Monday, September 28, 2009

Gallery of Nigerian Movie Icons

"A Film Has No Language"

By Al-Amin Ciroma
(published in my INSIDE KANNYWOOD column in LEADERSHIP, September 26, 2009)

Professionally, film is said to have no language. In Nigeria today, making a film constitutes one of the major projectors and image re-branding tool of the country. In the international market, Nigeria's motion picture stakeholders have succeeded in creating a niche for themselves and have succesfully written the country's name in gold as the second largest movie, producer. This has, indeed, boosted the image of Nigeria; hardly can any Nigerian scroll through cable satellite channels without seeing the works of Nigerian artistes. Film are also one of the very few ways of information dissemination. In Nigeria, a lot of talent put together to propel motion picture to the next height. Spread across the geopolitical zones of the country, movies are produced in the major indigenous languages- that is, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo and above all with the official Nigerian language, English. Before now, film making was considered a business for dropouts and the destitute in the society, but today, the industry players are celebrated icons. So many practitioners put together their God– given talents to take Nigeria to the international scene. This article outlines citations of some of the outstanding personalities in Nigeria's giant motion picture industry.

•Nkem Owoh – You don't make a list of Nollywood’s outstanding personalities without a mention of Nkem Owoh. A lot who scream the name ‘Osuofia’ do not even know that this artisitc name predates Nollywood. And that is why he is a pioneer to what we know as Nollywood today.
Owoh was part of one of the first successful Nollywood films. Apart from writing the script, he also featured in the same film as ‘Marcus Ezeigwe.’ He didn’t seem to have arrived until the release of numerous other best sellers like Ukwa, Osuofia in London, etc. He instantly became a household name with his fame breaking down barriers. There is no doubt that Nkem has helped in re-shaping Nollywood as far as comedy and humour merchandising is concerned. For stamping his authority on the comedy and humour scene of Nollywood, for helping the world cure their hypertension, for several persons, both upcoming artistes and viewers alike, Nkem drives fast his vehicle to re-branding Nigeria.

•Ali Nuhu –At the formative stage of film-making in the northern part of the country, Ali Nuhu became one of the greatest icons behind it. Although, he started off and foremost with the English drama and TV soaps, Nuhu was later to become 'sarki' (king) of the Hausa film industry, popularly known as Kannywood. A versatile and multi-talent actor, the name Ali Nuhu is a household name, not only in the northern part of the country but also to neighbouring countries and Hausa speaking communities in the world. His role in Sangaya, Wasila, to Sitanda, eventually made him a star to watch. The panache and skilfulness of Nuhu gained him double role in the motion picture industry in Nigeria, being the master of the game of the Hausa film industry He has also succeeded in writing his name among the who's who in industry.
•Sam Loco – If there is anyone who has touched several souls through the profession he chose for himself, then that personality is Samuel ‘Locomotion’ Efenwokieke, ‘Sam Loco’ for the short. From Eredo, Edo State, Loco is gifted with the ease of speaking several Nigerian languages, which has made to cut across the boarders.
The son of a prison official who played soccer during his growing up days got a nickname- 'Locomotion'- from the field of play, which is today shortened to ‘Loco’. He was also a travelling salesman for a tyre manufacturing company before deciding to go and study Acting and Dramatics at the University of Ibadan. Apart from featuring in popular telelvision dramas like Hotel De Jordan, working with the University Ibadan Theatre Troupe, Sam Loco made national limelight when he starred in Langbodo, at the prestigious FESTAC ‘77. From then till date, while his contemporaries are living in retirement due to age, Daddy Sam Loco Efe is still waxing strong featuring in soaps, comedies, movies and other works of art. History will not forget his A+ performance in Piccadily.

•Clarion Chukwura – If you wish to talk about consistency, one of the stars you must not fail to talk about is Lady Clarion Chukwura. An amazon of the thespian world as well as groomed in the classrooms and stage of the University of Ife (now ObafemiAwolowo University)
She is called 'Madam Consistency' due to the manner in pwhich she delivers her lines on set. She makes it seem very easy. Have you ever seen Clarion make moves with her body while on set? She is fluid. No doubt a host of people like Chukwura deserve national honours for propelling Nigeria's image at the international arena.

•Sani Mu'azu – In those good old days when people were agitating for a way forward for Nollywood, there was a man who kept the flag aloft in the Northern part of Nigeria. That man is Sani Mu'azu.
People who are marvelled at his achievements, exposure and experience when they realise that he has come a long way featuring in the crew of Mr. Johnson and Soweto in the 80s.
•Okey Ogunjiofor – If you asked Oke Ogunjiofor what he thought he was doing when he gathered some desperate drama hungry young men and women to do Living In Bondage, the movie credited to have started Nollywood, he would readily tell you that he was driven by sheer deep passion for what he knew how to do.
Whether you are one of those who argue that there were other drama sketches put out on video before Living In Bondage, it has never been in doubt that the movie was all Nollywood needed to erupt like a volcano. Now you could count the number of off-shoots of that similar move-BOBTV, AMAA, Lagos International Film Festival, Abuja International Film Festival, several reality shows on television among others.
Ogunjiofor is just another Bollywood's Karan Johar first, for spearheading a revolution, which has overtaken him; for venturing into an area that has provided employment for several hundreds of thousands people, including the educated and the talented for engaging Nigerians with an unforgetable film story which has continued to be felt in their sub-conscious many years after its production.
•Joke Jacobs – It could be a very big task to be saddled with the responsibility of describing the personality of Nigeria's top actress and Joke Jacobs. Due to lack of words, one is tempted to use words like ‘quintessential’ or to better still a role model.
However you may want to look at it, Nollywood will never be complete if there is no mention of Joke Jacobs, wife of another internationally renowned thespian Olu Jacobs (who knows what their children would turn to later). Just one scene of any of her films will prove to you that she went into acting with her eyes wide open and has continue to influence younger artistes both on stage and on screen. Her strong points include her vocal delivery, her stage presence, her diction and her entire performance. With Joke, the microphone, the cameras glow, your screen lights up. She help the motion picture industry in Nigeria to grow stronger by the day.
•Chucks Mordi – There are people who do what you see and get recognition and there are several others whom you don't see, but have their fingers in everything. Chucks Mordi is one of them. Mordi was part of the beginnings of Nollywood and his passion took him to the United Kingdom, where he set up the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), UK Chapter. You can imagine how hard it would have been for him to do that. AMP in UK is an army with membership spanning Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Thumbs up to a son of the soil who has kept Nigeria’s flag flying across the border.

Ijbar –Marital Consent: The WRAPA Approach

By Al-Amin Ciroma
(Pubished in my Islamic Perspective column in LEADERSHIP, Sept. 25, 2009)

The holy Qur’an (4:21) refers to marriage as a Mithaq (i.e. a solemn covenant or agreement between husband and wife), and enjoins that it be put down in writing. Since no agreement can be reached between the parties unless they give their consent to it, marriage can be contracted only with the free consent of the two parties. The Prophet of Islam (SAW) also said, “The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until their order is obtained, and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is obtained.” (Al-Bukhari).
Being one of the sacred institutes in Islam, the holy Prophet (SAW) encourages his followers to marry and regenerate (good offsprings) so that he will be proud of them in the day of judgement. There are virtually many Ahadiths in support of marriage in Islam. He (SAW) said, "Marriage is my Sunnah (way of life), whoever reject my Sunnah is not of me." However, the format of contracting this sacred tradition varies in our society, while some subscribes to full consent of the spouse before marriage, others reject it and practice Ijbar.
Ijbar as an Arabic word means the act of forceful order (especially in the case of marriage). But in Islam, the consent of both the man and the women is an essential element of marriage, such that the girl's consent is immaterial, while her subsequent complaints are ignored and she is compelled to remain in the marriage. The Qur'an gives women a substantial role in choosing their own life partners. It lays down, “Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner.” (Q:2, V:232).
However, Imam Malik, one of the great leading scholars of the Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, gives a slightly restrictive interpretation to this verse and makes the choice of partner by a Muslim girl subject to the over-ruling power or 'Ijbar' of her father or guardian in the interests of the girl herself. It may sometimes happen that in her immaturity or over-zealousness, a girl may want to marry a man about whom she has distorted information or who does not possess good character or who lacks proper means of livelihood. In such a case, it is better, or rather incumbent upon the girl's father or guardian, that, in the wider interests of the girl, he restrains her from marrying such a worthless man and finds a suitable person to be her husband. Generally speaking, such marriages arranged by fathers and guardians work better than a marriage brought about through western courtship.
The case of Abu Juham bin Hudhaifah and Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan is relevant here. They proposed marriage to Fatimah bint Ghaith. The holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) advised Fatimah not to marry either of them on the grounds that Mu'awiyah was then a pauper and Abu Juham was cruel and harsh. So she married Usamah.
In its approach, Women's Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), which is a non governmental organisation, aims at giving legal aid and counselling service for women, mobilisation and sensitisation, skill acquisition and advocacy for legal terms, engaged in actualizing the rights of women under Islamic Law. The Project, which is funded by the MacArthur foundation, covers all the seven north-western States i.e. Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa and Kaduna State and has conducted series of activities to this effect under the Islamic Family Law (IFL) unit. The main objective of the forum was to engage in serious scholarship and research in the area of Islamic family law with a view to using the known rules of interpretation to analyse the law, enhance its application within the background of contemporary needs, excise harmful cultural practices which had over the years become embedded in the law and extend the frontiers of the law by advocating reliance on Fatwas (legal verdict) or the other schools of law where it appears beneficial and proper to do so.
In view of the above objectives, three levels of research were conducted in the project states whereby the researches conducted interviews with the women, Court officials and records of proceedings, eminent Ulama, N.G.O's, leaders of thought, the traditional rulers, the various Project State Government; Executive, Legislative and Judiciary and other stakeholders.
The researches revealed the ever widening gap between the true position of the Law and what is erroneously perceived by the public and often times the Court as to what the Law is. Incidences of shallow knowledge by the public and the Courts, harmful cultural practices, refusal to open wide the legal space, patriarchy were cited as the reasons which account for the hash treatment of women both in and outside the matrimony and the Courts. The findings made it necessary to engage experts in Islamic Law to research and present the true position of Islamic Law. It was anticipated that the experts would critically examine the Law as provided in the classical texts and excise there from all the harmful cultural practices embedded therein; re-examine the classical positions reached by the early Jurists and using the known tools of Jurisprudence, support or otherwise a shift in view of changing cultural moves and times, review the position of Maliki against other juristic positions, and suggest whether there is a need to import other juristic views to guide our Family Law positions and generally to examine the juristic milestones recorded by other Muslim nations in their practice of IFL. This was with a view to achieving a rich result and a hybrid of contemporary and classical positions. Two (2) researchers were commissioned from each of the seven (7) project states - one from the contemporary setting and the other from the orthodox. All research reports have been received but one.
Ijbar in its entirety, according to the research reveals that findings could not lend credence to any authority to show that the Holy Prophet (SAW) gave his blessings to its practice during his lifetime, secondly, its therefore shows that Ijbar as a product of Islamic jurisprudential thought, has no basis either in the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAW). Most importantly, it has revealed that the practice of Ijbar is mainly practiced by the Malikis (followers of the Maliki school of thought), while other schools of thoughts do not apply it as the latter do.
Majority of the Ulama interviewed agreed that the practice of Ijbar has caused a lot of problems for the girl victims and the society. They opined that the practice of Ijbar has been mainly exercised to serve the economic or material interests of the girl's parents and the prevalent alternative to seeking legal redress is the tendency for the girls preferring the option to run away from their husbands and parents' homes to places where they cannot be traced.
The Ulama also agreed that there is evident of a faulty understanding and application of the power of Ijbar even among the judges. According to them, the practice of Ijbar can be curtailed to address its dire consequences especially the high prevalence of drop outs from school, the health hazards it poses and the social and psychological perspectives of the departure of its victims into easy life styles.
At the end of the forum, some recommendations were resolved by the Islamic scholars and jurists present at the Jigawa state research validation meeting, the resolved the case of Ijbar such that marriage should be conducted with the consent of all parties going into it. They pointed out some negative consequences Ijbar bring on parties involved and therefore should be checked.
The aspect of marriage is greatly emphasized by Imam Bukhari. He, in fact, gave one of the chapters in his Sahih the significant title: "When a man gives his daughter in marriage and she dislikes it, the marriage shall be annulled." Once a virgin girl came to the Prophet (SAW) and said that her father had married her to a man against her wishes. The Prophet (SAW) gave her the right to repudiate the marriage. (Abu Dawud).
The problem today lies that many girls are forced to marry men they do not like. Their respect for their parents forces them to engage in wed lock. If it were up to them, then they would not have married that man. We have to care for the right of our daughters before giving their hands out for marriage.

