“Necessity is the mother of all inventions” the old adage says and this clearly manifests itself in how the Ghana movie industry came into being. No one can tell how and when Ghanaian films started but we might think it came about as the need aroused for it. It can be traced as far back as the days of concerts and stage performances. It changed to the form of dramas on television and then to its present phase. One of the notable pioneers was the late Bob Cole, the song and play writer who came out with the first Ghanaian produced drama “I told you so.”
During the beginnings, televisions and other means of watching films were not common enough so Ghanaians were used to watching their dramas on live stage performances. The then actors and actresses performed as side attractions for live/brass bands as acting at that was not patronised enough. Only a stage was used for the different scenes in the drama so most of them were comedy. Those were the days when the cultural centres were made use of.
After July 31st, 1965 when GBC-TV was established, television became a little common and to make their programme line-up interesting, they included television dramas. This paved way for the springing up of drama troupes like “Osofo Dadzie” which was made up of break-away members of various concert groups. Such groups performed in the local dialects Akan, Ewe and Ga on issues concerning the Ghanaian culture and morality. The School of Performing Arts of the University of Ghana came into the picture with an English performing drama troupe. It is the combined efforts of all the different drama troupe members that has brought the industry this far.
During the early days, it could take as long as a whole year before one could see a new production at a cultural centre or cinema hall but the situation is now different as there are everyday productions which come out on video tapes, VCDs and even DVDs and sell better than foreign movies. Some years ago, not much people thought the industry could reach such heights. From the days of concerts to television dramas to its present phase, it is obvious that industry has improved realistically.
Upon all its problems which piracy stands tall, the industry has climbed higher—i.e. Ghanaian-Nigerian films—that is international! Who knows what it will be next? Considering its genesis and where it has reached, one can confidently say that the Ghanaian movie industry is one of the things which has been carefully developed by us as Ghanaian. Kudos to people like the late Bob Cole, the late Araba Stamp, all old faces and new faces in the industry—producers, actors, directors and crew members—and all Ghanaians in who in diverse ways have contributed to this course.