The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc for the arts sector around the world.
Many festivals and concerts have been cancelled while majority of theatres and cinemas remained closed.
However, slowly and cautiously what was closed is now gradually opening up.
In Ghana, the story is different. Cinemas remain closed, although various social gathering venues have been opened.
On August 6, 2020, the National Film Authority’s Action Group petitioned the Tourism Ministry to open them and according to them they have been in various meetings with the ministry but still cinema doors remain closed.
At the official launch of The Presidential Film Pitch Series April 28 this year, President Akufo-Addo assured players in the industry the doors to the theatres will open soon.
“I want to proclaim on a matter of great concern that the opening of cinemas is under constant review of the COVID-19 taskforce. And hopefully, you’ll hear from the taskforce soon,” he told the gathering.
Over a month down the line, the film fraternity is outraged as the directive to close cinemas, as part of measures to curb Covid-19 spread, is yet to be reversed.
Silverbird Cinemas Ghana, is one of the facilities bearing the brunt due to closure for over 15 months with over 300 staff having been laid off.
According to its Business Manager, Nana Yaw, they have lost millions due to the situation.
“Annually we are hovering in the margins of 2 million dollars a year, that’s how much Accra Mall makes in year and so that’s how much we have lost,” he explained.
When Mapitso Sebidi of Joy Entertainment asked him about the cinemas’ readiness, he said they have been ready since their first engagement with government in 2020.
Operational guidelines for theatres and cinema halls have been put in place.
The cinema culture in Ghana was on a gradual rise but as cinemas continue to be closed, the Ghanaian film industry may suffer.
Ghanaian film makers and enthusiasts are left to ask one question; When will the cinemas reopen?
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