I became a film producer by coincidence –Jamila garkuwa | Dailytrust

I became a film producer by coincidence –Jamila garkuwa

Jamila garkuwa
Jamila garkuwa

Jamila Muhammed Garkuwa has been a sensational Hausa singer, an actress and a film producer who has been in the filmmaking business for over a decade. She is the brain behind some hit Hausa films and songs. In this chat, the actress talks about women’s future in the industry, among other issues.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Jamila Muhammed Garkuwa, I was born and raised in Plateau State some decades ago. I did my primary and secondary schools in Plateau State. I was about to get enrolled into the university when the Jos crisis erupted. Due to the crisis, some of our families relocated to Kano and some to Abuja. I was with my family that relocated to Abuja but I constantly visited those that were in Kano.

It was during such visits to Kano that I got involved with Kannywood, and my interest in the sector got me closer to some of the artists. My sojourn into the entertainment world started when I commissioned a singer in the industry to sing for one of my family’s friends during her wedding. Unfortunately, the guy I commissioned didn’t deliver as promised and I got annoyed and decided to write the song and voice it myself.

To everyone’s surprise I did it and it was like I have been a singer all my life, even the studio personnel were surprised when I told them it was my first time. What started as a challenge gradually metamorphosed to become a profession for me and that was how I actively got involved with Kannywood. Presently, I am an actress, a singer and a producer.


How did you transcend acting from singing?

While singing, I started voicing a lot of advertisement jingles for individuals, businesses and politicians as well. However, with time these jingles became so pronounced that people began asking us to make videos of the jingles that we have made for them, and as you may wish to know, most of those jingles needed to be dramatized for it to effectively send the intended messages.

I had no prior acting skills but I took the challenge and ventured into making videos for the adverts. I can vividly recall that my first video was in Shatiman Borno’s jingles shot in Kano. With guidance and some coaching, making videos for jingles gradually became part of me. It was during these jingle’s video shootings that some directors and producers in Kannywood noticed my God given talent and began inviting me for roles in their films.

What was the feeling like at your first location?

Though it wasn’t easy for a beginner like me then, I tried my best to see that I delivered what was expected of me without much ado. I adopted a strict behaviour of giving back what is on the script and nothing more, nothing less.

My first film in Kannywood was a comedy called ‘Ibro Kafi Karfin Yau’. I featured in the film alongside Kannywood’s most celebrated comedian late Rabilu Musa Ibro. My performance earned me roles in subsequent films by the same producer. ‘Ibro Dan Kwadago’ and ‘Dan Auta Dan Bori’ were some of the films that I featured in during my first days as an actress.

That was how my journey to the filmmaking business began; I started getting roles after roles and I was able to perfect my acting skills through the experiences I had gathered as an upcoming actress before taking a rest off the screen business.

It is true that you once stopped acting?

No, I never quit, I just left the industry in pursuance of other things and later came back better and stronger than I left.

What happened when you left the industry?

During my stay as well as my engagement with the industry, I found out that there is a serious gap in women’s involvement in the industrial development even though the women played a very vital role in the existence of the industry as an entity. The development really changed my perception as an actress.

I left the industry to pursue some other business opportunities elsewhere and my reason was for me to be able to get enough financial resources to personally produce a film of my own as a female producer. I wanted to be a producer and that was what I became on my return. In a nutshell, I have never quit as an actress and as I have said earlier, I only left and came back.

I have come to realize that if a woman remains as only an actress in the industry, she wouldn’t have much to write home about financially.

Would you say your dream is actualized?

Personally, yes but for the whole of the industry, I don’t think my dream has been realized. The good aspect here is that I have created awareness and many women have also taken up the challenge.

I was disappointed in one of my films in which I served as the executive producer. It then dawned on me that if I didn’t do something fast, I would lose all the money I spent on the film. Right there, I took it upon myself to continue with the production which I successfully did. That was how I became a film producer in Kannywood and there is no going back in my exploration of the vast opportunities the industry is set to offer. I became a producer by coincidence.

What’s your view on sex for roles?

This is an issue that I have never experienced as an actress and I believe every actress that believes in self respect will not encounter such incidents. As I said earlier, for every woman to excel in the film making industry, there is a need for that woman to have other sources of earning lawful income away from the industry.

I believe once you are financially stable, you will never be a part of such self degrading activities that will mar and negatively change one’s life.

What do you do aside filmmaking?

I am a businesswoman and I also run a Non-Government Organization through which we conduct series of philanthropic activities. The NGO is based in Kano and we have done a lot under it.

Do you have any regrets being an actress?

No, I have no form of regret and I don’t think I will ever regret doing what I love to do as much as it conforms to religion and traditional norms.

What is your dream in Kannywood?

My dream is to see a Kannywood that will promote and protect every woman, my dream is to see a Kannywood that gives equal opportunity to women as it gives to men and my dream is to see a Kannywood that one day will be headed by a woman.

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