Dude hijacked my film!
Johannesburg film director Tim Greene’s film has been stolen word for word by a director in Ghana.
The 2011 feature Skeem has been duplicated by Kofi Asamoah’s Kofas Media, which renamed it John & John – and it’s a smash hit in that country.
Greene was shocked when he was told that his movie had been remade.
“A Ghanaian journalist looked me up on Facebook to ask if I knew about the movie John & John. The director had been going around saying I had given permission for the ‘adaptation’. I hadn’t and, of course, it was a real surprise. Really, quite a huge surprise. Like, the most surprising single thing that’s happened to me,” Greene said.
When asked to what extent his ideas had been stolen, Greene said: “I haven’t seen the whole thing, but extrapolating from the trailer, it’s a wholesale rip-off. The characters, the situation, events and – line for line – the dialogue.”
He conceded that there were a few things in the trailer he didn’t recognise, “but it’s basically a full jack”.
A film maker usually gives their permission to have their film remade or adapted. When asked if he would have agreed, Greene said: “Yes, without a doubt. In fact, we would have considered it a great honour. There is nothing more flattering than another film maker saying they like your work so much that they want to invest their own blood, sweat and tears into making their own version of it.
“I’m fascinated and endlessly entertained by the whole thing. And weirdly flattered. I mean, they did a bad thing, but no one died. Life goes on. Hopefully, it will all turn out well in the end. I like it that my little movie is having a surreal little afterlife,” Greene said. Greene has reached out to Asamoah. “We’re engaged in conversations right now about making things right. We’re asking them to retroactively purchase the remake rights. They’ve agreed, but we haven’t received any payments yet,” he said.
Greene would rather not involve the law: “Hopefully, it won’t come to that. International litigation gets very expensive very quickly.”
He has not made attempts to speak to the distributors, but his story has gained traction in Ghana, where the media have exposed Asamoah, who has now gone into hiding and was not available for comment.
Tim Greene on the set of Skeem