Kojo Preko Dankwa
The Foundation of Concerned Arts Professionals (FOCAP), a creative arts industry pressure group largely made up of film industry stakeholders, is calling on the government to immediately take action to lift restrictions on cinemas and theatres to save the industry from collapsing.
This is to enable the film industry to kick start its process of recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic in line with many other sectors.
BEATWAVES gathered that after almost a year of the shutdown, theatres and cinemas in the country are still seeing no signs of reopening business soon. In a proposal written to the government by the operators a few months ago, the operator drafted a set of guidelines they aim to implement to ensure operations can begin with due safety precautions in place.
One of the recommendations suggests that cinema and theatre halls will keep one seat vacant on either side of a customer, except for groups to ensure social distancing.
Thorough disinfection using a fogging machine will be practised inside auditoriums and a 15-minute gap between shows will be maintained for sanitisation process.
According to FOCAP press release sighted by BEATWAVES yesterday, FOCAP indicated that the government has neglected the plea of the creative arts and movie industry stakeholders to re-open the theatres and cinemas after the operators have assured the government that they will observe all the COVID-19 protocols.
“FOCAP recalls that some eminent movie makers and some pressure groups like the NFA Action Group; an industry (film) pressure group asking the government to at least open the cinemas and theatres with all COVID-19 protocols, but the government did not heed to it,” it said.
“The National Film Authority (NFA) and the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture also received documents outlining all the mechanisms as to how our cinemas and theatres will be safe, yet the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and NFA didn’t give a listening ear to it,” it added.
According to FOCAP, it very shocking that the government during the elections allowed political campaigns without adhering to COVID-19 protocols yet didn’t allow cinemas to open where the people can be controlled but rather used the closed cinemas for their political activities.
It indicated that the National Film Authority, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Creative Arts Council must as a matter of urgency, intervene for the creative industry because it is dying slowly and needs assistance.
“Sadly, some banks and financial institutions are chasing after movie directors and stakeholders for unpaid loans and it’s becoming unbearable and embarrassing. We also believe that with the arrival of the vaccines and the ongoing vaccination exercise, it should be safe to open theatres now as we continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols,” the group indicated.
By George Clifford Owusu