Friday, 6 December 2013

The great
Madiba
passed
on
to
glory.
Adieu
Nelson
Mandela.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Africa International Film Centre, Tiga-Kano

MOPPAN
Africa International Film Centre, Tiga-Kano
The Kannywood Centre

Alhaji Sani Mu’azu
1/3/2007


A Proposal aimed at developing the Hausa Film Industry, employing thousands of youths and opening vistas of opportunities where Hausa culture and traditions are showcased, as against stifling the growth and development of the sector through draconian policies.





EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PART ONE
1.1 Introduction
1.2 The Federal Government of Nigeria recognised the importance of the film industry in the country and have equally demonstrated this through the setting up of several committees to provide an enabling environment and infrastructural development. To underscore the commitment of government in addressing the problems of the industry towards its overall growth and development, five Associations, UMPAN, ANTPN, CMPPN, ITPAN and MOPPAN are recognised by Government and assembled for this objective. MOPPAN is the only association based in the North.

1.3 The Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria, MOPPAN, is the association responsible growth and development of the motion picture industry, with several affiliate guilds like that of Producers, Directors, Actors, Cinematographers, Writers, Editors, Film designers and Music Composers spread in 19 states in Northern Nigeria with its headquarters in Kano. The association had conducted several training programmes, Awards of excellence and research and documentation for the benefit of its affiliates.

1.4 Today, over 30 percent of Nigerian films are Hausa films. Nigerian films including Hausa films, account for more than half of Africa’s motion picture output. Indeed, Nigeria is rated among the three largest producers of film titles in the world with India’s Bollywood and America’s Hollywood. Likewise, the industry ranks as one of the highest employers of labour in the country, employing well over 200, 000 graduates, skilled and semi-skilled labour. This has in no small measure, impacted positively on the poverty alleviation of Nigerians. Besides, this industry which the world acknowledges as Nollywood has opened up investment opportunities in areas such as production, marketing, distribution and exhibition of films. The Northern part of the Nigerian Film industry that produces the bulk of its products in Hausa and a few Northern Nigerian languages is branded by MOPPAN with the tag of Kannywood for distinct identity and proper national positioning.

1.5 All these, as part of the success story of the Nigerian motion picture industry, have been made possible by the unwavering commitment of private entrepreneurs who took the plunge with the home video technology and ingeniously turned it into a thriving industry. This phenomenon has grown into a visible and remarkable element of popular culture, projected the abundance of untapped human resources in the art and business and has made the prospects for growth more viable today than ever before. Despite all these activities and investments, the industry remained unstructured and loosely regulated.

1.6 It is in recognition of these positive strides, the potential of becoming a strategic tool for development and the expanding huge markets for video movies that MOPPAN has taken the initiative to organize the industry in Northern Nigeria in order for it to contribute more positively to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP and become a major player in our national economy under an AFRICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM RESOURCE CENTRE in Kano.

1.7 Examples from other known film cultures show that the benefits of a regulated and organized film industry are enormous than what obtains in an unstructured environment. The absence of a Film Centre owned and operated by stakeholders themselves, has thus robbed the country of the opportunity to maximise the potentials which the film industry holds as a promise for the realization of both individuals and the corporate goals.

1.8 Instead, we have witnessed the taking over of our movie space by charlatans who throw professionalism and ethics to the dogs. Standards, both in techniques and values have been compromised over the years.

Consequently, MOPPAN recognizes the dire need for the establishment of an Africa International Film Resource Centre in Kano.













PART TWO
RATIONALE AND JUSTIFICATION FOR AN INTERNATIONAL FILM CENTRE

2.1 The need for an International Film Centre?
2.2 The lack of integration and cohesion within the film industry has no doubt created distortions and dysfunction, giving rise to varying levels of concerns being expressed by stakeholders. With a changing economy, technology and policy environment, the prevalence of poor production quality, dearth of requisite skills for enhanced capacity building, near-absence of an efficient, proactive and profit-oriented distribution and marketing structure, and the non-alignment of the industry to the larger industrial sub-sector of the national economy - all of which have led to its limited contribution to national re-orientation and international image building.

