Pascal Amanfo Talks About Movies in Ghana and Nigeria, God, and Settles the Jollof Debate

Press "Play" to listen to article
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
Spread the love

By Rhoda Krah

In the waning Ghana film industry, one name resonates with artistic brilliance and storytelling mastery — Pascal Amanfo. Hailing from faraway Awomanma in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, Amanfo has carved his niche as a prominent film director, screenwriter, and actor, with a significant impact on the local film industry. Amanfo’s journey to this point is as diverse as the landscapes of his heritage. Born to a mother from the Esan tribe of Edo State, his cultural roots run deep, enriching the narratives he weaves on the silver screen. His cinematic repertoire boasts an impressive array of films, each a testament to his artistic prowess and commitment to storytelling.

Among his notable works, “Fix Us” (2019), “Single and Married” (2012), and “If Tomorrow Never Comes” (2016) stand out as compelling pieces that have captivated audiences across borders. Amanfo’s storytelling transcends mere entertainment; it delves into the complexities of human relationships, societal dynamics, and the intricacies of life itself.

Beyond these celebrated works, Amanfo has left an indelible mark with films such as “Somewhere in Africa,” “Royal Messengers,” “House of God,” and many more. His ability to navigate diverse genres while maintaining a distinct voice has earned him accolades and admiration within the cinematic landscape.

Rhoda Krah met with Pascal Amanfo at the AUCC Department of Creative Arts-Film Directors Guild of Ghana Workshop organized by Afriwood Media held on the school’s Adabraka campus last Friday for an exclusive interview, exploring the inspirations behind his cinematic creations, the challenges he has faced, and his vision for the future of African filmmaking. Following are excerpts. Join us as we unravel the layers of this visionary filmmaker’s journey, from the roots of Awomanma to the heart of the Ghana film industry, where his talent continues to shine brightly.

Rhoda Krah: What inspired you to move to Ghana to become a film director?

Pascal Amanfo: Basically, it’s acting. I have been with the Ghana/Nigeria film industry for approximately 22 years, from being a writer to actor now director.

RK: What would you say are the main differences between Ghanaian and Nigerian movies?

PA: I would say the main difference would have to be the mindset of the people on how they reflect on business. I would say because an average Nigerian is hustler and pushy, while Ghanaians are more relaxed and waiting for things to work out. So, it creates a difference in commerciality. And Nigerians engage more with their audience while Ghanaians don’t.

RK: What do you see as the unique challenges filmmakers face in Ghana?

PA: Ghanaians don’t have the numbers when it comes to film making, and the cost of living in Ghana is high. Hence, it is very expensive to make films as compared to Nigeria where for instance, renting shops have a lot of competition going on, where everyone wants the producers to purchase from them, so there is reduction everywhere you turn. In Ghana, there isn’t much competition with the renting shops leading to high renting prices of cameras.

I think filmmaking in Ghana is very relaxing and convenient because of the environment, enough power supply, and less traffic as compared to Nigeria where they’ve poor power, and serious traffic issues. They still have the big movie industry whiles Ghana has a small one, which I find troubling.

RK: What role does your Christian faith play in your movies?

PA: My faith has influenced how I see films and how my movies are being done. Although you aren’t going to watch my movie and hear God mentioned throughout, my movies just project the essence of life.

RK: What role would you say your filmmaking has played in the evolution of the Ghanaian movie industry?

PA: I have been able to cover a niche and see lives change, many talents born and built upon in the likes of Martha Ankomah who has made it big in the industry. When I shot my movie ‘Shakira’ in 2016, Martha had only six scenes in which four scenes she had no lines to say. Also, a student of the African University College of Communication, Bless Fortune: I always used to tell her that her talent will sell her, and she is doing very well now because of her talent.

RK: Can you highlight any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re excited about?

PA: Recently, I have been doing faith films like ‘God is African’ which I’ve done the first already and the second part which will be premiered on 22nd December 2023 at the Accra Mall. The movie celebrates what God means to Africa, and it was shot in eight different cities in America in June, July.

RK: Ghana jollof or Nigeria jollof? And why?

PA: I recently got married to a Ghanaian, and she makes the best jollof, so I would choose Ghana jollof.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *