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NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT THE TURK’S #2: Bless the Bootleg Artists in Africa: One sheets from Ghana

NOBODY'S BUSINESS BUT THE TURK'S #2: Bless the Bootleg Artists in Africa: One sheets from Ghana

By Ali Arikan
Press Play Contributor

Film production and distribution comes in many forms these days. Hollywood is diversifying its traditional techniques, fully adopting video on demand, pay TV and sundry online avenues. But the real innovation seems to be emerging in places like India, the Arab world and Africa, out of necessity rather than greed. Nigeria’s Nollywood, in particular, is thriving, making use of such diverse methods as in-camera editing to cut costs. Another interesting aspect is the support of bootlegs granted by the Nollywood studios. In fact, Nollywood has adopted bootleg DVDs as the chief way of distributing its products, and to a certain extent, films from the West as well.

These practices are also common in another West African nation, Ghana. While its homegrown film industry is nowhere near as robust as Nigeria’s, bootlegs still play just as important of a role here. However, local artists tend to go a step further and recreate the actual one-sheets to promote their bootleg screenings. The result are distinctive artworks that are much more surreal and mysterious — and in most cases more interesting — than the films they promote. Awesome Robo recently ran a feature on this practice. Below, you can see some choice examples; the entire collection is available here:

Anaconda (1997): Dora the Explorer’s demise was neither informative nor pretty, but at least she went out sporting a giant green scaly phallus. We should all be so lucky.

Lionheart, better know as A.W.O.L. in the U.K. (1990): Starring Chris Rock and Billy Dee Williams’ love-child.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): Look! It’s the evil one recreated as a Christmas Panto show. “He’s behind you,” etc.

Catwoman (2004): I don’t even know.

Cujo (1983): Beware the wrath of the rabid cocker spaniel!

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985): Starring Lord Richard Attenborough, apparently.

Hercules (1983): In which the titular hero feeds his insatiable appetite for fornication by rubbing himself up and down a pillar of stone.

Hostel (2005): I appreciate the serene, almost Buddhist look of the disembodied head.

Poltergeist 2 (1986): “I don’t understand this word ‘subtlety.’ It’s a film about demons, yes? Then, goddammit, the poster will have demons on it!”

Sleepy Hollow (1999): The immortal story of how a decapitated female bodybuilder wreaked havoc on a quaint New England town.

Interview with the Vampire (1994): “The fierce ghost eats human region.” That is all.

The Matrix (1999): In which Neo takes the blue pill and Morpheus turns into a ginger.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Nothing says international espionage like a red mullet.

Ali Arikan is the chief film critic of Dipnot TV, a Turkish news portal and iPad magazine, and one of Roger Ebert’s Far-Flung Correspondents. Ali is also a regular contributor to The House Next Door, Slant Magazine’s official blog.

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