I haven’t done much writing this week, just a feature breaking down the tiers of Ghanaian cinema so please check it out. As a throw back how about my review of Ava Duvernay’s Selma too.
So what’s been happening on the Ghanaian film circuit?
Well it turns out a group of movie producers in Ghana are threatening to venture into the production of pornos if TV stations do not stop showing foreign soap operas with apparent graphic scenes (of a sexual nature I assume). The PRO of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG), Ola Michaels made these intentions known during an interview on Hitz FM. “If we can’t tame the TV stations, let the producers also produce porno movies, and let’s move on,” he said.
According to him, the lack of examination of the telenovela content that airs on some Ghanaian television stations is contributing to the proliferation of pornography. Did I miss the “lights blunt” bit of the story or something? How does La Gata contribute to thriving porn? I guess the massive porn industry in America owes its existence to Telemundo, Univision and Latin America in general.
Ola Michaels threatened to start filming pornographic films in Ghana along with other producers and directors if the telenovelas were not checked. Ola feels the broadcasting industry has no laws governing the industry paving way for television stations to show foreign soaps without proper censorship. “You look at the kissing and the fondling scenes and ask yourself if I put this thing in our movies will it be allowed?” He continued saying if half of the things showed on TV found their way into Ghanaian film, Ghanaians would tag them as soft porn.
He likened the movie industry to a jungle because everyone is permitted to do what pleases them.
“We should allow it to go on so that people can also make money from porno movies instead of going through poverty.” Ola went on to note shooting porn is less expensive saying “it takes few thousands of cedis to shoot a porn movie and trust me people will watch”. Producers are also going to start investing in porno,” he concluded.
So basically a load of BS on the GH film circuit.
The obvious limitations notwithstanding, why would filmmakers be fighting telenovelas for TV spots? You would expect FIPAG to urge filmmakers to aspire to a higher creative bar but like a solution to our energy problems, that would be asking for too much. A lot of filmmakers have already been applying the telenovela schematic to their films with zero commercial success as I suspected so maybe the solution would be to strive for compelling stories with ambition but hell no guys. That would be too crazy and too difficult so let’s just settle for pornos. Prison awaits.
Now I don’t watch telenovelas on TV but do they contain graphic sexual content? I highly doubt it. The man doesn’t even name a single show and if La Gata had some semblance of nudity, I’m sure the country would have been served earfuls. If they really want to film pornos they should just go on say it and start some lobbying. A lot of the films are scripted and shot like pornos anyway. It would no doubt be a seamless transition for some of the directors. It may even be a win on the revenue front too creating more jobs for eager youth but Ghana really isn’t ready for such strides however it would be interesting to see how it played out If Ola makes good on his threats.
In 2008 Warner Bros acquired the rights to Akira which received cinematic treatment in 1988 but there has been some difficulty ushering the material to the big screen. A number of notable names have been attached in production, creative, performance capacities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Keanu Reeves to Marco J. Ramirez and even the Hughes brothers. There really wasn’t much hype and progress surrounding a new Akira adaptation till this week when Nolan’s name surfaced in connection with this iconic Japanese manga.
According to Den of Geek, Christopher Nolan may be attached to take the reins on Warner Bros. planned Akira trilogy and judging by the summer release date in 2017 of his next project there may be some weight to this rumor. Nolan allegedly met with an unnamed director, who was previously attached to the production, to discuss the project for the past few months. The report also maintains that Leonardo DiCaprio’s production house, Apian Way, will still be producing, with the aforementioned Ramirez (of Netflix’s Daredevil) possibly drafting a script.
There is some suggestion that Nolan involvement could be as a producer (the devil is a LIAR!) which would be a little disappointing but then just last week I was talking about a longing for Nolan’s return to his low budget roots. Nolan’s projects have gradually risen in scale and ambition over the course of the years from the 6000 dollar Following to the massive 165 million dollar Interstellar. Despite my sentiments I realize now I just want Nolan behind a celluloid camera – small budget or otherwise. He is one of the greats of his generation and just like some old folks grew up with Scorsese or Stone, I can smugly point to Nolan in a couple of decades when addressing some yung’uns.
Akira potentially presents and interesting proposition to Nolan. The original Akira followed a gang of motorcyclists in the futuristic, post-apocalyptic city of Tokyo and it has the look of a Tron. This will undoubtedly be a big budget film and hopefully predominantly Japanese talents. Ken Wantanabe getting paid y’all. I truly hope this isn’t turned into a Caucasian fest but if tons of money is going to be pumped into this film the powers that be may want a white bankable face on the posters. Maybe Ken Wantanabe isn’t getting paid after all.
The reservations notwithstanding, Nolan will put his stamp on affairs. All his movies have ostensibly been about ideas and in the era of empty blockbusters, he really sets himself apart with his superior execution. I will be following potential Akira developments keenly.
As I prep to see the latest entry in the Maze Runner series, The Scorch Trials, another YA dystopian feature caught my eye. Chloe Grace Moretz is set to hit our screens in the 5th Wave and whilst I’ve been longing for her to return to some more action inclined films, another YA adult dystopian adaptation doesn’t really call for much excitement. What may set this film apart could be the involvement of writer Susannah Grant (Erin Brokovich among others) and director J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed). The film is also being released in January next year so maybe the studios loosened the leak a little. I leave you with the trailer.