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Important Matters Arising From Black Star International Film Festival 2019

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Art & Lifestyle

Important Matters Arising From Black Star International Film Festival 2019

The Black Star International FilmFestival 2019 launched its call for Ghana to work towards situating itself as a film hub and promised to continue to work and advocateforboth industry and Governmentto worktowards the desired outcomes.

The festival made a commitment to work tirelessly with its partners towards this goal. In line with the call, the festival reiterated some important and urgent steps and strongly advocatedsome key steps to be taken by Government and Industry. It is important to note that collective effort is needed on both sides to move the needle forward and to achieve the desired outcomes.

Below is the list of some important outcomes of the festival and key advocacy calls made during the festival:


Effective2020, the Black Star International FilmFestival is including a category reserved for Ghanaian filmmakers and films made about Ghana. This category will be on the same level as all other categories and also be under competition. This isinresponseto the high numbers of quality submissions from Ghanaian filmmakers over the years and the sharp spike at BSIFF19- and the follow up advocacy from Ghanaian filmmakers to include a category targeted solely to locals.

The festival acknowledges the growth it has witnessed within the sector; judging from the quality of submissions, and is therefore making room to accommodate the growth even as we continue to work tohelpnurture filmmakers. It is the hope that this big step will help propel and nurture even moreGhanaian filmmakersto produce worksthat are competitive on the world stage.


BSIFFcalls on Government to introduce a 30% tax rebate for industry to encourageco-Productions and promote Ghana as a shooting destination. Detailed research on incentive regimes by the festival on countries around the worldclearlypoints to the critical nature of this call. Without incentives, Ghana can not hope to compete with States like Atlanta, Georgia or countries like South Africa, Morocco, Canada, Singapore – just to mention a few; all of which have tax incentives between 20-50%!

Productions coming into Ghana will amongst other benefits help create jobs, improve the skill sets of the locals, bring in much needed foreign exchange to help the economy and attract more touristsdue to  film tourism.Many businesses who provide related services to film sets will benefit greatly; further bringing bigger value to the economy and people of Ghanaand therebyimpacting the brand of Ghana.



BSIFF’s facilitation of talks between the Nigerian Film Commision and Ghana to encourage both countries to work together towards a national treaty is an important progress.

As a result of this initiative by BSIFF, talks havealready started between the two countries to identify and enhance key areas of collaboration. We look forward to seeing the collaborations that come out of this step and to continue to help facilitate the effort. It is our hope that the two countries may pursue a mutually beneficial film treaty. Both countries can gain huge mutual value from working together more closely, especially in the era of ACFTA.


BSIFF further reiterated this call by industry to the Government of Ghana during the just ended edition of the festival. Having a film authority is an important pre-requisite tomaking Ghana a film hub; as Ghana needs a body focused on providing the policy and ecosystems, strategiesandframework to enable growth. Eventhough assured by the honorable Deputy Ministerfor Tourism, Arts and Culture,at the opening ceremony of BSIFF2019that the announcement is eminent,BSIFF continuesto advocate for prompt actionand is confident of the announcements soon.

BSIFFcontinues to work to help create the platform on which important conversations and advocacy can happen, as well as to nurture independent filmmakers to grow and amplify. We are focused on helping the business of film, sector advocacy and connecting the world through film and to African cinema. Learn more about us at

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Ameyaw Kissi Debrah, known professionally as Ameyaw Debrah, is a Ghanaian celebrity blogger, freelance journalist, and reporter.

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