Muhammad Usman Umar, also known as Mansur Sadiq, is a producer, director and actor. Born and raised in Plateau State where he did both primary and secondary schools, he has a diploma in public administration and also a professional diploma in Television and Film from the Yusuf Maitama Sule University Kano. In this interview, he talks about funding in the entertainment sector and sundry issues.
How did you venture into the film industry?
My sojourn into filmmaking started when I was twelve years old. What really happened then was that, with my father’s consent, I played a role in a film that was shot close to my house in Jos. After that single role, I proceeded to focus on my educational career but with the zeal to act concealed in my heart. After secondary school, I joined a drama group based in Jos called ‘Farin Wata Drama Group’ and in that group, I held several leadership positions. That drama group produced actors like late Ahmad S Nuhu, Tijjani Faraga, among others.
I had another push when my uncle studying Theatre Arts at the University of Jos was doing one of his projects and featured me in it. That was how after my secondary school, I moved to Kano, where I began both my pursuits in educational and film careers.
How many films have you acted in?
I acted in several films before my conversion to what I am today. I have gone through several stages in the art of filmmaking such as lighting, production assistant, producing, cameraman and directing. I have acted as a lead character in six films, which include Jigo, Fice, Almuru, among others.
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I can beat my chest today to say I made tremendous contribution to the improvement so far recorded in the lighting sector in the industry. It will interest you to note that despite the fact that I don’t do lighting for now, almost all of the lighteners in the industry have a connection with my tutorial directly or indirectly.
Can you tell us about the first film you directed?
The first film I directed in Kannywood is called Tutiya and that was about a decade ago, but up till this moment that I speak to you, I am still proud of that film.
Do you believe that kannywood has recorded some developments?
Of course, there are a lot of developments in the industry. If you compare our storylines, pictures, sound and the artist’s composition, you will agree with me that we have indeed made tremendous improvement. However, most of the developments so far recorded were self motivated because the sector lacks the needed support.
How do you mean, “the sector lacks the needed support”?
You see, Kannywood has grown to become a child of necessity and it is clear that the film industry has provided a means of livelihood to uncountable number of people but yet, if you closely take a look at what the industry is going through, you will find out that there is absence of both government and private sector funding in the industry. The presence of these two important sectors in the industry would have moved the industry to the apex of film making business not only nationally but globally.
It is apparent that lack of funding has been the industry’s nightmare for ages. Had it been the industry is enjoying at least 40 per cent patronage by the two sectors, the difference would have been very noticeable but unfortunately, the practitioners were left to source for funds themselves and do the little they can to keep the industry afloat. This is why the industry has migrated to YouTube and other platforms.
Do you believe the migration to YouTube is a positive development?
To some extent it is. It is important to note that Kannywood has become a necessity in the nation’s entertainment sector and since the trend has changed, coupled with the region’s cultural affiliation that has given the cinema a negative connotation, Kannywood was left with no option than to take the available survival means.
It is also unfortunate that some group of people in the North failed to consider filmmaking as a profession or a career and yet they believe that the industry can entertain them. These factors have forced the filmmakers to seek avenues to be able to move on and since YouTube provides the needed space to operate, they took that chance to continue to survive.
Are you working on any project currently?
Yes, I am working on a mini-TV series ‘Jagora’ among other works. Moreover, I am also working on a project tagged Media Art Project, which is an Nasaba entrepreneur-like project on skills acquisitions on film making and other aspects; in it we have targeted youths and women to become self-reliant. What we need currently is support from other stakeholders to be able to expand the project to contain more beneficiaries.
The film making sector surely needs professionalism and that is why we started the project to enable practitioners to be more professional in what they do.
Is Mansur Sadiq married?
Initially, I did not want to talk about my marital status. However, this medium is exceptional and I will want to make it clear here. I am married and have a daughter. I had a wife but the marriage did not work and we got divorced. However, I am planning to get married again, you will soon receive an invitation to that effect.