Today, Ghollywood, as the Ghanaian movie industry is known, has come a long way. Apart from the sex appeal of Ghanaian movies, they parade some of the most beautiful actresses in Africa, which has kept movie lovers interested in seeing their faces, even if the movie isn’t so interesting. In the last few years,even Nigerians have come to love and enjoy Ghanaian movies almost as much as they love their Nollywood. Only a decade ago, Ghanaian movies hardly sold in Nigeria while Nigerian movies were blockbusters in Ghana.
Early modern film making was first introduced to what is now Ghana by the British in the colonial period. Since the 1950s, Ghana has had a thriving film industry. Cinemas were once the primary venue for watching films, but theatre attendance has declined due to the rise of home video, the internet and downloads. Since the late 1980s a booming video feature film industry evolved in Ghana. While established film makers both within and outside the state-owned Ghana Film Industry Corporation found it extremely difficult to generate funds for film production, formally untrained people of various backgrounds — from cinema projectionists to car mechanics — took ordinary VHS video cameras, wrote a brief outline, assembled actors (from TV or just “from the street”), and produced full-fledged feature films which appeared to be tremendously successful in urban Ghana, and especially in Accra.
Twi films are referred to under the sobriquet of being “Kumawood” films, while other Ghanaian films are sometimes known as “Ghallywood” productions. Films depicting African witchcraft are popular in Ghana, despite criticism being directed towards them. There are numerous low-budget visual effects films produced in Ghana, including the 2010 science fiction film 2016, and the film Obonsam Besu, also known as Devil May Cry.
Around year 2006 through 2007, Nigerian filmmaker Frank Rajah Arase signed a contract with a Ghanaian production company, Venus Films, which involved helping to introduce Ghanaian actors into mainstream Nollywood. This collaboration eventually led to extreme popularity of certain Ghanaian actors, such as Van Vicker, Jackie Appiah, Majid Michel, Yvonne Nelson, John Dumelo, Nadia Buari and Yvonne Okoro, arguably as much as their Nigerian counterparts. Furthermore, over the years; due to the high cost of film production in Nigeria, Nigerian filmmakers have been forced make films outside Lagos in order to cut costs, mirroring the exodus of filmmaking in Hollywood from Los Angeles to cities like Toronto and Albuquerque, a phenomenon known as “Runaway production”. Several other producers as a result started shooting in cities like Accra, Ghana, channeling the savings into investing in better equipment, many of them trying to get their films onto the big screen.
However in Ghana as in other parts of Africa, beautiful actresses sell movies, and this perhaps where Ghana leads the way. So many of the mainstream actresses are of Ghana. They have become so popular that even a cameo role can boost a movie up the most popular lists. And to be fair, the beauty of Ghanaian women is well known, and now we see it is also well commercialised.