The Craziest Thing I Ever Did –Ishaq Sidi Ishaq

Born in Yakasai, Masallacin-jalli ward in Kano municipality, Ishaq Sidi Ishaq 'Dan Kwalisa’, began his film career during his secondary school days. He started featuring in the TV soap, Echo In The Dark, where he won the hearts of television viewers in the state. Ishaq was one of the pioneers of the Kannywood comic group, Rabiu Musa Ibro's cluster. He worked with the group for a while, after which he ventured into filmmaking in a directorial capacity. The first home video he directed was ‘Kamilu’. Whenever you ask Sidi about his passion for show business, Kannywood's most adorable director would simply smile and say, "I love entertainment." He attended Government College, Wudil, Kano State. 'Dan Kwalisa’ is now a student at the prestigious National Film Institute (NFI), Jos, where he is studying for a degree in Filmmaking. In this interview with INSIDE KANNYWOOD, ISHAQ SIDI ISHAQ lay bare his mind on his sudden disappearance from the industry to where he is now securing for himself an academic foundation of the game. He also revealed the craziest thing he’s ever done in his life and much more. Excerpts:

Published in INSIDE KANNYWOOD Column (Leadership) September 19, 2009

You are a famous movie director in Kannywood for a very long time, you have been silent. What has been happening to your career and what is responsible for all the silence?
I went back to school. I'm now a student of Film at NFI, Jos. It's not that I've been silent or out of business, but since I have always believed in quality, rather than quantity, I chose to suspend all film activities for a particular period of time.

What are you studying and how are you coping with the change of environment?
I am studying filmmaking. The change of enviroment is exciting. It has virtually changed almost everything about me. My life style has changed. Before now, I had been busy scheduling shootings, i.e one film after the other, having at least a month or more between them. But now, from Mondays through Fridays, I am always busy with my lectures. Another exciting thing is that most of the practicals are purely field works. What we normally do on location is that we produce short films as well as explore some trends in the motion picture world. With this contrast, and as a practising filmmaker who has been shooting films in drama format, it is surely a plus for me.
I remember the day, a colleague approached me and said, ‘Ishaq, I'm going to start shooting my project very soon and I'm directing it. Please what role would you like to take in in the crew?’ And I told him that I appreciate his invitation and would be there as an observer to advice adequately. When I went to location, I found myself carrying the extension cables, fixing the lights and other minor things that ordinarily I would have employed my boys (gaffers) to do. But then, I love what I am doing.

What should we expect from you at the end of your course?
Obviously, there would be a great change. I've attended several trainings and workshops, especially intensive filmmaking trainings in various fields. I also attended a training programme, that was organised by the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) where experienced filmmakers trained participants on certain issues concerning filmmaking. I have been a regular student of such workshops. Despite all these, I felt it was not enough. I felt I lacked the academic background, or let me say the indepth theoretical aspect of filmmaking which I'm proudly getting now.

How would you rate the Nigeria motion picture industry, the Hausa genre in particular?
It is progressing with the trainings and re-training session of the practitioners and stakeholders. I believe it will get better by the day. Thanks to the Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), especially the men behind it.
Do you think Kannywood is catching up with trends in the motion picture world?
Every industry has its peculiarities; its culture, morals, economic and social values that go with it. To some extent, yes. But it is not yet uhuru, there are quite a lot of things that need to be done.

