Globalisation and indigenous cinemas:
a history of Ghanaian Dagbanli films
While there has been extensive research on English language media in Ghana, there remains a huge gap in indigenous language media research. Through in-depth interviews with movie industry stakeholders, this article examines the history of indigenous language film in Northern Ghana, paying attention to the evolution of the movie industry and the various cultural flows that have shaped its development. Grounding the study in indigenous African knowledge systems, I present the history of the Dagbanli movie industry. I argue that to understand how the Dagbanli movie industry has been sustained for three decades, it is imperative to examine critically the industry’s history and the innovative strategies filmmakers have employed to keep up with changing trends in technology and aesthetics in the film industry. Filmmakers draw on Dagbaŋ culture (one of the major ethnic groups in Ghana) and film industries in the Global South to address the needs of their audiences while funding their films independently. From these findings, practical and theoretical recommendations are presented to contribute to improving filmmaking and research on indigenous language filmmaking in Ghana.
Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed is an assistant professor of global media at the College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is co-editor of the book, African Women in Digital Spaces: Redefining Social Movements on the Continent and in the Diaspora (forthcoming 2022). Her research which focuses on feminisms, broadcast media, development communication, and political economy of communication have appeared in Communication Theory, Review of Communication, and the Howard Journal of Communications.