PRESS RELEASES

2019 WINNERS ANNOUNCED

After four days of great events and activities including the Opening Ceremony, Masterclass class with Christian Epps, the African Film market and panel sessions, and the Blackstar Music Concert (BMC), the Yaa Asantewaa Awards Night 2019 happened on 24th August, 2019 at the Snap Cinema inside the Accra Metropolitan Assembly Headoffice.

It was a night of fun with cultural, musical and poetry performances attended by diplomats, actors, film directors, film lovers and several industry players from in and outside Ghana.

The Black Star International Film Festival wishes to once again congratulate all filmmakers whose films made it to the 2019 Official selection list and particularly those who won awards on the night.

Below is the list of winners at the Yaa Asantewaa Awards 2019:

Best Documentary (USA) The money Stone by Stuart Harmon

Best Feature (USA) The House Invictus by Uche Aguh

Best Short (GHANA) Nirvana by Richard Governor Owusu

Women in Film (NIGERIA) Oriki by Nkiru Njoku

Best Student Film (SOUTH AFRICA) Nomvula by Jason Maselle and Advik Beni

Africa Rising (GERMANY) Divine419: Hawkers Hustle by Johannes Krug

Best Animation ( GHANA) Azumah:The Ghanaian Hero by Nii Ofei Kyei Dodoo (Indegene BROS)

BLACK STAR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (BSIFF) RELEASES 2019 OFFICIAL SELECTION

Accra, Ghana, Release: 30th July, 2019. For Immediate release

The Black Star International Film Institute is excited to announce the 2019 Official Selection for the Black International Film Festival.

We take this opportunity to thank all filmmakers who submitted to the festival and to congratulate those who made the difficult cut this year. Many great films were submitted from all over the world, however, as expected, only few could be selected for the festival.

We also take the opportunity to thank our hardworking Jury for successfully completing this tedious process.

In total, twenty-seven (27) films were selected into competition in seven categories namely; Documentary, Short Film, Feature Film, Women in Film, Student Film, Africa Rising and Animation. Two (2) more films were selected into a non-competitive category for special screening. Kindly see full selection list attached.

All films will be premiering for the first time in Ghana during the festival.

Special congratulations to our opening films; ‘Nirvana’ by William Kojo Agbeti (Ghana) and ‘Life In My Shoe’ by Wimana Beatrice (Uganda) and closing film; The Game Changers, the highly anticipated movie from producer Louie Psihoyos (and Executive Producers including James Cameron, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF) 2019 is scheduled to take off from 20th to 26th August 2019.

This year, the festival runs as an official Year of Return 2019 event and offers a wide range of activities including workshops, panel sessions, the African Film market, a music concert, awards night and daily film screenings all happening in the city of Accra-Ghana.

Signed

Lukman B.L. Issah
Head, P.R and Communications

Ghana signs MOU to show Ghanaian focused content at Ghanaian Missions Globally

The Black Star International Film Institute, organizers of the Black Star International Film Festival, on the 6th of June, with a delegation from the National Film and Television Institute and the BUSAC Fund, joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to sign an MOU to work with the Ministry to show Ghanaian promotional content on Ghanaian culture, education and the youth, Trade, investments and education local content at all Missions (Embassies) around the world.

The signing of the MOU was an outcome of ongoing discussions amongst the parties on how to use Ghana missions abroad to promote social, cultural and economic interests of Ghanaians through film and related content. The goal will be to take the opportunity that the missions present to the visitor, to inform, educate, sell and reinforce the desire to know more about Ghana and visit Ghana either as a Tourist or investor.

This advocacy initiative has been a key focus of the Institute and together with our partners, we are grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Minister for welcoming the initiative and working with us to make this a policy.

We also say a big thank you to our partners the BUSAC fund for their support and we look forward to working closely with the National Film and Television Institute to bring ultimate value to Ghana in the long term.

We are excited about what this means for Ghana as a whole to sell itself at key points of contact around the world and the opportunity it also brings to filmmakers and content makers to have the opportunity to expose their work to the world and reach new audiences

A press conference will follow in due course to announce the details of the agreement between the Ministry and the Black Star International Film Institute, organizers of the Black Star International Film Festival.

BLACK STAR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (BSIFF) 2019 OPENS SUBMISSIONS

We are pleased to announce that submission of films for the fourth (4th) edition of the Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF) opens today, 1st February, 2019.

Submissions are open in the following seven categories; Documentary, Feature film, Short film, Animation, Women in film, Africa rising, and Student film.

All submitted films must at least be premiering for the first time in Ghana at BSIFF 2019 and  must have been completed after 1st January, 2017.

Submissions ends at 11:59pm GMT on 31st March, 2019 and should be made via www.filmfreeway.com/bsiff, www.withoutabox.com or www.festhome.com. Submission is free for Ghanaian filmmakers.

The Black Star International Film Festival has since its inception in 2016, continued to grow and gained recognition as one of the fastest growing film festivals on the African continent. It has and continues to serve as a great platform for filmmakers from all over the world to showcase their works to a wide range of audiences, learn great and innovative industry practices, network with fellow filmmakers and distributors from across the globe.

The festival boasts of great events including panel sessions, BSIFF Lab (workshop), film screenings, a music concert and an award night, which are attended by many people from all over the world.

This is a unique opportunity for filmmakers including professionals, amateurs and student filmmakers to showcase their work to fellow filmmakers, film lovers, distributors and other key stakeholders from all over the world.

Questions regarding submissions may be directed to info@bsiff.org. For updates, keep visiting www.bsiff.org or follow us via our social media handles; @BSIFilmFestival on Twitter, @blackstarIntFilmFest on Instagram and Black Star International Film Festival on Facebook.