2.3 Whereas there is visible growth, the above indices are part of the several factors that have inhibited the development of the motion picture industry in Northern Nigeria. It is a case of all motion and no movement. The new paradigm of production and distribution which the video movies have come to represent has not been fully exploited to attract the requisite investment into the industry due to the absence of a structured body. The financial sector, as intermediaries in the economy, has been identified as a worthy partner in the journey towards the commercial viability of this initiative, and is equally looking forward to an institutional structure which would be responsible for facilitating the attainment of greater productivity and excellence in the industry.

2.4 MOPPAN observed that for our motion picture industry to thrive therefore, creativity, improved skill acquisition, modern technology, continuous training and exposure, benchmarking and setting higher standards, intellectual property rights protection, recognition/reward for excellence, and marketing and distribution must be given their pride of place. Every well-developed and viable film industry across the world has put one form of structure or the other in place, to stimulate its growth and development.

2.5 In the same vein, for a business that began almost by accident, was sustained by expediency, and has not benefited from the support of either the political establishment or the orthodox financial institutions, what the country needs at this point of our development is for the motion picture industry to be properly guided and nurtured to grow.

2.6 The tremendous impact of Hausa and other local films on the people’s minds, their ways of thinking, their habits of perception, their attitude to the world, work, family and neighbours has nonetheless helped to shape the implications for their development in recent times. This has also invariably dictated the direction of their authority over our values and our lives, as a counter-force against the influence of foreign values and imported cultures which threaten the survival of a truly indigenous motion picture industry.

2.7 The visual medium of film no doubt is one of the strongest media of cultural expression. The Hausa films in particular and Nigerian motion picture industry in general, today desperately needs to put a stamp on quality and standard in story interpretation, picture/visual, sound, and content as a whole. The revolution of quality productions, using local talents and other resources will not only project our culture that stemmed from our religion positively but also position Nigeria on the global map of filmmaking.







PART THREE

AN INTERNATIONAL FILM CENTRE IN KANO

3.1 Towards the Establishment of an International Film Centre
3.1.1 The Association notes that Northern Nigeria is one of the three filmmaking legs of Nigeria and the only one few filmmaking without a Film Centre. Lagos, Bayelsa and Enugu are in the process or have established some form of film centres. The Federal Government is trying to establish one more for them in Abuja.

3.1.2 MOPPAN also finds that all over the world, the significance of a film centre as an engine of growth is becoming increasingly recognised. Only recently did the Nigerian government realise that leaving the industry in the hands of the private sector, who are the more visible players in the home video revolution, will only continue to undermine effort at local and international image management and economic and socio-political progression. The industry has not only become a national institution, recently accorded official recognition but also an authentic economic sector, with the potential of becoming one of the greatest contributors to national wealth.


3.1.3 The imperative, therefore, of bridging the gaps in manpower development, capacity building, production, marketing, distribution and exhibition - with professionalism at its heart – formed one of the cornerstones of this presentation aimed at harnessing the potentials of the film medium for the achievement of national development objectives.












3.2 The Present State of the Film Industry in the North
3.2.1 The evolution of the motion picture industry in the North with Kano as its umbilical cord must be considered side by side with the economic potential, not only locally but also beyond our shores. Over the last 15 years or so of indigenous film production, the film medium has grown to become the major conveyor of Northern culture, arts and tourism potentials to the outside world. From pre-independence and post-independence era, and with more indigenous participation, the home video culture has manifested enormous capacity to create wealth, driven by a private sector entrepreneurship.

3.2.2 Apart from hiding under the guise of shari’ah to launch attempts aimed at killing the film industry in some parts of the North, the industry has virtually been left to exist on its own in the other parts, a development which deviates from what obtains in the more organised film cultures mentioned above. Though some effort has been made in the past to regulate the moral aspect of the industry to conform with Shari’ah, no attempt was made to consider the economic and other benefits, and the reality is that much more needs to be done in the following areas:
(i) Infrastructure and facilities;
(ii) Production;
(iii) Distribution, Exhibition and Marketing;
(iv) Training and capacity building;
(v) Funding and financing;
(vi) Legal Environment.


















