Liberia Movie Industry Struggles for Acceptance

Jul 29, 2023 - 22:50
Nov 1, 2023 - 22:53
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Liberia Movie Industry Struggles for Acceptance

The primary concern now lies not in the lack of financial gains, but rather in the unfortunate reception of Liberian movies by their own people.

MONROVIA – Despite the immense talent and dedication of Liberian filmmakers, the country’s movie industry continues to face an uphill battle for acceptance and recognition. Over the years, many passionate individuals have poured their time and energy into creating movies in Liberia, but the lack of financial support and the harsh reality of minimal returns on their investment remain major challenges.

However, the primary concern now lies not in the lack of financial gains, but rather in the unfortunate reception of Liberian movies by their own people. Regrettably, Liberian films have been labeled as “Thrash” and deemed unworthy of watching, a sentiment backed by various reasons cited by the public.

Korto Davis, producer and lead cast in the movie “Evil Lives Here,” display awards from the The Journey Home Film Festival held in Monrovia in June. Credit: Kortu Davis Facebook.

During a recent episode of the Kool Weekend Exclusive, hosted by Reality TV Star and On-Air Personality, Sagacious Abraham N. Gorlortor, callers expressed their views on the matter.

One caller pointed out that Liberian movies often imitate Nigerian styles, lacking originality and failing to represent the country’s unique culture. The absence of authentic storytelling appears to be a significant factor contributing to the lack of interest from the local audience.

“Liberian actors and actresses are always imitating Nigerian style of movie and their contents are not original so there’s no need to watch it as it’s not portraying our culture” the caller said.

Another caller criticized the lack of professionalism among Liberian actors and actresses, emphasizing their inconsistency in speaking styles and language usage. This lack of training and inadequate command of English further diminishes the credibility and appeal of Liberian films.

“Liberian actors and actresses are not trained in the movie area. They are inconsistent with their speaking style; at one point they’re speaking standard English and in the same scene they will jump into colloquial.”

Van Vicker and (L) and Eddie Watson are to iconic Liberian actors that have made their names in Nollywood and Ghallywood. They both return home often to support Liberia’s thriving movie industry.

Additional complaints highlighted the poor pronunciation and lack of attention to location details in movie scenes, leading to unrealistic portrayals of the setting and undermining the overall quality of the films.

“Liberian actors can’t speak good English. They don’t pronounce well and they don’t know location. They will be making village show in the evil forest and you be hearing ‘Orange minute, Lonestar minute’ seller announcing in the background. Said another caller.”

This decline in the reputation of Liberian movies is a stark contrast to the past, when they were celebrated in Africa for their meaningful content and portrayal of African culture. The sudden downturn raises questions about the reasons behind this decline and how other African movie industries, like Nigeria and Ghana, surpassed Liberia in popularity and production quality.

However, it is essential to recognize that recent years have seen positive changes in the quality of Liberian movies. Films like “Wheel and Deal,” “Evil Lives Here,” “Breaking of the Bush,” “Doom,” and “King Arthur” demonstrate promising improvements that can rival Nigerian and Ghanaian productions.

To revive the Liberian movie industry and regain public acceptance, it will take collective efforts from all stakeholders. Parents are encouraged to support and introduce their children to Liberian movies, fostering a sense of pride in local productions.

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