An international film festival hits Ghana - BSIFF

It is time for a credible film festival to take place in Ghana annually… Let us just focus on the four key things that a healthy film industry brings to a country…

Film is a cultural diplomacy tool.

Look around you and see all the cultural arms of the various embassies operating in Ghana and in many instances, budgets placed aside by their home countries to support the promotion of the Arts. A number of these embassies may have movie nights; understanding that film is a key cultural diplomacy tool. It offers an opportunity to shape perceptionsto explain issuesto engage foreign cultures and to foster understanding. Even before I ever set foot into the UK or the United States, I had an understanding of what to expect and how to engage with the British or American. I understood that America was powerfuland learnt about the American love for country and life, not necessarily from watching the news, but from watching films like Rambo and die-hard. Films like AirForce-1 left an indelible mark on my brain.

As a key part of their foreign policy engagement, the role of Films and music in underscoring the American global influence for instance, cannot be underrated. Imagine if every Ghanaian embassy around the world had the budget and mandate to purchase and show two Ghanaian films at the embassy every year; as an opportunity to engage, and connect with their environment. Imagine the interest this will create about Ghana. How many people will suddenly plan their holiday time to spend it in Ghana… or maybe explore the opportunity to do business here. Most importantly, imagine what it will do for the local film industry. To qualify your film to be bought, filmmakers may even start to up the quality of their films. The filmmaker whose film is bought will make some money and quickly plan to make another film, thereby employing many young hands desperate for jobs… just imagine what this one policy by the government will achieve.

We hereby call on the government of Ghana and our President, H.E John Dramani Mahama, represented here today by the honorable Deputy ministers of communications, Mr. Ato Sarpong and the honorable deputy minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Dzifa Gomashie, who is herself one of the best products of this industry, and is today serving the government of Ghana. We ask, that the policy be passed that mandates each embassy to show only two Ghanaian films every year… Imagine that!

The Blackstar international film festival is ready to work with the government to enable this process and to help set the standards for the films that get selected.

Film festivals like Sundance and Tribecca film festival, serve as a key connector of the American film culture to the rest of the world. Bringing films from the globe and filmmakers with a story to tell and money to spend, to network, build opportunitiesand map out the images that will shape the minds of viewers for centuries; Ultimately, enabling trade. People are drawn to places to live and do business by the images they see and what they hear about those countries. The story of our country needs to be told in a systematic way and not just left to news-makers, especially foreign media, who are perhaps, driven foremost, by the level of sensation a story carries, and not the true picture of the reality. When used right, film can jump-start interest in a country’s story and thereby draw both visitors for Tourism and for business. Understanding this, other African countries are way ahead in the game. South Africa for instance, has 11 film treaties with 11 countries… but check this, not one with an African country… Why is this?

South Africa is aggressively selling itself through the film festival circuit. The Durban film festival is highly respected and recently, other film festivals like Rapidlion have been launched. South Africa has already captured a key film market like Discop, which was run unsuccessfully in Ghana for just one year. On my last visit to Discop, I was courted by various executives from the different provinces in South Africa. Each executive fighting to have filmmakers make films with their local producers. Imagine such competition, even within country. The driver of this initiative off course, is their government.

Today, South Africa has some very interesting film policies. For instance, if you shoot at a certain budget, co-producing with a South African and shoot a certain percentage of the film in South Africa, you are refunded about 50% of your total budget by the government. My response to this? is wow, wow wow! Imagine that!

A typical film may employ in the space of a few months, hundreds of people from very high skill levels to low skill levels and skills sets from across the spectrum. From Accountants, to designers to artists, to writers, the list goes on, creating critical employment. A typical production may also make purchases that run into thousands of dollars. The story is even sweeter when foreign collaborations happen, for then there is a lot of skills transfers and foreign currency inflows. Talk about low hanging fruits… in our quest to find jobs for the many young people that are still looking to find the Ghanaian dream.

The Black international film festival idea, was birth in October 2015… As I have been promoting the Blackstar international film festival, several things have stood out to me. This is the time for Ghana to get in the global race to capture the best in film, to showcase itself through cinema, but most importantly, to be at the forefront of the conversation about the role of cinema in shaping the mind of a people. Our first President, Dr. Nkrumah perhaps had carried a secret in his heart to his deathbed - that the emancipation of the African mind will ride through town, on the back of the horse of Cinema, carrying the sword of self knowledge. It is with this insight that he built one of the first film labs and film studio in Africa. The National Film and television Institute, was later built to help feed this opportunity.

Who we are, what we hope to become and what we would truly become, all lie in the ‘mirror mirror’ of our Cinema. Cinema after all is the imitation, the reflection, and in many instances, a soothsayer to life.

It is time to have a conversation, it is time to connect, it is time to do business

Finally we arrive to welcome the rest of Africa, and we invite the world to join us to explore what it truly means to tell a story, to tell an African story, to listen to the world tell its story and to truly appreciate that at the end of the day, we are all telling one story - The human story…

Keep in mind that submissions open in March. Go to our site or facebook page and follow the link to filmFreeWay, our submissions partner and submit your film. The festival is in August. I will also take the opportunity to call on all stakeholders, filmmakers and their guilds, distributors, interested organizations, the corporates, to all add your voices to ours. We need you to make this work. If you are a corporate, you should take advantage of the platform that we offer you. to learn more, visit www.blackstarinternationalfilmfestival.org

I’d like to say thank you once again to everyone here, for coming. Get ready for a journey whose final destination, you can’t even begin to imagine; but be assured that you will like it… Enjoy the ride.

Speech by Juliet Asante - Executive Director