It’s been over 10 years of colossal competition between two movie industries – Kumawood and Ghallywood under one big roof – the Ghana movie industry.It’s been over 10 years of colossal competition between two movie industries – Kumawood and Ghallywood under one big roof – the Ghana movie industry.
Ghallywood has claimed fame over the past few years breaking through Nollywood and getting closer to the popular Hollywood with its illustrious casts, high picture quality and top-notch storylines.
Kumawood on the other hand is still crawling to make an international mark with its local languages used in movies, comical and less educated cast, bad plot, low budgeted and comic-inspired storylines, which result in what many critics and some Ghanaian movie lovers (mostly on social media) describe as a ‘horrible’ end product.
But you will be stupefied to know that the majority of Ghanaians patronise Kumawood movies than the so-called Ghallywood movies.
I took my time to find out from a random number of people, the movies they enjoy and all (100%) told me they enjoy Kumawood movies than Ghallywood.
I was flabbergasted by the result but wanted to know more about Kumawood movies and why Ghanaians enjoy them the most. To satisfy my curiosity, I called Agya Koo, one of the pioneers of Kumawood movies and A-list actor to find out the secret behind the industry’s success.
“Kumawood movies are made of Ghanaian local dialects such as Akuapem, Twi, Asante, Ada, Kwahu, Kyerempon, Dagomba, Sisala, Ga, and the rest,” he told me.
“These are the languages most people are comfortable with. The ability to understand languages in movies let viewers enjoy. A lot of movie lovers don’t love English movies because they hardly understand what they (the cast) are saying, so instead, they switch to Kumawood movies. There’s nothing better than enjoying your own language. It is the language God has given to us and that’s why people enjoy the movies most,” Agya Koo said.
Aside from the local dialect being used in Kumawood movies, there’s another secret ingredient – and that is the cast.
“Nine to ten years ago, there were talented casts in Kumawood movies which makes them entertaining and competitive to watch,” he revealed. “Katawere, Wayoosi, Akrobeto, Mercy Asiedu, Kyeiwaa, Paa George, including me still make them interesting to watch,” he told me.
Another top secret in Kumawood movies success is the demonstration of the indigenous Ghanaian culture and good moral lessons. Most of the movies the Kumawood industry produces contain good moral lessons.
From witches and wizards being caught to kids being maltreated under the light by guardians, Kumawood has brought us countless moral lessons, inspiring theatrical experience and entertainment.
The productions are always awkward but social media finds joy in them. Kumawood movies’ animations, stunts, editing, scripts and special effects are amazingly crazy.
In May 2015, US TV presenter Conan O’Brien hosted TJ Miller on his show, ‘Conan’, where TJ mentioned that he would be hosting the Golden Trailer Awards 2015.
TJ brought his absolutely favourite trailer to the show and guess what, it was Ghana’s sci-fi movie titled “2016” which stars Kumawood favourites such as Kyeiwaa, Katawere and others. TJ Miller described it as an international film of unknown origin. After Conan sees it he said “that’s a real trailer…I have to see that movie…it’s the worst but best special effects I have ever seen.”
That is how far Kumawood movies have gone with its special effects. Producers spend a few days to shoot and edit hence the poor results. I remember Socrates Osafo once jabbed Kumawood producers and claimed “when you go to Kumasi, they spend three days to shoot a movie.” They really look horrible but the moment they are produced, they go viral online than Ghallywood movies.
Grammatical errors in most of their scripts just get everyone talking and sharing on social media for weeks.
Snippets and trailers of Kumawood movies which are uploaded on online streaming platform, YouTube, gets massive views, more than Ghallywood movies.
And oh, let’s not forget about some of the comic actors who are driving movie lovers crazy and attracting thousands of buyers for producers. Among them are Katawere, Kyeiwaa, Vivian Jill, Miriam Akyere Bruwaa, Agya Koo, Emelia Brobbey, Mercy Aseidu, Nana Ama Mcbrown, Akrobeto, Mr Beautiful, Bill Asamoah, Wayoosi, Yaw Dabo, Kwaku Manu and the ‘almighty’ Lil Win.
These extraordinary actors give viewers new experiences with any movie they feature. The current biggest star among them is Kwadwo Nkansah aka Lil Win. Thousands of movie lovers rush for any new movie he is featured in. He drives crowd to events and his presence at any place create scenes.
And financially, Kumawood producers may be earning hundreds of thousands of Ghana cedis. Because while Ghallywood movies are being ripped and uploaded to online streaming sites for free views, Kumawood movies come in CDs and they are sold at hundreds of movie stores across the country. Ghallywood producers sometimes get to premiere their movies three times but Kumawood movies can be found at any corner of Ghana.
In a nutshell, Kumawood movies might look ‘horrible’ but millions of Ghanaians enjoy watching them.