How do you joggle between your job as a film- maker and the homefront?
I have not been on set for some time now. Recently, when I concluded El-Mustapha 2, I refused to go on set until I get fully settled with my studies, which I am doing now. Very soon I hope to see what the experience would look like when I go on set.

Would you say there is a difference with what you are doing now as a student and what it was before?
Of course, there is quite a difference, a very big one. In school you maintain the professional ethics and aesthetics of filmmaking. Everything has to be done the way it should be from the idea conception, script to screen.
I guess the audience are the to judge or answer this question. Some say it’s because of my style of directing, while some others attribute it to my experience as one of the pioneers of the Hausa film industry. Everybody has his own opinion about what qualifies Mr. A to be what he should be.

What do you think helped your career blossom as much as it has? Do you think you have a rival?
A couple of reasons: I have never compromised quality no matter what. I also refused to be misused. I see a lot of movies to analyse the styles as well as read books, either on the internet or elsewhere. Secondly, if I had a rival, he would have come to school as well as. Therefore, I don't have any rival.

With your success and highflying career in the industry, how do you intend to consolidate on this for the betterment of your future on the job?
I haven't had enough and that's why I'm back to school.

When you are not on set, what is your day like?
I hang out with friends. Sometimes, visit my relatives whom i may not have seen in a long while, due to the nature or my work.

What is the craziest thing you ever did as a filmmaker?
I did a film and sold it.

From what we are witnessing, a lot of film stars are riding in expensive cars and live in high ranks. It seems the industry is now lucrative.
Having strived so long and made your mark over the years, how wealthy would you say you are?

I am content with what I have, Alhamdulillah.

You have done a thousand and one movies, which one do you think projected you most?
The movie that projected me most and added a feather to my cap is Wasila, I've done quite a number of blockbusters that drew the attention of producers in Kannywood, yet Wasila is my box office.

Artistes pocket so much money now as fees, how much do you charge as a director?
I am just a student now. However, I've been behind the camera for a while, but I don't discuss my allowances in public.

It is generally believed that filmmakers or movie producers flirt with the actresses. Do you do that too?
I do not do that. However, in every profession, you have the good, the bad and the ugly. A professional remains a professional, while quacks remain quacks. The boys are always separate from the men, those who know what they are doing and, don't engage themselves in such nasty acts.

Although in the North, the industry is bound by some Shari'ah laws, have you ever had an experience where an actress tried to seduce you to get roles?
Whatever happens, the wiser ones know the implications, morally and religiously. I have never had any experience like that before.

But have you at one time or the other had an encounter with an actress who was ready to offer you sex for roles?
I have said it repeatedly that I don't have the experience. Those category of actresses always know the kind of persons they approach with such offers. I don't give them the face to tempt me. They say I'm strong-headed.

You mean if a beautiful lady winks at you, you won't respond?
(Laughter) Never! It is not in my character.

Artistes or film-makers are usually associated with a lot of scandals. As a movie director, have you ever been involved in such indignities?
I'm one of the guys that set the ball rolling and I have tried to conduct myself positively, to date, and I believe God has been, and still, behind me. This is evident in the kind of movies I make. Had I gotten myself involved in such indignities, I would have probably ‘gone with the wind’

How did you manage to overcome them (the scandals)?
Stay out of trouble; do the right thing at the right time.

