The First Lady of Ghana, H.E Rebecca Akufo-Addo’s gave a speech at the recent Black Star International Film Festival film symposium under the theme ‘Film as a tool for changing the narrative for women’. Please see the full text below:
SPEECH AT BSIFF SYMPOSIUM ON FILM AS A TOOL FOR CHANGING THE NARRATIVE FOR WOMEN
Good evening everyone
Let me congratulate the Black Star International Film institute, organizers of the Black Star International film Festival for tonight’s event and commend them for the theme of this symposium: Film as a tool for changing the narrative for women.
As one passionate about the well-being of women and children, I am happy that we can come together, to examine the portrayal of women in film and change the narrative to reflect the enormous contributions of women to society. Film as a tool for changing the global narrative for women will certainly foster an environment that is supportive of omen.
I am not an expert on film but as a social observer I have followed the success stories of women over the centuries who have done incredible things, but whose stories have not been told. Occasionally of course, we do get stories of incredible women as portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures” which highlights the contribution of three African -American women to NASA.
Often, however the stories of many incredible women are not captured on film, to be an example for younger women and break the myth that women are less than men. When we fail to tell the stories of such extraordinary women, we lose a valuable part of our history and heritage.
I believe that we in Ghana have also failed to tell the stories of the incredible journey and contributions of our women. Ghana abounds with stories of female heroes in our daily lives and communities and so I ask myself, where are their stories? I charge those of you in the film industry to tell these stories.
I also encourage investors to invest in the film industry, to give the necessary support to our film makers, who often struggle to raise the financing for film production.
We also know that film can be used to highlight social and developmental issues. And indeed as Ghana works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, I believe film can be a powerful tool to galvanize our citizenry and engage them in the development process.
I wish therefore to congratulate the Black Star International film festival for working with the UNDP to introduce the Yaa Asantewa UNDP awards, which seeks to encourage filmmakers to use the powerful tool of film to highlight the Sustainable Development Goals. It is my hope that moving on, we will see more films that highlight social concerns.
Film can be used as a tool to raise awareness of the issues that our people face daily. Issues related to illiteracy, Female circumcision, HIV/AIDS, the environment, sanitation and many more. I was therefore happy to learn that, one of the winners of this year’s Yaa- Asantewa UNDP award was ‘Black Barbie’ by Comfort Arthur, a film that speaks about the unhealthy phenomenon of skin bleaching, the filmmaker’s own struggle with self-image and how she overcame it -Thus inspiring many young ladies in the process. I would definitely like to see more of such films that uplift and inform our population, as well as bear witness of our beautiful culture.
Let me take the opportunity therefore to throw a challenge to the sector to make more films that sell Ghana positively, as an investment and Tourism destination and to communicate the beauty of Ghana and our cultures. We must take advantage of all the benefits that film offers to educate our people, promote our country and create jobs for the many young talented people with ideas, who are looking for opportunities to express that talent.
I wish the Black Star International Film Festival success in future endeavours and look forward to seeing more Ghanaian films, submitted to next year’s festival. More importantly, I look forward to seeing more films that help to tell the stories of Ghanaian women.
Thank you everyone and good evening