Recently, a group known as the De-vvom Productions premiered a Christian movie in Akwa Ibom, entitled: “Not Without Scars”. This movie presently circulating on the social media has, in the last few days, attracted thousands of views and comments within and outside the state. From the comments, interestingly, it is apparent that with just a premiere, movie audience has already embraced the direction De-vvom Productions is pointing at, through its rejuvenating, reorienting, salvaging and succinctly crafted message. But, the message is not without a source. The President of De-vvom Productions, Barr. Iboro Ben, according to him, the message is tied to the mandate of the group as was divinely given: to counteract other movies that seem lacking in morality and also provide sufficient back grounding for the insufficient messages and materials on youth revival and renewal.
In this interview with Benjamin Jimmy, the President of the group bares his mind on the inspiration behind the group’s move, impacts to be created through the movies as they are churned out, as well as the expectations of movie audience.
What inspired the vision behind De-vvom Productions?
Well, De-vvom Productions is not all about movie production; we are looking at producing Christian contents and having them on the social media. Now, what inspired us into this initiative is that there are high rates of corruption seen on the social media. You could talk about movies that are morally degrading, nude songs and similar contents. These kind of contents influence negatively the young people who are always on the Internet. So, what we are looking at is: instead of criticizing these nude songs and mind-polluted movies, let’s produce movies to counteract what the devil is doing. That’s what drove us to start this Devvom Productions. The Lord laid in our hearts to start acting these Christian movies; bring out Christian songs, broadcasts, documentaries and all of that. These are what inspired the initiative.
You would agree with me that there are some movies currently showing which are Christianly and have attempted moral rebirth. Are you saying these movies are not sufficient or have not been able to address decays?
No! They are not sufficient. The world is very large. Why don’t we say that we should make do with only one church in the world? As the church is expanding, several people are getting saved. For instance, everybody cannot go to Redeemed Christian Church. Everybody cannot also go to Mountain of Fire. So, as more churches are built, people are getting to know God more. It’s like that. Mount Zion alone cannot do all that.
If you look at the statistics of movies we have, you would discover that there are more than 70% Nollywood movies compared to the 30% Christian movies. So, you see that Mount Zion alone cannot compete with the high percentage of Nollywood, Hollywood and others.
What kind of impact do you think these Christian movies your group has started will create on the lives of your audience members, particularly your target audience – the youth?
A lot of impact! Already, we have testimonies coming up. One is that a lady watched the movie and she was crying and saying that the movie was really mirroring her life. So, we are looking at Christians watching these movies and having convictions; having repentance; having restoration. That’s what we are looking at.
Do you have any plan to bring in casts who have already made names in the movie industry, perhaps to inject in some air of professionalism?
Well, since we just started acting, we don’t have that capacity because if you bring in professionals, they will charge us perhaps beyond the spur. If the Lord blesses us and we have the funds, we will do that. But for now, we are looking at doing it ourselves. Even the first movie we produced, people were appreciating the young people that acted it. But, it doesn’t stop us from bringing in professionals to join us when the need arises.
Sir, the movies that you intend to produce in days to come: are you directing your message to only Akwa Ibom audience or you are looking at a broader coverage?
As we speak, we have audience from Lagos, USA, Akwa Ibom and the like. So, it is not a local thing. Once a thing is taken to the Internet, it’s no longer an Akwa Ibom thing. It’s now a general thing. You people and even adults can also access it. The first one we released is for the young people. There are movies we are planning that will capture every segment of the society.
One of the problems some people usually face when something like this is started is inability to be consistent and keep it running. What plans or strategies do you have to make sure that your movies don’t come out once or twice and the story comes to an end?
All those who are on board Devvom are spiced up. We have more than twenty scripts as I speak. Now, twenty scripts can’t finish in two years.
How did you get those scripts?
People do write in. I also write and even other group members.
( Interject) do you accept scripts from outsiders?
If we see scripts that are Christianly, we can get them and act, but for now, we are focusing on our own. We have not even started acting out our own. So, this is what we will be doing. And I don’t see it end soon. This is because it’s a vision; It’s a burden. God is involved in it. So, I can’t see it end even in the next ten years, because the more we will go, the more we will increase.
You said this project will run unhindered, how will you fund it, knowing very well that movie production is capital intensive?
Sincerely, for now, we are believing and trusting God. During the premiere, some people made promises, but we are believing that God will provide. You see, I read from Gbile Akanni that when God has a project, He sponsors His project. So, we are relying on God and also believing God that well meaning people and Christians will also come and say: we have seen what you’re doing. Take this and add. Remember: it is God’s project. So, we are trusting in Him.
How many people are involved in this project?
We have 40 people. And there are others that are on our neck that they want to join. Very many people are waiting for our forms. It’s only that we didn’t sell our forms last Sunday. For now, there are so many people who are interested.
Let’s look at the artistic part of what you are doing. Of course, you know that beyond the message you present; the artistic components and proper presentation cannot be undermined. How are you handling this?
Well, some of the casts are very good, while others are average. But we had some training and also a seminar from Mount Zion Ministry. We also brought in one of our sisters who is a Theatre Arts graduate. She gave us I think up to one month lecture. But, we will still be updating our knowledge. Everything is learnt. Once you have the mind set, you can learn anything. So, we will be updating our skills; we will be going for training and seminars so that we can upscale and become the professionals we need to become.
Apart from the Internet you are using to publicise your movie, which other platform do you intend to add? I’m asking this question because sometimes, when movies are premiered, they are done at a cinema.
Ok. We are on Facebook. We also have Devvom Productions on YouTube. These are what we are using for now. It actually involves a lot of money, but we are doing that and you people (The Crest) are also coming to help.
Finally, what message do you have for your audience members, particularly the youths who form the bulk of your concentration?
Christ is all and all. The change must begin with us. Another thing we are going to do is the orientation of our society. People who are in the church should not only concentrate there. They should know that the society is also important. So, no matter what you are doing inside the church; take it to the society. Try to influence the society. That’s our mind. Some of the movies that will be coming will be tailored towards how the church can affect the society. It’s not just staying in church and praying for change, yet you are not doing anything to change the society. So, one thing we want to do is: we want to take what we have and make it affect the society. I assure you that everybody will be affected by what we are doing. So, we are taking the church out to the society.
Thank you for your time.