Great News from the ISD Film Library!

On Wednesday, 22 September 2010, a collection of PAL VHS dubs of twenty different films from Information Services Department (ISD) collection was delivered from the ISD Central Offices to the ISD Cinema Department Film Library in North Industrial Area. The VHS tapes are transfers of early pre and post independence Ghanaian films, including some rare Colonial Film Unit documentaries shot in Ghana (what was then the Gold Coast): University College of the Gold Coast (1948); Boy Scout Rally, Accra (1947); Swollen Shoot (1948); Welcome Home! (1946); and Accra Market (1948). These VHS dubs could make the process of making access DVD copies of these early celluloid films possible much faster. I’m still working on identifying some of the titles and dates so please leave comments if you have any information about the following titles:

Monty Visits Accra (1948)
Ghana Prime Minister Visit to India, Ghana Film Unit
Industrial Development in Ghana, Ghana Information Service Department
1953 Coronation Celebrations [may actually be A Salute to A Queen]
Ghana Police [may actually be Your Police]
Arrival of Sir Gerald Creasey
Departure of Sir Alan Burns
Ghana Republic
New Chief Installed
Canning Factory
Tema Harbour
Accra Town Council
Literacy Days in Fantiland


2 thoughts on “Great News from the ISD Film Library!

  1. Jennifer,

    I research film in Nigeria and just came across your website. I find your work really interesting. While my interest in colonial film is just a part of my general interest in the history of Nigerian cinema, I think it most important and I am always looking for sources. I’m sure you’re aware that many of the same CFU films were show across Anglophone Africa. Anyhow, I’ve read references in the Nigerian archives to the film Welcome Home! (1946). Have you been able to digitize it yet? Have you even seen it? I would love to get a copy or a synopsis if possible.

    Good Luck with your research,

    1. Hello Matt! It is good to hear from you.

      Yes, one of my research interests is how these different colonial African films circulated throughout the colonies and how that circulation influenced and shaped African conceptions of Africa as a whole. There are many Nigerian titles in the Information Services Department collection as I’m sure there are many Ghanaian titles in the Nigerian Film Archives. What I’ve found really interesting is that talking to former cinema van commentators in Ghana, they would often not tell audiences that films from Nigeria were in fact from Nigeria. They would ignore the issues of geography and cultural specificity that anthropologist Peter Morton-Williams argues was necessary for cinema comprehension.

      We haven’t digitized Welcome Home! yet so I haven’t watched it. I will do my best to make it a priority and get back to you. Below is a copy of the description from the colonial publication, Colonial Cinema.

      “This is the first complete film made by our camera unit in West Africa. Originally intended as a Cinemagazine item, it was considered by the Committee of sufficient interest to make a film in itself. It shows the arrival home of the 8th Battalion, the Gold Coast Regiment after active service in Burma. Naturally it will be popular in West Africa, but it should have a much wider appeal.” (Colonial Cinema)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s