Ghana’s Adam’s Apples launches an innovative ten-part film series that will be distributed to cinemas with a special anti-piracy lock

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Ghallywood almost certainly came before Nollywood but somehow Ghanaians are too modest for their own good. This week sees the opening of Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Adam’s Apples, an innovative ten-part film series full of Wahala (that’s trouble, to you and me). But the innovation doesn’t stop there as her partner Ken Attoh of Sparrow Films has devised a way to cut down piracy when the film is shown in cinemas. Sylvain Beletre and Russell Southwood spoke these Ghanaian film innovators.

This is the seventh movie written and directed by Shirley Frimpong-Manso. This production is quite different from what she has produced in the past; it has been shot as a 10 chapter cinema movie series that will show in Accra. This format is a major innovation as series are usually made for TV, not for cinema viewings. Shooting locations showcase the capital: local restaurants, nightclubs, marketplaces, the beach, river sides and Accra’s streets.

What is the plot? It is about the lives of four “Adams”, all Ghanaian women: three in their early and mid thirties, daughters of Ms. Adams, their mother in her late 50s, the widowed, ex-diplomat’s wife. Her daughters are her three ‘apples’.

The film comes with a lot of dramas: marriage, professional achievements, boyfriends, children, fashion and seduction. As they work through life’s struggles, they achieve success, failures or happiness in a fast changing world.
Each episode is a story on its own but there is a hook at the end of each one. After a given episode, viewers will feel satisfied but will also be curious to know what’s happening next, a bit as happens in say ‘Desperate housewives’. Adam’s Apples was inspired by various sources: films and series, friends’ personal stories, real life experience, actors’ influences.

Each chapter of Adams Apples will open at the cinema every month over a 12-month period. The first chapter will begin with a grand premiere on the 21st of April 2011 at the National Theatre in Accra and subsequent chapters will be released consecutively at the Silverbird cinema in Accra Mall up to February 2012.

The supporting cast is about 30 actors, and main actors and actresses include:
Yvone Okoro, Jocelyn Dumas, Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku, and Anima Misa Amoah, Ajetey Anang, John Dumelo, KSM and many more.

Shirley’s partner Ken Attoh is responsible for the business side of Sparrow Productions. It costs about US$60,000 to make a movie of this kind in Ghana and the hope is that doing 10 simultaneously will both cut costs and allow them to make a more significant profit. The films will show in Ghana’s main cinema, Silverbird at the Accra Mall, where it is likely to make back about a third of its budget per film. One of its previous releases made US$8,000 over three weeks in cinemas in Nigeria. Interest in the latest film is high: in little under three weeks the trailer on You Tube (see below) has been viewed by nearly 9,500 people.

To try and avoid piracy at the cinema, Attoh has bought several Apple TV units for digital playback in the cinemas:”No-one can take it off and they can only replay it through the machine.”

Attoh says that:”Cinema culture doesn’t really exist in Ghana like it did in the 1970s and early 1980s. Everything is now on VCD and people stay at home more.” Based on a survey carried out by Sparrow, current cinema-goers are in the 15-40 age range with many student movie lovers. The majority of cinema-goers are women However there are signs that cinema expansion is on the horizon. Two other cinemas are planned for Accra and one possibly in Kumasi. Without box office income from a wider range of cinemas, it’s hard to make the business model for local African films work.

After its cinema release, it will be put out on DVD with about a 100,000 copies run, selling at US$3.30. There are as Attoh puts it “formal networks but they are not organised. These are the distributors who sell to shops. Silverbird also sell it in their lifestyle store.” It will also sell to largely diaspora audiences in the UK and USA through distributors. Beyond that point piracy takes over and the films will then be sold on to television.

Sparrow is looking for new distribution networks so partners are welcome to contact the production company. click here for details.

Most of the funding comes from Sparrow Productions’ own coffers and bank loans, but it also comes from four main sponsors including via product placements: MTN, GTP (clothes fabrics-fashion), Virgin Atlantic and Gandoo Cosmetics.

Shirley Frimpong Manso believes that government and key media players could craft a more vigorous trade and investment programme to ensure that the Ghanaian film industry’s voice is heard in the local and broader international platforms. The Communication Ministry recently agreed to draft a paper and could get even more involved with tax relief on broadcasting equipment, incentives and funding. She also believes local film professionals should get together through an association.

Official channel for Adam’s Apple

Adams Apples Chapter 1 - Official Trailer

Adams Apples - Chapter One snippet (dump him first)


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Shirley Frimpong Manso on her latest 10-part film release Adam’s Apples, Ghana's film industry and Nollywood

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Enrico Chiesa, on using VoD to distribute African audiovisual content

Broadcast and Film Africa Conference 2011 Announcement

Oshwal Centre, Nairobi, 6-7 July 2011

Leading electronic media expert to be a keynote speaker at Broadcast & Film Africa 2011

AITEC has announced that Arthur Goldstuck, a leading media analyst from South Africa, will be a keynote speaker at the third annual AITEC Broadcast & Film Africa Conference, to be held in Nairobi over 6-7 July.  He will make a presentation on “Mobile TV – the critical consumer factors”.

Announcing the keynote speaker, Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa, said: “Arthur will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with delegates at the Congress. He’s one of the region’s thought-leaders in trends in electronic media, consumer use of technology, and the social landscape of the future. Together with the over 40 other industry leaders that we will have making presentations and providing workshops and masterclasses at the event, he will contribute to a compelling information-rich two-day programme.”

Arthur is an award-winning writer, analyst and commentator on Internet, mobile and business and consumer technologies. He heads World Wide Worx in South Africa, leading groundbreaking research into how change is affecting businesses large and small. Clients include South Africa’s major financial institutions and corporations, government departments and agencies, and international organisations.
Arthur is author of 17 books, including South Africa’s best-selling IT book yet, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Internet", and the current guide to mobilising the workplace, “The Mobile Office”. Through Penguin Books, he has also published five books on urban legends.

For further details email or click here for website.