The Environmental Film Festival of Accra (EFFA) is a nonprofit organization registered in Ghana. In partnership with Creative Storm, the leading communicators for social development, the festival has over the last 12 years grown into Accra’s environmental event of the year. It has registered the highest audiences for environmental education through film in Ghana. The aim of EFFA 2017 is to raise critical public awareness about Ghana’s maritime environment and help deepen understanding of the issues. By creating this platform the festival also aims to broaden the search for positive solutions to the challenges that confront us. EFFA was founded and registered in 2005 as a non – profit organization to raise environmental awareness in Ghana through the powerful medium of film and produced by Creative Storm, Ghana’s leading communicators for social development.
EFFA started as a small gathering of film enthusiasts and environmentalists who found common cause in the idea of creating an engaging public platform to address pressing environmental issues in Ghana and raising awareness through public education. That was 12 years ago. Since then and with the support of a global network of film makers and local partners, the festival has expanded and transformed into a unique public platform for the environment. EFFA has also trained generations of young people to make their own films about the environment. Significantly, the role of public education and advocacy on environmental issues is as critical now as when EFFA was founded over a decade ago.
The broad mission of EFFA is to bring films to Ghana that raise awareness about environmental problems both locally and around the world while also pointing the way to a new paradigm for healthy and sustainable development for all. As the only environmental film festival in Ghana, our wish is for local environmental organizations and government agencies to take part and use the festival as a forum where audiences can observe and participate in discussions. Over the years, we have selected both Ghanaian and foreign films on a broad range of environmental issues. Styles range from animation to drama and from personal essay to investigative documentary. Some of the films also follow vivid stories through the eyes of young people in a variety of social contexts. Film can raise awareness that these issues affect other people in the world, that they can offer people visions of how problems can be addressed and resolved. Considering the importance of protecting Ghana’s maritime environment, good films that use humor, passion and innovative storytelling can have a great impact. We believe that film can offer a constructive approach for people to learn and deepen their appreciation of environmental issues.
Because of the overwhelming success of the first Environmental Film Festival of Accra in 2005, the organizers promised to make the festival an annual event. The award-winning films from around the world have included selections from other festivals, such as the Environmental Film Festival in Washington DC, the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam, the Berlin Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival, Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival and the Festival Pan Africain du Cinéma de Ougadougou in Burkina Faso. We have also collaborated with acclaimed film makers to bring popular films to Accra. In 2009 for example, Fanny Armstrong, Director of The Age of Stupid, kindly offered us the rights to show her sensational film before its world release.
1,000 people came to see the films at the 2005 festival. The following year, thanks to increased funding and involvement of Creative Storm that allowed a much stronger marketing and publicity campaign, the figure rose to 6,000. In 2007, 7,500 people attended. The tallies jumped to 10,400 in 2009, over 11,000 in 2014. In 2015 and 2016 EFFA focused on community based initiatives outside Accra. The tallies continue to steadily grow with additional audiences, estimated in their millions through the Environment Channel Television Series on Ghana Television (GTV) and provision of films to schools, women groups and festivals for educational outreach programmes.
INCREASED REPORTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Over the past 12 years, there has been a general increase in the reporting of environmental issues and stories in the Ghanaian press. EFFA has been part of the concerted effort by a range of environmental groups and organizations to heighten awareness about the challenges that confront
us. Coverage by the print media has been complimented by television and radio. In the run up to the annual festivals, our publicity blitz brings the festival to the attention of many within Accra and nationally. Several articles about the festival appear in the Ghanaian press.