Loads of questions are being asked by local press and movie industry insiders about the veracity of information that one and a half million U.S dollars ($1.5M) have been spent on the highly anticipated Ghanaian movie 'Sinking Sands', written and directed by U-S based Ghanaian film maker Leila Dzansi.

In the past four weeks, your authoritative Hi Newspaper has been finding out the actual budget details of ‘Sinking Sands’, since production wrapped up on the movie which was largely filmed in the Volta region of Ghana.

The motive of this story, therefore, is to set the record straight, given that most expensive local movies hardly burn up even GHc50,000 in production cost, be it a Venus production or Sparrow flick.

“With all due respect, this is a movie in its own class”, says production publicist, Poita Perry, when Hi Newspaper spoke with her on phone on Tuesday, November 9, 2010. Prior to the end of production in May 2010, Leila was purported to have told TV3 Spotlight Show host Mutala Muntari that ‘Sinking Sands’ had spent a little below $1M in cost.

“I didn't put out a definite figure”, Leila told Hi Newspaper on Monday (November 8). “I may have mentioned $1M elsewhere as estimated cost prior to production”. At the press screening late October Leila confirmed that $1,000,000 has been spent so far at the end of physical production; and that's before marketing”. She said.

She was never going to disclose how $1,000,000 was spent but a reliable source close to the production camp hinted that over 50% of the $1M budget was spent on the international cast and crew- in all, a little over $560,000 (?).

According to our source, which Leila and the production publicist, Poita Perry failed to confirm, “$100,000 was paid to Hollywood star Jimmy Louis in line with rules of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) of American”.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide. According to SAG's Mission Statement, the Guild seeks to: negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements that establish equitable levels of compensation, benefits, and working conditions for its performers; collect compensation for exploitation of recorded performances by its members, and provide protection against unauthorized use of those performances; and preserve and expand work opportunities for its members.

According to our insider, air tickets cost around $40,000 for the three international actors and 12 crew members including Director of Photography (D.O.P), three cameramen, the first Assistant Director, production designer and make up artiste.

An extra $50,000 was spent on international crew and another $40,000 on local cast made up of Chris Attoh, Ama K. Abrebrese, Akosua Agyepong among others.

At the end of the physical production and before colour correction and marketing of the movie, our source hints, “Sinking Sands had spent over $1,000,000. Another $500,000 is expected to dry up after marketing and exhibitions”.

Media men were given the opportunity to see the movie late October at the Executive Theater at TV3. Officially, Sinking Sand premieres on Saturday November 13 at the National Theater.

In this emotional masterpiece, Jimah and Pabi are a match made in heaven until an accident leaves Jimah with a scar that alters his physical appearance and turns him into a monster -figuratively. Endless days of wife battery become a part of their relationship. Pabi has a chance to flee but her guilt makes her stay, hoping and praying that Jimah will change and life will go back to normal. Her fear of living alone without a family is a weakness Jimah knows she has and he makes every effort to capitalize on it. But how long will Pabi endure? At what cost will she buy her freedom?

Jimmy Jean Louis (played Jimah Sanson) is best known for his role as “The Haitian” on NBC's hit drama “Heroes,” His big screen break happened when he nabbed a role in Jean Claude Van Damme's “Derailed” (GAGA, 2002). He went on to play the supporting role of Gideon in “Tears of Sun” (Columbia Pictures, 2003) starring Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci, directed by Antoine Fuqua.

Jean-Louis shared the big screen with Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in New Line Cinema's “Monster-In-Law” in 2005. In 2006, he landed the role of the leading man and love interest of actress and comedian Monique in the romantic comedy “Phat Girlz” (Fox Searchlight Pictures). Jean-Louis has also made appearances in hit television shows F/X's “The Shield,” HBO's “Arli$$,” CBS's “The District,” and Fox's “Fastlane.”

AmaK Abebrese (PabiAdulai) is a British television presenter, producer and actress of Ghanaian origin. She started her training at Youth Culture Television in London, an organization started by Sabrina Guinness on the TV show Challenge Anneka. She was a presenter on BBC2's youth show Pass daMicand the English File educational series. She is currently head of own Production at Viasat One, Accra.

Writer/director, Leila is a filmmaker who began her career with the GAMA Film Company in Ghana. She wrote and produced her first feature film Babina with Aak Films Ghana at the age of 19. With an academic background in Film and Television and more recently Cultural Anthropology, Leila is a filmmaker who has chosen to tell stories about life, survival, and the delicate intricacies of culture.

The movie was produced by Leila Djansi, Theodore Baidoo and Winrick Kolbe and directed by Leila Djansi Funding was sourced by Turning Point Media.
Source: Hi Newspaper