RECOMMENDATIONS

3.2.2.1 Infrastructure and Production Facilities

MOPPAN noted that few state-of-the-art equipment exist as part of the production facilities in the industry in the North. The cinema infrastructure among others, such as equipment and theatres have equally been abandoned to decay or converted to warehouses, banks, shopping malls and venues for religious worship, etc. The new phenomenon of the home video production therefore does not enjoy the communal conviviality which was the order of the day in the cinema era. In the same vein, production, distribution and exhibition facilities in the film industry are virtually non-existent.

Note must however be taken of the effort of private sector investors in Lagos, Port-Harcourt and recently Abuja by Silverbird and other stakeholders who are already financing a few standard film exhibition centres across some major cities of the country in an attempt to revive the film exhibition and cinema going culture. There are also a chain of video rental outlets and viewing centres in the urban centres and in some rural areas of the country, operating on the fringe. More of these structures and facilities are expected to be established in the North by these businesses and operated without recourse to northern cultural sensibilities.


Recommendation:
MOPPAN therefore sees the need to go into, or encourage northern businessmen to go into the business of cinema as it should be in a predominantly Muslim environment. MOPPAN also recommends that Kano State Government, in its new policy thrust on Film Development through the establishment of a practitioners driven film centre in Tiga, Kano, should seek to collaborate with motion picture equipment and film stock manufacturers from different parts of the world for the establishment of factories or sales offices in the Kano, with adequate incentives to attract their participation.

3.2.2.2 Production
MOPPAN observed that Kano, as the centre of Kannywood, is unarguably one of the highest producers of film titles in the Nigeria and Africa, with over one thousand video movies per annum. Film production encompasses several processes of transforming a story or subject matter from idea to a finished product. With the establishment of the Resource Centre, it is hoped that the above stated problems about motion picture production would be mitigated to the barest minimum.

Recommendation:
In its view, MOPPAN believes the establishment of the International Film Resource Centre at Tiga in Kano, would bring all Guilds and Associations together under one umbrella at the centre and give them the capacity to address the problems of technical and content quality, format, standards, professionalism, aesthetic appeal and of course, finance are some of the challenges facing the industry today.

3.2.2.3 Distribution, Exhibition and Marketing
MOPPAN observed the absence of effective structure and efficient and organised distribution network in the North, despite Kano being one of the major distribution centres of Films in Nigeria and sub Saharan Africa generally. MOPPAN also noted that there is the lack of political will on the part of Kano State Government to consider its strategic positioning and make plans to explore and revitalize the sector.

Recommendation:
MOPPAN recommends that Kano State Government should utilise the International Film Resource Centre at Tiga to facilitate an enabling environment to encourage public-private partnership to enhance an organised and efficient distribution and marketing network.

3.2.2.4 Training and Capacity Building

MOPPAN noted that it has become imperative for practitioners to possess a certain basic qualification that is recognised and acceptable by all stakeholders nationwide to bridge the yawning gap created by dearth of requisite skills in the industry.

Without training and capacity building therefore, it is difficult to maintain standards and ensure the regular supply of the needed manpower to feed the development needs of the industry.

Recommendation:
MOPPAN recommends that the International Film Resource Centre Tiga, Kano should host a film school to be known as TIGA INTERNATIONAL FILM CENTRE, KANO to be affiliated to either Bayero University Kano or Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. The school can work with other similar training institutions around the world to professionalise the industry. The Centre would also work with and encourage the Government-owned National Film Institute and the NTA Television College in Jos and other training institutions and initiatives by stakeholders to function adequately and provide the services needed in this sub-sector.

3.2.2.5 Funding and Financing
Modern filmmaking is business, big business. It is pertinent to note that all films, whether Government-sponsored or funded by corporations or individuals incur expenses in anticipation of expected returns. MOPPAN observed the absence of institutional funding, grants and endowment which has hampered the delivery power of the Northern Nigerian filmmaker.

