Kumawood And Ghallywood: A Look At the Distinctions and Similarities


Not few, not some, every Ghanaian is well informed about the seeming beef between movie industries; Kumawood and Ghallywood. In Ghana, there is always a sense of contrast that comes whenever the two industries are mentioned.

In the Ghanaian movie industry, there is an elite sector known as Ghallywood and a local sector known as Kumawood. Regarding Kumawood and Ghallywood as different movie industries can be said to be objectionable and at the same time, justifiable.

This is because even though there has been an unofficial division, we cannot ignore the fact that both industries have both created a huge positive impact on the lives of Ghanaians.

Ghallywood has claimed fame over the past few years breaking through Nollywood and getting closer to the popular Hollywood with its illustrious casts, high picture quality, and top-notch storylines.

But Kumawood, as we know, has been of a relegated regard, having been tagged an industry inferior to the conventional entertainment industries around. From different perspectives, Kumawood is 10 steps backward as it the industry is still struggling to make an international mark, with its movies.

Without further ado, here are the glaring similarities and differences between Kumawood and Ghallywood.

Language

If you have watched most Kumawood movies, you’ll agree with us that Twi is the general language used. As a matter of fact it is very rare to find a Kumawood movie where English language was used to communicate.

If you can recall, this strong regard for the vernacular language was exhibited during the [email protected] independence parade when Kumawood star Agya Koo presented a comedy sketch in Twi. We cannot forget the mixed reactions that followed Agya Koo’s performance, which critics termed inappropriate for such a big platform.

On the other hand, Ghallywood is purely English, the local language is seldom used. Producers in this industry hold the English language at very high esteem and as such inculcate the usage of the language in their movies.

The nature of Kumawood movies has attracted the insult and intimidation from the general public despite the large patronage it garners.

Script

Whether this generates an argument or not, it is no news that Kumawood movies do not come in good scripts. When making a movie in Kumawood, the actors do improvise their own dialogue, as has been gathered. Since the local language is more flexible, it is very convenient for actors to use their own words instead of scripts.

However, in Ghallywood, actors perform to the script and screenplay dialogue strictly.

Culture

Even without giving instances, it is no lie that Kumawood movies tend to embrace Ghana’s cultural heritage more than Ghallywood movies. For instance, in a typical Kumawood movie, Twi language is used as mentioned earlier, they eat local food and most times, the movies have cultural settings.

Kumawood and Ghallywood
Left: Kumawood, Right: Ghallywood

Whereas in Ghallywood, Their movies are so much influenced by foreign culture. From language to costume to location, to nudity, everything appears foreign.

Movie Type

The most evident attribute of Kumawood movies, is the ridiculousness of the movie titles. Even without hearing popular names in the industry, a movie title in Ghana speaks volumes about the nature of the industry it falls under. If you have observed carefully, you would agree with us that 90 percent of movies in the Kumawood industry are comedy-themed. Ranging from the titles, soundtracks, to movie scenes, Kumawood productions live and breathe comic relief.

In Ghallywood the movie titles aren’t so easy to grasp. Ghallywood movies gives audience the privilege of suspense -an attribute that is exhibited from the title to the main movie.

  • Sequels

Ever seen a movie with up to 10 sequels, then you have experienced the Kumawood feeling. Once you see a movie that has a lot of ‘parts’, it’s most likely one of the traditional movies. This is obviously not found in Ghallywood.

Technical Professionalism

In as much as Kumawood movies conserve cultural values, we cannot ignore the fact that production of these movies are done by individuals with little technical know-how. 90% of these individuals have no formal training in film-making. This major flaw in the industry has earned it much ridicule and disregard by the public, whom though appreciative of its impact on the society; criticizes it for its technical backwardness.

For Ghallywood; the production crew in this industry always consist of well-experienced individuals who have obtained both classroom and field training. Moreso, most of the actors and actresses, are individuals who have gained educational and practical exposure in the field (mostly graduates from the School of Performing Arts, as well as several national and international universities).

Movie Release/ Marketing Strategy

Now to the main business of the day -how these movies get to the desired audience. Ghallywood movies mostly get premiered and are shown at cinemas for a long time before they fully hit the markets. Ghallywood is well acquainted with these strategies, employed by movie producers for the purpose of making profit and creating awareness.

Apart from very few instances, Kumawood movies go straight into the market after production. Producers in this industry rarely get their movies premiered or restricted to cinemas for a while. This explains the reason behind their low budget movies as well as lower salaries for their actors.

Notwithstanding, Kumawood releases a lot more movies than Ghallywood. Every week, there’s a new Kumawood movie released, unlike Ghallywood where movies take longer periods.

Kumawood and Ghallywood: Similarities

Having listed out a few discrepancies between the two industries, there are some similarities we would like to share with you.

Kumawood and Ghallywood

Hard work

Kumawood and Ghallywood are made up of individuals who work so hard to make a mark in the entertainment industry. Both actors and production crew are very hard working people.

One Goal

These two industries are after one goal -to make their voices heard nationally and internationally. There might be different approaches but Ghanaians are urged to support the two industries in terms of patronage, sponsorship, and encouragement.