In the changing age of digitization and globalization, the film industry has had to adapt to new realities. Piracy, lower budgets, and competition have all taken their toll, but they have also boosted creativity and ingenuity.
Above all, ease of access to information has opened many eyes to film industries that had until now remained in obscurity. Here, TBY takes a look at four of the most promising emerging market film industries in 2018.
While African film production tends to be better known for Nigeria’s film industry, Ghanaian filmmakers have been gaining prominence in recent years.
A young generation of directors and actors is now atering to home-grown and increasingly pan-African audiences.
Filmmakers like Togbe Gavua, who in 2015 won the Silicon Valley Africa award in California as well as other awards for the short-film Sophie, are leaving their mark on the international film scene.
His upcoming film “Lucky,” which focuses on the life of a young Twitter celebrity in modern Ghana, is expected to do well at the box office.
Gavua is only one of many new Ghanaian directors, but despite their talent and proven track record struggle to find investors to fund their films. As the successes of home-grown cinema become more apparent, however, investor money is expected to start pouring in and expand the reach of Ghanaian cinema.
This should further be accelerated by the growing consolidation of the industry through associations like the Ghana National Film Directors Guild, which has been demanding clear legislation for the Ghanaian film industry.
The Dominican Republic has for long been known for its beautiful cinematic locations by those in Hollywood, but over the last few years, the Caribbean nation has quickly become a producer of big screen titles of its own right.
Today, Dominican films are a common sight in many international and Dominican-focused film festivals.
The Dominican Film Festival in New York this year featured 88 films originating in the island nation.
The level of production seen in the Dominican Republic in recent years is unprecedented, and much of the credit must be given to governmental leadership for creating the conditions necessary for the industry to flourish.
After all, with 164 films produced in the Dominican Republic between 2011 and 2017, a sharp contrast to the total of 101 productions shot by Dominicans in the years between 1922 and 2010, the industry is clearly taking off.
The linchpin moment for such remarkable growth was the 2011 passing of a new film law which created tax incentives for investment in the industry; yet another reminder that access to investor funding remains crucial to all film industries across the world.
Once an Eastern European nation cut off from much of the world and living under a suffocating dictatorship, Romania has emerged in recent years as an island of success in the film industry, attracting the interest of directors and filmmakers from all corners of the globe.
Home-grown directors like Cristi Puiu and Cristian Mungiu are now regularly featured at Cannes and Venice, with Romania’s Soviet past and aesthetic combining with a modern view of the world which has enchanted audiences.
Meanwhile, the country’s two major production companies, Media Pro and Castel Film Studios, now partner with major Hollywood film productions which find in Romania the perfect settings for everything from scenic medieval sets to derelict industrial areas.
Francis Ford Coppola, Sasha Baron Cohen, Nicole Kidman, and Costa-Gavras are but some of the many international stars that have worked in Romania in recent years.
This revival of the Romanian film industry shows no signs of abating, gathering more and more interest with each passing year.
In the Middle East, while Saudi Arabia is still adapting to the recent lift on the prohibition of movie theaters, some of its neighbors have promoted and supported flourishing film industries for slightly longer.
The United Arab Emirates has witnessed incredible economic growth in recent decades, and its film industry has grown in parallel. A far cry from its humble beginnings, the UAE now boasts high-level international film festivals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and other cities, is host to a number of industry associations, and enjoys capital access that has allowed it to nurture films companies and filmmakers that now play an important role in the international cinema scene, making strides for the often underrepresented Middle Eastern cinematic aesthetic.
Directors like Abdulla Al-Kaabi, Nayla Al Khaja, or Noujom Al Ghanem have become regular names in most European Festivals, and their work spans all types of big screen productions.
The world of cinema has never been as far reaching and diverse as it is today. While Hollywood continues to dominate in terms of budget, it is clear that its world dominance has receded, with emerging audiences across the world demanding artistic visions grounded in a different aesthetic than that of American producers.
With industries in emerging markets growing at great speed, we could be witnessing a new age in world cinema, with these four nations already positioning themselves at the forefront of the industry.