Movie titled ‘Galamsey’ shot in Ghana by a German student, Johannes Preuss, has won an award at the Oscars.
Blow is an excerpt of interview German TV station, DW [Deutsch Welle] had with with Preuss:
DW: What is the meaning behind the title “Galamsey“?
Johannes Preuss: The word comes from Ghanaian Pidgin [English] and combines the words for “gather” and “sell”. That’s how people in Ghana refer to this illegal gold mining. It’s an umbrella term for small-scale mining.
DW: As a student in Germany, how were you made aware of the subject of illegal gold mining in Ghana?
Johannes Preuss: In 2010, I went to Ghana with the German Development Aid Agency and worked there for a citizen radio channel. That was in the middle of the Galamsey region; the city was located directly on one of Ghana’s major rivers.
I was there when the boom was taking place and as a journalist, I found it a really interesting subject. There were so many facets to look at: the catastrophic consequences on the environment, how it has changed people.
And when I had the chance to film my first movie while at the film academy [in Germany], I thought it was a good time to focus on the topic.
DW: One of the people interviewed in your film says, “If we don’t watch out, Ghana will turn into a hell.” What does that hell look like?
Johannes Preuss: Hell looks like a huge crater landscape. Because they cannot dig in rivers, gold mining companies keep digging holes in the earth. They throw water into those holes to extract the gold and keep doing that as long as it’s profitable.
But no one covers their holes up when they’re done. That’s why the whole country looks like a lunar landscape. – Gold is – along with cocoa – Ghana’s main export. Who profits from this business?
Preuss won in the Documentary category of “International Film School.’ Preuss, a student at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy in Ludwigsburg, was the sole nomination in his category. His film ‘Galamsey’ investigates the lives of illegal gold diggers in Ghana. .
“[The film] was definitely not an easy project,” Preuss said. “The Oscar is a huge recognition.”
The Hollywood Academy Student Awards were instituted in 1972 with a goal “to support and encourage excellence in film-making at the collegiate level.”