Engr. Dr. Christopher Mba is the Chairman Media Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria, Enugu Diocese. In this interview, the seasoned Christian actor, director and producer spoke about the first movie produced by the Media Team of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria, Enugu Diocese titled ‘Save the Church’ a movie that tells the story of the life of St. Francis of Asisi.
The movie which was released on 28th April, 2019 made history as the first movie ever produced by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria and has become a talking point in the quest to boost evangelization and encourage Catholics as well as Christians in their faith.
How do you feel being part of the history making a movie?
It’s beautiful, it’s interesting and this is a thing that I desired long ago because the world is changing and one just has to change with the world.
As a growing man I was into drama, I remember performing a one man show of rapture and by the time I finished people were so touched with the message and I was elated.
When the Diocese appointed me as a Diocesan Chairman, I didn’t immediately started thinking about movie production but there were some other people that were thinking along the same line.
Then we conceived the idea and went to the Diocese with it, it was Paul Ani who was the Diocesan chairman and that was how we started.
What exactly inspire the movie and the angle you guys went?
You see, the church is spiritual and this is the main part of the church in its entirety.
We looked around and discovered that there are movies that can actually be said to be Christian movies but we weren’t satisfied with it.
We felt something has to be added, something new has to come in because as far as I’m concerned, if you look at the so called Christian movies, you still see the same people that featured in very dirty movies being part of the Christian movies and so it ends up being an entertainment exercise rather than a spiritual exercise.
The vision was to have a movie shot by people that are completely Catholic Christians not just any kind of Christians and to be sure we know the quality of the Catholic Christians we are dealing with, we make sure they are all charismatics.
What are some of the challenges you faced in the production of this movie, because I know a couple of the actors you featured are not professionals, this might have imposed challenges to you?
It was a big challenge. We had a problem of getting a producer and crew members that would take their time to give us what we wanted.
We needed to have a movie completely done by Christians and so these crew members and the producers were on the other hand suggesting that we use already- made actors who would help us sell our movies.
However, we disagreed. Our interest is not just marketing; our interest is in the gospel and evangelization. In evangelizing to the people, we needed completely new set of people if we are to live up to our goal.
Yes, we have the so called Christians who are I the movie industry but still find themselves featuring in dirty movies, so we said we must groom these people from the grass root. Another challenge we had was that we needed a long time to get them ready, if we had already made actors you would just call overnight and tell them what to do and they do it.
However, it took us almost two years to prepare. We had to rehearse, take lectures and so on.
I actually believe that the next one we are going to produce will not take this time because we now have people we have groomed effectively.
So we should be expecting the next one?
Of course, yes
Will you describe this project as a success?
Well, I hope you have watched the film? Perhaps if you have watched, you are to assess and not myself who is part of it. People have been congratulating me and saying it is beautiful.
For a start it is even more than expected, so if we are getting these compliments that we are having now , then ,by the time we come up with the new one, it will be wonderful.
How do you plan to handle intellectual theft issue in the industry and what are your plans for the future?
Yes, we are just starting; we are still on the learning process. Even though the actors are mainly charismatic’s, most of the production crew members are not charismatic members .
We are looking at a time when we will stand and we will have all that it takes to shoot , produce and distribute our movies.
We had a problem of the production crew members luring us into what we didn’t feel comfortable with. We had to bring in enough force to be able to resist them. Therefore, we are looking at a time when we will actually have just charismatic members handling everything from start to finish.
Do you think the movie will stand a good chance in the upcoming Catholic Film Festival?
I think we stand a great chance.