You are still single. Can we say Ishaq is searching?
Not really

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Economic Links and State of Development of Hausa Home Videos

...On The Question Of Rebranding:
(Published in LEADERSHIP September 5, 2009)
According to reports by the Global Media Entertainment outfit commissioned by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), the motion pictures industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy.
The sector turns out billions of dollars and generates millions of jobs worldwide. The PWC reports projected that the global entertainment industry generated over $470 billion by 2005.
The term ‘film industry’ is generally used to describe an umbrella of creative industry production activities, including film, television (drama and documentaries), commercials, still photography and multi-media.
The Nigeria Movie Industry (NMI) is comprised of the combined forces of Nollywood and Kannywood have made the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to acknowledge the three main video and movie production centres of Lagos, Onitsha and Kano. Nollywood refers to movies produced in the production centres in Lagos and Onitsha as Nollywood, while Kannywood simply refers to the Hausa film industry domiciled across the North but with the marketing and production hub in Kano. It produces about 30 per cent of Nigeria’s movies which are predominantly in Hausa language but with few others in Fulfulde, Nupe, Kanuri, Tiv and English languages.
Presently, the NMI is the second largest producer of straight-to-home video entertainment movies in a whole world. According to the survey conducted in 99 countries by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Institute of Statistics (IS), and with the result released in May 2009, the year 2006 recorded feature length films produced video format, which shows India with 1,019, Nigeria 872, and United States 485. This record clearly shows Nigeria as the second largest world’s producer of films and Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of monetary value estimated at $250 million; the sheer number of 200 videos produced every month. Based on report, the Nigerian model has the multi-lingualism advantage as 56 per cent of the films are produced in local languages: Yoruba ,31 per cent; Hausa, 24 per cent; Igbo, 1 per cent and English films accounting for 44 per cent accordingly.
The Nigeria film industry has significantly more than any other endeavour in the last 15 years played a central role in establishing an international profile for the country’s culture. It is an industry of national importance and has been one of the greatest ambassadors for Nigeria around the world.
The Nigeria film industry has been identified as one of the top five growing sectors and has been selected as one of the key activities likely to produce economic growth.

•Economic Links
The Nigeria film and television industry is a significant component of our economy as it provides an important source of economic growth and employment. The creative process of putting a story into film is a complex, expensive and labour-intensive business operation. Thus, like any major business operation, film and television productions require a wide range of services and scores of personnel from frontline actors and directors to behind-the-scenes employees like sound engineers, set designers, and caterers. In meeting these material and resource demands, companies provide substantial economic benefits to a wide range of industries in the locality where production takes place. The economic significance of the film, television and video industry could be demonstrated by identifying the links between this sector and the rest of the economy. The film sector is one of the few sectors that could add value to a wide range of other sectors in the economy through the creation of demand for production and services. In general, the film industy outwits the rest of the economy: over the last nine years, the sector has grown by over 40 per cent. According to Leke Adler, the market potential of the industry in Nigeria is relative to the size of each state's economy, at least by N522.5b per annum.
The spin-offs of the film industry could be identified by studying its value chain. Each production results in jobs for camera operators, sound and lighting technicians, caterers, plumbers, carpenters, animal trainers, truck drivers, make-up artists, graphic artists, photographers, set designers, painters and actors. Production budgets are spent on a range of production from hardware to props, plants to steel, paint to timber, draperies to carpets, furniture to portable dressing rooms, generators to saddle makers, and restaurants to hotel rooms. The value chain of the film, television and video industry extends to many other sectors of the economy creating a catalytic growth effect. The economic multiplier used to calculate the amount of money generated by film production is estimated to be 2.5. This means that for every N1 spent on production, N2.50 goes into the local economy.
The export earnings and economic benefits of feature film, television and commercial production cannot be singularly directed towards industry-related services, facilities, equipment rentals or production purchases. Instead, the benefits are part of a wider economic platform of job creation, retail sales, manufacturing, travel and tourism earnings that would otherwise not be injected into the state.
Film production also creates a resource that has considerable export value.In the United States, film entertainment remains the second biggest export earner. In recent years, developing countries have realised the value of marketing locations for film, television and video production. Most developing countries only attract medium to low budget production, which results in limited benefit and spin-offs. These benefits are optimised when domestic film production companies generate a larger share of total production within a region or country.
Film production is a “locomotive” industry, similar to housing construction and automobiles, in that the number of production workers directly working in the industry belies the true impact of the industry on the economy because so many upstream, downstream, and peripheral industries depend on the primary production plant. Unofficial industry statistics indicate that over 300,000 jobs in Nigeria are directly involved in film production - more than the number of workers directly employed in any other sector. Once again, these statistics do not measure the number of workers in secondary and tertiary industries that are directly involved in film productions. This would include carpenters, electricians, caterers, drivers, seamstresses, construction workers, and many other professions that may not be exclusively or primarily devoted to film production.

