I’m very sure some Hollywood and Bollywood filmmakers and authors see some Ghanaian movies whose storylines are actually stolen from their movies, novels, or plays, but all they say is, ‘Why sue a man of straw?’
Ghana can boast of many stories that can be used to shoot movies. Some are myths or folkloric – and others are written. Today, I present to you, some local and internationally awarded or recognized Ghanaian literary writers and their respective works which can be adapted for movies, yet, some of our filmmakers continue stealing stories from others:
Ama Ata Aidoo: Anowa, Changes, Our Sister Killjoy, No Sweetness here, Dilemma of a Ghost; Efua T. Sutherland – Marriage of Anansewa, Edufa, Voice in the Forest; Ama Darko – The Housemaid; Asare Konadu – The Wizard of Asamang, Woman in her Prime; Francis Selormey – Narrow Path.
The list goes on: Sekyi Kobina – The Blinkards; Ayi Kwei Armah – The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Fragments, The Healers, Kmt: In the house of life; Benjamin Kwakye – The Clothes of N*kedness, The Sun by Night; Kwei J Quartey – Wife of the gods, Children of the Street.
The list still goes on: Yaba Badoe – True Murder; Glover Boakyewaa – Circles; Ekow Eshun – Black Gold of the Sun; Bediako Asare – Rebels; Kwame Kwei-Armah – Statement of Regret, Fix Up, and others. There are many of them.
Is it too difficult for our filmmakers to get in touch with these local authors, seek their permission, strike a deal, and adapt their stories for movies? Why even go for Hollywood or Bollywood stories when we have millions of true but untold stories rotting in our libraries?
For instance, ‘Marriage of Anansewa’ by Efua T. Sutherland, if well screen played and plotted with suspenseful visual-telling, would be a blockbuster movie. The story is simply intriguing! Most Ghanaians who studied literature in Sixth Form or Secondary School and read ‘Marriage of Anansewa’ would attest to this. ‘Anowa’ won’t be bad for a romantic movie – likewise The Blinkards for a comedy movie.
Instead of Ghanaian filmmakers adapting our own literacy works or folkloric tales, screenplay them and shoot as movies, they rather take delight in stealing (plagiarize) Hollywood and Bollywood movie stories and retell them as Ghanaian movies.
The most annoying thing is that, instead of adapting the story and may be tell it from our perspective (something others do), they rather either tell it from the original writer’s perspective and goof big time (with poor lighting, editing, pictures, costume, camera works, sound), or they end up taking the ‘steam’ out of the original story.
One Ghanaian filmmaker who stands accused in this stealing galore is Venus Films Productions. When movie critics query him, he has the crust and balls to say, “I don’t steal them, I twist them.” Next time you meet him, you may call him Mr. Twister!