British actor of Ghanaian heritage Idrissa Akuna Elba, alias Idris Elba, has visited the Manhyia Palace in the Asante Kingdom.
Sunday, February 5, Elba attending the first Akwasidae of the year 2023, paid homage to the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Asantehemaa Nana Konadu Yiadom III.
With his production team on hand, the actor taped parts of his time at the Akwasidae festival. It is reported the footage will appear in an upcoming film of his.
The Akwasidae (Sacred Sunday) is celebrated every six weeks at the Manhyia Palace, Kumasi, Ashanti Region. Centred on ancestral veneration, remembrance and acknowledgement of past kings and various noble feats, it begins from the Asantehene’s throne room and is attended by large crowds in traditional clothing like the royal kente.
Friday, February 3, Idris and his team paid a courtesy call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Golden Jubilee House, Accra. He explained the visit was occasioned because of “our programme to build film studios across Africa,” starting with Ghana and its West African neighbours.
The Hollywood superstar disclosed that while delibrating with his team, they noticed that “policy is where the actual groundwork” needs to be done to realise the dream for Africa.
Idris, 50, argued that without the right policy underpinning filmmaking in Ghana, the plan to draw investors to the West African nation will be fruitless.
“I’m led to believe that there are some plans for some other studios to be brought to Ghana which is fantastic and one should not cannibalise the other but without the policy component, I think, it’s safe to say that we can have as many studios as we want but we will not have the filmmakers attracted here,” he said.
He also highlighted a personal project he aims to bring to Ghana.
“What I want to do personally [is], I have a film that I am directing and I am hoping to bring that film or at least some of that film to shoot in Ghana. [For] that film, I would say we’d be here in December. We start pre-production in August. Some of the film, say two or three weeks, will be in Ghana, say by December,” he indicated.
He announced his intention to use his film as a pilot to make a case for the grander project of bringing state-of-the-art studios to Africa to attract the international shakers in the movie industry and hoped for “a fair wind,” and consensus regarding what “we could do in terms of the policy.”
“Needless to say, it’ll take a lot of collaboration to move quickly. However, it would be very beneficial for us to show and to make an announcement to the world that Ghana is open for business [so] here [are] the steps, the policies are in place, and we are actually bringing a film [by] one of [those of] the soil,” he touched his chest proudly, “to our country and we’re going to put our money where our mouth is.”
In 2015, Idris Elba starred in a film based on a 2005 novel titled ‘Beast of No Nation’ (by Uzodinma Iweala), a title inspired by a Fela Kuti album of the same name. Shot in Ghana, the award-winning film birthed a new movie star, Abraham Attah.