How insecurity in North hampers Kannywood development | Dailytrust

How insecurity in North hampers Kannywood development

For the several years that the Nigerian film industry was said to have overtaken Hollywood to become second to Bollywood (the Indian film industry) in terms of movie production, many would have thought that the development of the Nigerian film industry was on its way to a full imposing height.

The declaration that Nigeria became the second largest movie producer in the world was contained in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report released.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) survey revealed that Bollywood produced 1,091 feature-length films in 2006, while Nigeria’s film makers came out with 872 film productions. This was higher than that of the United States which the report said produced 485 films.

Apart from Bollywood, Nollywood and Hollywood, eight other countries that produced more than 100 films include Japan (417), China (330), France (203), Germany (174), Spain (150), Italy (116), South Korea (110) and the United Kingdom (104).

Film production is considered an economic driver of any nation, if properly developed and boosted. This view is well supported by the UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, who said, “Film and video production are shining examples of how cultural industries, as vehicles of identity, values and meanings, can open the door to dialogue and understanding between peoples, and also to economic growth and development.”

But Nigeria’s case has been quite different as the movie industry has been witnessing one form of decline or another, and pundits have mostly linked it to lack of proper support and funding cum inadequate investment by individuals, organizations or the government alike.

Interestingly, apart from the umbrella body of film making in the country commonly referred to as Nollywood, the three major tribes in Nigeria also have their own arms of film production. That is the Hausa (North), Igbo (East) and Yoruba (West). Other tribes and ethnic groups also have their peculiar film production body. 

With respect to the high film production in Nigeria however, the films produced from the Northern part of Nigeria is estimated to contribute over 30 percent to the entire films produced yearly in the country. And the umbrella body under which the Northern film industry operates is the Kannywood.

Kannywood is an offshoot of several Hausa programmes of yesteryears like ‘Wisdom is An Asset’, ‘Samanja’, among others. And the industry has produced good actors like Ali Nuhu, Adams Zango, Sani Muazu, Umi Zeze, Nana Ismail, among others. Fantastic films with humorous contest and moral lessons have been produced as well from Kannywood.

With its headquarters in Kano State as well as a studio/annex in Kaduna, Kannywood has evolved over the years with the films getting wider acceptability in the North as well as among the non-Hausa speaking tribes. Nonetheless, there are several restrictions in Kannywood film productions due to the conservative nature of the North. 

Kannywood films are produced in line with the cultural and religious beliefs (Islam) of the North. Hence, there are many ethical standards and regulations in producing Kannywood films. For instance, close contact between a man and a woman is prohibited, there is no display of alcoholic products or any form of indecent dressing exposing parts of the body. This has made many watchers to acknowledge that Kannywood films are more decent compared to films produced in other parts of the country.

Several meanings in Kannywwood films are mostly inferred, especially where it will reveal an immoral scenario, yet the audience get the meaning it was trying to project. For instance, a man and a woman could be projected to be going to bed in night gowns, but the film would not show them on the bed discussing or holding one another.

So, the wide acceptance of Kannywood films has led to its patronage and increase in production, with the marketers also taking the advantage to pirate the films for sale. This has made film censors board to clamp down from time to time on the pirates, and some have actually been jailed as a result.

Still, Kannywood is flourishing regardless of the general challenges associated with the film and entertainment industry generally. But with the heightened cases of insecurity in the North, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, farmers-herdsmen clash, ethno-religious crisis, and other forms of violence, the film industry has seriously been hit. 

With the boost given to film production via cinema and premiering of films, the North has suffered a setback because there are few functional cinemas in the whole North. People don’t patronize them as there have been cases of bomb explosions at viewing centres.

Besides, while the cinemas are estimated to be less than 10 in the entire North, the south has over 3000 functional cinemas spread across Lagos, Enugu, Ibadan, Asaba, Port Harcourt, among other places.

Moreover, some film locations have become danger zones because of the fear of attack, abduction or any form of violence, thereby limiting film makers to only safe terrains which sometimes don’t have the desired film setting.

Speaking on the issue, a veteran Kannywood actor, Sani Muazu, said if insecurity in the region is tackled, the film industry will bounce back and occupy its pride of place.

He said during any film production in Kano, about 1000 jobs are provided for youths ranging from script writers, camera men, transporters, props providers, among other skills.

Muazu emphasized that film makers have suffered great loss, but if government can provide security and enabling environment for them, the end result will be fantastic.

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