Re-branding, as far as I know, is to harbour a wind of change in character, nature and general orientation of the people in a certain community or society. Also, it may be termed as an act of reverting to status-quo. When applied to Nigeria, it means characterisation to the best. In so doing, this great nation will revert itself to its former state of uniqueness. Critics opined that there would be no rebranding without the motion picture industry as its main canvassers. Talking movies, re-branding is the change in the way we depict the image of our country and culture in our movies, both locally and internationally.
The epicentre of this workshop is the motion picture practitioners of Kannywood who have for long been exposed to a programme similar to what we are talking about today. Section 36, sub-section 1A and B of the NFVCB enabling law, explicitly coincide with the re-branding of Kannwood/Nollywood project where only films that promote Nigerian culture, unity, interest and which are not likely to induce the corruption of private morality, among others, are to be censored and classified for exhibition and distribution, both in and outside Nigeria. The point here is that NFVCB will ensure that only movies that re-brand Nigeria will see the light of the day.
Re-branding the Nigeria film industry is crucial as the sector has significantly more than any other endeavour in the last 15 years played a central role in establishing an international profile for our country and our culture. It is an industry of national importance and has been one of the great ambassadors for Nigeria around the world.
Consequent to the growth and development of the Nigerian Movie Industry, the NFVCB believes very strongly that the Nollywood/Kannywood and Nigeria in general should define their identity, character, image and influence from the movie’s global window.
I hope the practitioners of Kannywood will utilise this workshop to provide integration of cultural values and cohesion within the Northern film industry thereby desisting from the Indian-type films the region is known for.
At this point, I would like to inform the partcipants and resource persons at this workshop that the director-general of the NFVCB has brilliantly initiated a New Distribution Framework (NDF), which if fully implemented through the board’s shared responsibility plan with state governments, will have a national coverage and serve as a medium through which Kannywood will be re-branded.

•How can we rebrand Kannywood?
Considering the following facts, I believe Kannywood will come to stay if and only if:
-Movies are produced in the context of the religion and culture of the people represented.
-All industry activities are conducted in the context of the religion and culture of the people represented.
-Motion picture practitioners are adequately, religiously, culturally, and professionally trained.
-Film making is not considered unislamic.
-Film makers Are not stigmatised or exposed to stigma by clerics.
-Our religious and cultural institutions appreciate the value of the film industry and engage in sensitising and educating the practitioners through seminars and workshops.
-The Northern businessmen and women appreciate the industry and invest in it.
-Due process and rule of law are absolutely observed.
-Kannywood is sanitised through sensitisation, stakeholders/consumer education, monitoring and legal action taken against recalcitrant producers, distributors and unyielding pirates.
-The cultural, national values and dignity are not compromised while educating and entertaining the public.
-Professional guilds and associations are empowered.
-Stringent conditions imposed on practitioners by some government agencies are softened.
-All industry stakeholders unite, develop, and implement a programme of action that could move the industry forward.
-The Northern Nigeria is perceived as the premiere location offering the film industry a unique blend of professional services - locations, skills, and other support services.
-Locations, facilities, and services are of the highest quality and offer some of the best value for money.
-Kannywood is regarded as an important contributor to the region's economic growth, and is identified as a priority sector, supported by the community at large.
-The Northern state governments offer competitive incentives to attract inbound production activities.
-Filming contributes significantly to creation of new jobs and increasing number share directly in the benefits derived from the industry.
-Filming becomes an all year round cultural and economic activity.
Lastly, I would like to urge both the regulators and operators to adhere to the rule of law and due process in all their endeavours and fight all forces that hinder the growth of the industry. Thank you.

Dr. Sarari is North-West zonal coordinator of NFVCB. He delivered this paper at the just concluded workshop organised by Zaria Film Makers, at Congo Confrence Hall, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.