Dude hi­jacked my film!

CityPress - - News - PHUMLANI S LANGA phumlani.sithebe@city­press.co.za

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

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