The Ghanaian film landscape already enjoys some international recognition. beasts of no nation, Netflix’s first home cinema production released in 2015, was filmed in the country. The depiction of child soldiers in an unnamed African civil war was a turning point in the streaming giant’s push towards movies and producing original content.
Today, Ghana’s film ecosystem is poised for an even bigger boost. In June, US production and infrastructure company Pixel Ray Studios unveiled plans to create a modern, full-service studio complex with 10 sound stages in the West African country.
Audu Maikori, co-founder and CEO of Pixel Ray Studios, says fDi that there are not enough “world-class” quality sound stages on the continent to “properly tell African stories” and meet the growing demand for local content production.
“Nollywood [a nickname for the Nigerian film industry] is the second most prolific film industry in the world [behind India’s Bollywood]producing even more films than Hollywood, but in terms of revenue, the total market share of African films is only 2% of the global film industry,” he says, noting that the problem is “quality and not quantity”, these productions having for the most part little financing and distribution.
“There are a lot of stories, but not enough told in the quality, context and nuances of Africans and black people around the world,” he says. “These studios will serve as a place where you can come in, tell your story, access a great workforce and also impact the economy.”
Ghana has made great efforts to develop its film industry. In April 2021, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched a $25 million program to boost local film production. Unesco estimates that Ghana produces around 600 films a year, the second highest number in Africa behind neighboring Nigeria.
“We are working to position Ghana as a film hub and also a filming destination,” says Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, CEO of Ghana’s National Film Authority (NFA), which was established in 2019 to regulate and promote filmmaking. country cinema. ecosystem.
After exploring different markets across Africa, Maikori said Ghana was the “go-to location” for studios due to the political will, the country’s relative security, favorable business climate (among the best in West Africa, according to the World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business report) and ongoing efforts to shape regulation of the sector.
The NFA is working closely with several Ghanaian ministries on policies to attract international production, including making it easier for international staff to obtain visas and introducing a new tax incentive.
While it is “difficult to have a conversation about tax relief”, Ms Asante expects the incentive to be finalized by the end of 2022.
“We are opening up a whole new source of income for the country, which gives the opportunity to create massive jobs for young people,” she says. The Pixel Ray Studios project is expected to create 10,000 jobs when fully operational.
The initial build of the project will feature five sound stages accompanied by a backlot and will cost around $65 million. These stages should be operational 24 months after the start of construction.
Mr Maikori says the “biggest hurdle” was finding a site large enough to host the project. The final complex will include 10 sound stages and supporting infrastructure, such as housing, training facilities and retail sites.
The enclave of Akwamu-Akosombo, located about 90 minutes drive from the capital Accra, was chosen as the final area of the project, according to Ms Asante.
“The location is ideal in many ways,” she says, noting local transport links, utility infrastructure and the mixed landscape of mountains and forests.
For Mr. Maikori, this complex of Ghanaian studios will cater to international and pan-African audiences as demand for content and streaming services increases across the continent.
“Africa is the next destination,” he says. “We are making this investment to create value, jobs and tell the best stories possible.”
This article first appeared in the August/September 2022 print edition of fDi Intelligence. See a digital edition of the magazine here.