Sunday, March 27, 2011

I am A Fulfilled Filmmaker – Gotip

UMAR ABDULLAHI GOTIP is to Kannywood what Matthew Libatique was to Hollywood. From Kanke local government area of Plateau State, Gotip enrolled in the Television College Jos, where he acquired a wealth of knowledge for the industry after his primary and secondary education. Not only that, the famous Director Of Photography (D.O.P)/production designer did a lot of professional courses in film making-related matters. In this chat with Al-Amin Ciroma, Gotip expresses his passion for the entertainment industry.

Tell us your journey to the industry. What really motivated your joining the industry?
A lot of things my brother. For example, my source of inspiration has been the famous Cockcrow At Dawn. Thereafter, one of my friends then, Malik introduced me to the industry in 1984. I later joined the NTA as a gaffer/cameraman. That’s how I came to the industry. I did a lot of national and international projects. I was part of the film, Soweto, which was shot in 1987; the movie depicted the South African Apartheid. Not only that, I also took part in Mr. Johnson and a lot of TV-soaps like Behind the clouds, Riddles and jokes, etc. most of which I either participated as one of the gaffers/grips in the production crew or some guest appearance as an actor.

You sound like an all-rounder but can you define your primary role in the industry?
(Laughter) Actually, I am an all-weather artiste. You see in my first film, I anchored everything, I produced and directed. Likewise other projects, I often sign a contract as a sound engineer, lightener or cameraman/D.O.P. What am I trying to say? The industry is really dynamic; and for me, I got the opportunity to go through a lot of professional courses in the profession, I find it interesting to practice virtually everything. I recently did a joint-production with one of Kannywood’s screen divas, Binta Yahaya to produce a sensational and breath-taking movie; Tuna Baya and I truly enjoyed it because I love what I am doing. I thank Almighty God for the fact that from inception, I was lucky to work with pioneers and famous professionals in the motion picture world and that has been my added advantage as an artiste and production man.
But if you compel me to tell you my primary job, I would say, Umar Gotip is a Director of Photography. (Laughter).

You seem to love this business, what makes you feel great…?
(Cuts in) Like I said earlier, I derive pleasure in the business because I never for once regret what I am doing. It’s really fun because I meet a lot of people. Filmmaking is the best thing that ever happened to me. There is so much to say and learn, you gain prestige and above all, the entertainment industry is really competing with the federal government in the labour market because of the endless job opportunities therein. So, it’s an enabling environment for me. My parents bless me everyday and I am contented with it.

Can we know from your archive how many projects you have participated in so far?
Wonderful, they are uncountable. For example, I did a lot of Nollywood projects and I was part of the very first English film that was shot in Jos. Not only that, I did participate in a couple of Nollywood projects like How too far, 11th Hour, The World is Mine, Battle of love, Desperado, Uncle Wayward, Ashawo, and a host of others aside tens of thousands of Hausa movies.

As one of the top production personnel in the industry, what do you foresee for both Kannywood and Nollywood?
This industry is actually bobbling. Despite all odds, I still can foresee good things happening to the industry. The Hausa film industry is also coming of age, very soon, the whole country will come together as one to define only one ‘wood’ as a symbol of recognition. I therefore foresee good things coming.

Who is Umar Gotip in real person?
(laughter) Umar Abdullahi Gotip is very simple, cool headed and is always ‘alright’. I have good rappourt with everyone in the industry. I don’t talk much, I remember my mom used to call me ‘Kurma’ meaning deaf because she noticed at that time that I don’t talk. So I am a very simple man.

The entertainment industry is widely known for its series of scandals. Have you ever encountered any outrage?
There is an adage that says in every twelve there must be Judas. You can be amidst the fire, if you want it to touch you, it will really touch you, but if you don’t want it to touch you, it definitely will not touch you. Having grudges with people or engaging in disputes is not a civilised way to live with people. I don’t engage in scandals.

What do you love most in your life?
I love women, probably because am still searching (Laughter).

Any message to your colleagues?
We should employ a sense of reasoning in all we do. A filmmaker should at least have a fair bit of intellectuality. We should avoid disputes and be committed to our job. There are some unbecoming attitude plays by Hausa actors. It is only in Kannywood you‘ll see it, most especially when they are at loggerheads with fellow colleagues they will say, ‘I won’t work in Mr. X’s project if ‘Mr. Y’ is in the cast…’ this is bullshit! People should learn to be well behaved. I think those at the helm of affairs of film making here in the north should teach them the ethics of professionalism because most of them don’t know.

Published March 05, 2011

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