When talking about the countries with English films in Africa, Ghana is one of them. We received a multi-talented filmmaker; founder and Creative Director of Digital Creative Media: Salifu Abdul Hafiz. The 29-years-old filmmaker writes, directs, edits and color grade his own projects. Also, he is the official Videographer for one of Africa’s great music exports, Mr. Eazi and Empawa Africa.
Hafiz has been in the film industry for over 8 years. During these years, he has worked on musical videos, documentaries and TV Commercials for brands like BetPawa, USAID, IDH, TULLOW Oil, BetPawa and many more.
You are so deep in the industry with diverse talents, so what is new in the Ghana Film industry today? What are the challenges in Industry?
Ghallywood and Kumawood has been mergers for a while now, with the aim of producing distinctive movies to resurrect our film industry. I’m aware of some great collaborations over two years now and in 2019, some huge collaborations like Away Bus, My name is Ramadan, KUDI, The Burial of Kojo and Badluck Joe are great Ghanaian movie.
The industry is about film and business. To be able to make a great film, one needs to put many things together: A great story, proper financing, equipment, skillful and dedicated crew comes to play. Most of these things are compromised in the process of making films in Ghana. This is simply because of the lack of resource, dedicated team, accessibility and proper film education.
It’s very challenging and it hurts to have a great script and you cannot execute to satisfaction because you don’t have proper or enough funding to get the best resources you need for the execution. I’ve personally read great scripts which when shot, it becomes like a joke. It makes me wanna work hard and make the difference.
Also, we work so hard to produce content which end up in one or two theaters and campuses then it dies off. There are many filmmaking structures and distribution platforms operating in Ghana. Yet, Ghana needs bigger and proper film studios. I wish we can get theaters in every region of the country.
One major concern is our audience. Most Ghanaians prefer foreign films to the ones we make here because of the major problem of high patronage of foreign products in Ghana. It makes it difficult to distribute our content and make back our investments.
What does it take to be a filmmaker in Ghana and how did you get into the industry?
Generally, it takes a lot to be a filmmaker. One must make his/her mind up because ones you start and get deep into it, there is a lot to sacrifice. More indoors, voluntary services, huge investments and frequent practice will be your life.
In the Ghana Film industry, it’s quite competitive with the persistent growth of the industry as new talents emerge every now and then. You have to personally be updated and develop your talents. You don’t have to follow what others do, just do yours and stand out uniquely but not out of line. “Creativity has no role” Personally I can stand out alone when I am inspired. I can go to straight alone even if everyone takes the bend.
I started off as a sound engineer and later developed my talent in visuals. After my high school, I worked as a cybercafé attendant. So, I got the opportunity to watch tutorials, music videos and also read more about the field. I met some friends who introduced me to softwares and trained me on using them.
I got the chance to pursue my tertiary education at Takoradi Technical University where I read Commercial Art. During this programme, I was selected to do my internship at a renowned Ghanaian production company NKACC. This opened my door where The Lead Creative, Nana Kofi Asihene admired my talent and trained me for the industry. I met great Filmmakers along the line who helped me to get where I am today.
What inspires your creativity and what is important for you when you plan for a film production?
When planning for filmmaking, I focus more on the story; Finance, Equipment; Props; Cast and Crew. I’m mostly inspired by real events, original stories and when I’m able to make a difference with my creation.
When you are not making films, where can one find you?
When I am out of filmmaking practice, I am still around the entertainment industry. I am probably working on my second job as an artist manager and creative consultant.
As a creative consultant and experienced director, what advice do you have for your colleagues in the industry and to aspiring filmmakers?
Unity and frequent collaborations is what I’m preaching always. As an adage goes “together we stand, divided, we fall” Let us practice more and open our doors to each other. We should also encourage new comers in the industry.
Also, aspiring filmmakers should look deep into their personal interests and put more efforts in the areas of their greatest interests. They must do a lot of practical, collaborations and work voluntarily in projects that will keep them engaged in the field. It will help them.