“All we had was a Canon 60D, a $30 Mic that had an attitude and a whole lot of Passion. The Northern King went on to be picked up by Amazon Prime and wowed festival audiences.”
That’s how M.Sayibu chooses to describe his feature film “The Northern King” which was released here in Ghana some time last year. It’s true the atmosphere here has not always been favorable for film makers, especially for those with big ideas and the drive to want to do something outside the box.
Made on a production budget of an estimated Gh¢ 25,000 (according to the films IMDb page) the film does well to contribute to the argument that our films could be more better with a little more effort and a lot more of passion for the arts. Gh¢ 25,000 clearly wasn’t enough money to go around for everyone associated with the making of this film. As we later found out some financial disputes amongst the makers and some of the cast and crew over unsettled fees almost marred the release and potentials of the project. Something that seems to be very common with a lot of indie projects here.
The theatrical run for this noir styled film made here in Ghana wasn’t the best we have seen either. And it’s totally not surprising, considering it being a feature film debut for the production studio; SEG Cineland, in a space were our cinema culture is influenced by goodwill and notability of directors and or casts. But the makers did have a plan for it which seemed to have worked. A subsequent release on Amazon Prime seemed to have turned things around for the production outfit and putting some spring in their strides. Widening their market to include the rest of the world through the online platform seems very satisfactory to the makers even as they gear up for their second feature release, Slumber Party Halloween and the start of their third feature film project titled Hounds of the Western Gulf.
Originally hailing from Bolgatanga in the Northern parts of Ghana, choosing “The Northern king” as the title of his first major project sounds like a subtle attempt at stating his claim as being one of the finest filmmakers by far, to emerge from the north of Ghana. Clearly, M. Sayibu is on a journey and it appears it is only just beginning.
Did The Nothern King turn out perfect? Certainly not…. our review for it (Read here) after we got a private screening late last year better highlights how it turned out and also how it was received. At least from a Ghanaian perspective.
The role of Passion in filmmaking is discredited in this part of the world and often smothered with the issues of funding and financing for projects. But its influence is not lost on the projects that start off with an idea that boldly screams “Making a difference”.
You can watch “The Northern King”, the full movie below as it’s now available on YouTube for free.