Why I Relocated to Ghana

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Home Video People: Why I Relocated to Ghana -- Christine Michael

Vanguard (Lagos)
April 17, 2004
Posted to the web April 19, 2004

By Fred Iwenjora

Christine Michael is a Nigerian TV and movie producer now based in Ghana where she produces movies, TV serials and worked for Metro TV, one of Ghana's private television stations.

The CEO of Springboard Communication with interest in TV, movies, PR and marketing could be described as one of Nigeria's movie ambassadors in Ghana because no movie maker touches Ghana without some how reaching her to hear the latest. Enjoy her story, why she relocated and what she is doing.

Why I relocated

I may not have been the first person to come to Ghana from Nigeria in the course of making movies. But I may have been the first person who decided to stay. I had decided to come here when Emma Ayalogu decided to bring one of our film ambitions to Accra to see if it could be accepted here. It took several years to be put together. After that, I saw that even though I had put in so much into it we couldn't break even.

My partner Ambassador Chris Chukwu and I were naive then. We had some element of greed. I think he expected a lot from the production. We didn't make a dime. After the production, I handed over every tape to him and told him to make sure he paid the artistes and took off. I produced the part one and handed over to him. I don't think the part II was ever made.

I made another movie Testament which Emma Ayalogu brought to Ghana. It was the first movie which we used some special effects to do for a guy, named Frank. When they came to Ghana, they did not have the staying power so I said let me go and follow it up. People were very sceptical about my trip. But I tell you, the Lord just made a way for me.

I didn't plan to stay. I just came with one small bag but things started to happen so fast and I found myself enjoying the place that in the space of three months, I produced a Christian movie titled Broken wall. It gave me so much money. The movie was done here with Ghanaian artistes. The script was written in Nigeria with Igbo names which were later changed.

The movie talks about forgiveness and the property makes it possible for churches to use it for couples-- husband and wife education. It is a movie that has been able to break grounds into South Africa. My husband also has been able to take it into United States. I am surprised about the acceptance of what I used super VHS recording facility to do. So I am even thinking of remaking the movie because I only did part I. It is the story of a man and woman of God who had other friends. In the process of counselling something happened.

The man had an affair which led to the coming of a baby. The woman forgave the man, the other woman went her way to raise the love child. But when sin enters a home, it creates other complications. I dwelt on the complications. For instance, if one sleeps with an AIDS victim and your wife forgives you. The repercussion stays. In this case, the man has two homes now and faces the problems. I then followed it up with others about three and I have done a series which is showing in South Africa. I have not aired the films yet. The truth is that I didn't want to run the serial in my own Metro Network here in Ghana.

Metro Job

It was a miracle of its own when I was producing the Broken Wall, one of my cast helped me get location for restaurant and office space at one man's office. That man turned out to be Takel, owner of Metro TV Ghana. He gave me the entire compound to use. After the production, I went back to thank him.

He told me he had plans for a TV station and suggested if I could come and help out. I told him that I could help him recruit some able hands. He said okay. I got him Victor Enemosa who was working with Swift Studios. I got him and two other guys.

After an interview, he took only Victor Enemosah and took him to London for training. Then we lost contact. When I started Facts Magazine, I took it to him for sponsorship in terms of advertising. He kept the magazine aside and told me he has been asking me to help him propagate his mission of owing a TV station. He said he wanted me to hold onto the production department. I agreed to come in thrice a week as consultant. Thrice a week this man made me come daily and later made me an offer. I couldn't refuse and made me head of programmes and production - it was a big challenge. For the first time I saw someone who didn't really know me but so much believed in me. I said to myself that there's no need to say no. I went into the company with all my heart and worked as if I was working for my father's company. I was there for four years.

Compare your life in Nigeria and in Ghana

What I will say here you won't like. I was born in Cameroun, I went to school my husband is also a Camerounian and I am practically from there. We have a daughter. When NEK saw me, he asked me to be his PRO. I took up that job and worked for him for sometime. But his wife started suspecting that I was having an affair with him. I thought it was absolute hash so I packed up my bags and walked out. We were casting for Glamour Girls 2. What I am saying is that I couldn't fit into Nigeria. I thought I was ready for Nigeria and couldn't fit. I am matured enough to know that if one thing is not working I find another place where it works. I don't have to stay there and grow old trying. I have to find another place where God wants me to be blessed.

I didn't plan to stay in Ghana. At the time I wasn't yet matured enough to realise God's plans for us. There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof is destruction. Forget about those who say they saw vision to be wherever they are. I didn't see anything. I knew there was an opportunity to go to Ghana and I needed a change of environment to rest and clear my head. I came here to clear my head and God made a way for me. Like you are here if you see a big break enough to make you change your mind, won't you do so? This is not running away from Nigeria. I didn't know any one in Ghana when I came I only had a bag and twenty thousand six hundred naira only. As a matter of fact, where I packed my things in Nigeria before coming to Ghana, I believe they must be rotten now. I have never looked back. That is the way it is. It was not a planned journey and I must say I have gotten back those things a hundred fold and I am grateful to God.

Nigeria movies conquest

This is a great development. Won't you be proud that your product sells far and wide? But the problem is ignorance about how these things are done as they concern copyrights and royalties. There is lack of understanding about the way things are done. Some Nigerians criticised me for allowing their movies to be shown on Metro TV without payment of due rights fees. But they forget that they give the marketers in Ghana the rights to market the movies.

They bring the movies and show us the rights they have. We are in barter arrangement with them as they do in Nigeria. To tell you the truth, every weekend, there is a role calling African movies on Metro TV. Monday, Tuesday, we run Super Story, we also run Papa Ajasco. Most of these movies are Nigerian movies. People will sponsor them and people will watch them because they love them for being properly done to their expectation. My advice the leaders of this association and guilds in Nigeria is to organise themselves so that they can make money out of their sweat.

All these cinema houses show Nigerian movies without paying any right. Let them educate the Ghanaian marketers and TV stations not to show these movies so that they can sell. If ever they are shown, they should be made to pay for permission. As a producer, I won't want my films to be heated that way. So the conquest is okay only that it has to be well co-ordinated in order to make you have your due share. It doesn't pay to be conquering with your products and nothing seems to be coming to you on terms of cash. We should appoint people who are able and strong to do this representation not only in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Botswana, Ghana, etc.
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