Reeling in film industry
A filmmaker vowing to "revolutionise" the South African movie industry has proven to be a fraudster.
Sowetan has discovered that Cameroonian filmmaker Leonard Ashu is preying on aspirant actors in the name of Jollywood.
Ashu has visited Sowetan on several occasions to promote his idea of a movie village, Jollywood.
He placed three adverts using stolen credit cards for payment.
He charges actors a R250 membership fee to be part of Jollywood and has since produced a low-budget movie titled Rainbow Love.
After several attempts by the advertising department to get Ashu to settle payments, he instead called to place a third advert, looking for people to market and sell his first movie.
This was after the bank had notified Sowetan that the credit cards he used for payment were stolen.
"We have been trying to get hold of him since December. Each time we called him, he pretended to be a different person," said an advertising executive.
Now Ashu is pleading ignorance, saying the cards belong to a friend who travels between Johannesburg and the UK.
"I was not aware the cards were stolen. If I had known I would not have accepted his offer to pay for me. You must believe me, I'm telling the honest truth," he said.
He is pleading bankruptcy and cannot afford to have the DVD classified by the Film and Publications Board.
He has promised to pay Sowetan the R6 000 he owes in advertising, by the end of February.
It is alleged he has defrauded other newspapers.
Ashu didn't pay the actors in his first movie after he had promised them R4500 each, and for rehearsals between August until the shooting in November.