‘My encounter with Christ’
Weeks back, news of Patience Ozokwor, fondly known as Mama G, quitting the movie industry, becoming born again and stopping wearing of trousers was all over the social media.
Fans and colleagues have been worried because they would miss the superb role interpreter and her acting prowess. However, the ageless actress has refuted quitting movies. She is even increasing the number of movies that would be released from her stable.
These and more she revealed to ENCOMIUM Weekly in this interview.
How would you describe 2016 generally, ma?
I am living on the word of God. The Bible says, When men are cast down, there is a lifting up. The year has been terrible for a lot of people. We have all been passing through one stress or the other. Things are getting worse by the day. No light, no money to buy fuel. Formerly, you could just fill your car tank with N5,000 but now, N10,000 is not enough to fill your tank.
Things are not friendly at all. 2016 has been horrible for everyone.
Career wise, how would you describe 2016?
The situation in the country has affected everything. The industry is not left out. Marketers are complaining of poor sales. People don’t have money to buy movies. Those that can afford Dstv are watching. Thank God a lot of stations are showing our movies. Even if it is the old ones. People are complaining too much.
Sometimes when they call you, the amount they want to pay is not worth leaving the house. Things are no longer the same.
We don’t see you in movies as we used to, fans are wondering if you have relaxed a bit?
I thank God that they still do movies. I did some last year and two years ago. They have not released them. Even the one I produced for myself has not been released. Producers still release movies but at their own will. I am still very much in the business of doing movies.
Sometime back, it was rumoured that you were quitting the industry, is it true?
I heard the rumour too. People said I am no longer shooting movies. I did not say that. They are just lying. I have not granted anybody such interview. I have tried to make a broadcast to refute it. I have not stopped featuring in movies.
Acting is not bad, it is about telling a story. The much I can do is not involved certain stories. To say that I quit acting is a lie from the pit of hell. It is the devil that is fighting. My fans are out there waiting for me to release my movie. To tell you the truth, I am even planning to start to shoot my movies.
How soon should we expect something new from your stable?
Very soon. The script is ready. As I am going out now, I will download and print out to see if it is what I want to be part of. The kind of script will determine if I would accept it or not. If the industry is what it should be, I should just be acting one or two movies every month.
I am not getting younger. I am trying to cut down the number of movies I make weekly. Now, I want to reduce the number of movies I make in a month. I want to live long. It is stress that has been killing our people. I have seen some scripts and I believe they are not worth it. Sometimes, it is the money that is the attraction but it might not be encouraging. You can keep doing other things and wait for the market to improve.
It was alleged that you said you wouldn’t wear trousers again?
Yes, I don’t wear trousers again. No more weave on, no more make up. Naturally, I am not a make up person. You see me in make up when I am in the movie. That has been my nature. Even if I make up, I like it light, except it was made by somebody else for an occasion.
How has it been shuttling Enugu and Lagos for shooting?
I am still strong. I am not sick. I still move about and climb stairs. I can even run upstairs. It has not been difficult for me. It has been pleasant. God has blessed me with good health and strength. I am a strong woman.
What else has changed since you had an encounter with Christ?
Christ told me to put off certain things because they don’t please Him. I have to obey Him. I heard directly from Him, nobody told me that. Christ told me that wearing trousers brings out women’s sensitive features. When we wear trousers, we make men desire us and make them fall into sin. I put up a lot of argument about it before I could obey.
I have a Scripture Union background in Anglican Church, so it was quite easy.
Some people go into ministry when they have encounter with Christ, are you also following that footstep?
He did not tell me to open a ministry but sent me out to preach the Word. When He sends you, He would organize what you would do. Pastors are calling me now on their own, I tell them I preach salvation and when I do, people give their lives to Christ.
The message is for people who were born again but have backslided. It is a call to return to Jehovah God, the Creator of heaven and earth and the owner of life.
With your new status, tell us some of the roles you can no longer accept?
I have never played an obscene role. If the movie does not have any message, if it doesn’t teach morals, I wouldn’t pick it up, it is of no use to me.
Let me tell you, going naked is not a sin, it is your choice. You pull off your dress and you start walking, we will class you where naked people belong. That is just it. God does not force people. He would plead with you, He would call you, we are the ones that are stiffening our necks.
What is your candid assessment of the industry?
The character of people there. The way things are going is wrong. Many things have gone wrong. The producers are messing up and it is killing the industry by the day. Some sleep with the girls before they give out roles, some sleep with the boys.
When people do evil, it is usually louder than when they do good. They are not too many that do it. It is so painful that somebody would ask you to come to shoot, you beg and beg before you would be called and at the end of the day, you don’t pay them pretending you are trying to build their faces.
That is why I am going into production. Anybody that is lucky to act in my movies will be paid, no matter how small. The only way to fight it is to do the right thing.
Why did it take this long before becoming a producer?
I have always been busy working for people. I am always on set. I have shot two movies of my own. I wasn’t even there for the second one. I went there to play my roles and left. Now, I will make sure I am there to supervise things. It took me this long to start my own production because I was waiting for the time I could say “hold your movies, let me finish this one”. I wouldn’t need to be jumping up and down.
How much is required to shoot a movie?
The budget is not static. It depends on the story. There are stories with big cast, there are stories with small cast with big location and props. If you want to shoot for the cinema, you have to be ready. You have to use quality cameras, you can’t manage a director of photography. You cannot manage a director. Then a good actor charges well.
It is like wanting to go to a good hospital, you need money to do that. A good movie needs good money to produce.
Is it possible for an actor to live on acting?
Yes, it is. I have been living on acting alone. I am just establishing business interests so that when I am no longer doing a lot of movies, I will keep myself busy with other things. My primary interest is in movies.