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Who owns the script?
From: Ghana/Farida Shaibu          Published On: February 6, 2013, 9:46 GMT
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Who owns the script?

Farida Shaibu

I am not a fan of Ghallywood so I don’t really fancy Ghanaian movies. Reasons? Well, I think the glamour is too much and the same faces always dominate the screens. At times I see myself narrating the whole story even before the movie actually ends (that’s how bad I think it is). But for the Kumawood ones, I’ll save my comment for later.

I often hear people comment about the originality of our movies; about producers engaging in some sort of “copy and paste” business just to sell their products out there without considering who sees it or where it goes.

Personally, I had not come to terms with this sort of plagiarism until recently when my screen displayed a direct duplicate of an Indian movie I watched sometime ago. I was stunned!

At first, I thought to myself, “how possible?” Here I was, watching our own Yvonne Okoro and Yvonne Nelson trying to act out a replica of the Indian-American movie, “We are family” and I couldn't help but notice it in just a matter of seconds.

In fact, I can remember almost every line of the subtitle in the original movie so once again I had to narrate the whole movie “losing you” to my siblings just to prove I had seen the original and the only difference is the change in titles- from “we are family” to “losing you”.

They looked on in absolute shock as I verbally spilled out every sentence as was acted by the two Yvonnes and the other characters. Everything felt like they were repeating after me- “ditto-ditto”.

Is this how we intend to promote Ghallywood? No, is this how we are going to sell Ghana to the rest of the world in terms of movies? I think I have heard countless of protests to revive the movie industry and make it marketable to the rest of the world. However, if these are some of the steps taken to aim at this goal, then I’m sorry we have a long way to go.

Walk along the street and ask ten movie manias what kind of movies they love and I bet 7 out of them will give you a long list of Hollywood titles; even the yet- to- be-released ones. Ah! Why would I go to the Silverbird cinema to pay for a fake when I can easily have access to a well-directed original one? If this is how you convince me to patronize made in Ghana goods, then maybe you have to come again.

I wonder if these actors and actresses ever go through the scripts before accepting them or is it just about the money and fame. Perhaps they don’t watch other movies apart from their very own acted scripts otherwise I am sure some of the movies they reproduce are just so visible that even the blind can see.

I ask this not because I underestimate their integrity or level of professionalism but because I wonder if they will ever make it to the big platforms of the Hollywood’s Oscars’ and Emmy’s they have always dreamt of. Who will award a copyright movie when so much has gone into making a unique one to be sold all over the world?

Indeed, the lack of creativity is the underlying factor in the system and until producers, directors, script writers, movie actors and actresses decide to think outside the box and step up their game, our movies will forever linger in the shores of Ghallywood, Nollywood and Kumawood. I hope they even care!

Farida Shaibu

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