key speakers at the workshop which was attended by some 40 directors mainly from the Greater Accra region were renowned film director Pascal Amanfo, award-winning film maker Kwame Kyei Baffour, AUCC alum/filmmaker Mclord Ice Impraim, and DoCA faculty member Samuel Blankson.

The one-day event was moderated by the chairman of the FDGG (Greater Accra), film producer and also DoCA alum Haruna “Zoree” Seidu Soale.

Moderator Soale, Right, and Resource person Samuel `Blankson

The main objectives of the workshop were to remind participants of the role of the film director, refresh them on directing actors on set or location, go over directing short films, and establish the place of film branding and marketing in filmmaking.

Participants were also apprised of relevant resources available online for their benefit and new equipment and practices in the creative arts industry.

The speakers observed that the talent to direct films or create content was not enough for professional filmmakers to survive in the current global movie industry without the necessary skills or/and training.

Workshop moderator Haruna Soale observed that since it is not so easy to gain admission into reputable programs to pursue filmmaking courses, he felt it was the responsibility of stakeholders to support the building of the capacity of young filmmakers as well as existing filmmakers who are passionate and willing to undergo training.

“Some people call themselves filmmakers or film directors because they followed a film director on a few occasions. But a film director is not just about “action”, and “cut”; it’s a whole lot of craft that one needs to take their time to learn well,” he said.

Kwame Kyei Baffour

“It’s not a surprise that many local consumers go for foreign content,” observed Kwame Kyei Baffour who has been traveling the world film festival circuit the latter part of this year with his award-winning short ‘Otokunor’. “Most of the local content have no direction. They lack proper structures in terms of suspense, soundtrack or sound scores, proper storylines, the needed costumes, proper locations, and actors fit to play certain roles.”

During the Q&A, Pascal Amanfo, out with his latest fare for the Christmas season ‘God is African Too’, explained that directors must find their own voice and tell their own stories their way. He said they must ensure that every single scene in their films contributes towards the overall story they tell, stressing on the need for professionalism and training. He recounted several anecdotes from location to illustrate his point.

Pascal Amanfo making a point

“If the script calls for a certain scene, my question is: ‘how does this scene advance the plot?’ If it doesn’t, no matter how interesting it may be to you personally, drop it.”

Mclord Ice Impraim shared his experiences on working on international productions in Ghana, stressing on the need for professionalism consistently.

“Why do we behave differently on foreign sets? On local productions, crew members are late, directors cut corners, and the final output shows. We need to give the same professionalism to our local productions if we want to make any impact out there.”

Samuel Blankson said branding and marketing can make or break a film.

“Branding is the way a person presents themselves out there, and it comes with a lot of things,” he eplained. “Your company and its brand, the logo, and everything – they are all part of the branding and marketing that allow the film maker to be able to reach their target market through various marketing strategies.”

According to Afrifa Smith Charles, a participant from the Ashanti Region FDGG, the directors’ workshop was one of the most memorable he has been to.

McLord Impraim

“The other regional chapters will benefit from this. I thjnk the organizers should hold one in Kumasi. I know this is the maiden edition, but the film directors’ workshop should take place every year.”

Each Participant was given a certificate of participation at the end of the program and free admission forms for those interested in applying for the one-year Professional Diploma in Film Producing course offered by the Department of Creative Arts at AUCC’s Adabraka campus, Accra

A group picture of resource persons and some participants

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