Recommendation:
MOPPAN strongly recommends the establishment of a Film Development Fund in Kano for the Northern motion picture industry in collaboration with other Northern Governors that are major stakeholders and beneficiaries.

3.2.2.6 Legal Environment
MOPPAN observed that the Government has been making relevant and necessary efforts towards creating an enabling and enduring legal environment to stimulate the desired moral growth and development in the industry. The Kano Censors Board is however a source of concern to stakeholders and the law establishing the board is obviously done in a hurry.

Recommendation:
MOPPAN recommends that the Kano State Government should liaise with the National Film and Video Censors Board to harmonise and regularise its reforms until the motion picture industry is firmly put on a sound footing of focussed growth and development. The International Film Resource Centre would also maintain a standard legal office to continuously study and update its policies with regards to culture, tourism and growth without constituting itself as a nuisance and national/international embarrassment.

From the foregoing, MOPPAN therefore recommends the establishment of an International Film Resource Centre, to be known as THE AFRICA INTERNATIONAL FILM RESOURCE CENTRE TIGA, KANO at the present place of the ROCK CASTLE HOTEL to, when fully established, serve as THE CENTRE that would seek to intervene through its registered and affiliated Guilds and Associations in all aspects of motion picture production in Northern Nigeria and give KANNYWOOD a true identity and KANO STATE its position of pride as the third leg of film production in Nigeria.



Alhaji Sani Mu’azu
National President
MOPPAN

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

CALLING ON GOV. SHEKARAU TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATION OF SEX SCANDAL AGAINST ABUBAKAR RABO

CALLING ON GOV. SHEKARAU TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATION OF SEX SCANDAL AGAINST ABUBAKAR RABO


We are aghast, as well as dismayed, by the frantic attempts of the Director-General, Kano State Censorship Board, Mallam Abubakar Rabo Abdulkareem, and some collaborators in the Kano State Government and elsewhere to trivialise the serious sex scandal that broke around him last week. We have no iota of doubt that these attempts are meant to discourage any further open discussion on the matter, portray it as an unimportant distraction in the issues of governance in the state, and then sweep it under the carpet.

But Rabo's self-imposed position as a vanguard of morality not only in the Hausa movie industry but also in the Kano society in general makes it imperative to launch a full inquiry into what really transpired on that night of Sunday, 22nd August, 2010. Rabo and the government he represents should not imagine that covering up this matter would be in their best interest because 1) a huge chunk of the good people of Kano State and indeed the whole North have now tended to believe the stories around the incident as they presently circulate, and 2) doing so would cast a big shadow of doubt about the Shekarau government's purported entrenchment of Shariah law in the state. Investigating the scandal, however, would bring out the truth of what actually happened. It could clear Rabo of all charges/suspicions or expose him as a hypocrite, someone who engages in secret philandering with girls old enough to be his daughters and therefore ill-fit to hold the sensitive position of DG, KNSCB.

The story going round in the public domain, as published by the Sunday Trust of 29th August and Leadership of August 30th, 2010, is that Rabo was discovered by patrolling policemen in the Sharada quarters of Kano City, in his parked car behind a building, off the road in the dark. It was around 10 p.m. When the police approached, he switched on his car and drove off in a devil-may-care speed. The patrol car pursued him. In his blind haste, he knocked down a pedestrian, seriously injuring him. The pedestrian was later discovered to be a staff member of the Kano State History and Culture Bureau. He is still on admission at the Nassarawa Hospital. Rabo was eventually apprehended by commercial motorcyclists, who had chased him hotly when he refused to stop after knocking down the pedestrian. A teenage girl, who was thoroughly frightened, was found in the car; her underwear was said to have been found in the back seat of the car.

Rabo was eventually taken by the patrolling policemen to the Sharada Divisional Police Station where he was questioned. However, he was allowed to leave with his badly damaged car and the girl that same night by the Divisional Police Officer in strange circumstances.

Both Rabo and the police authorities in Kano have confirmed this incident in their press interviews. What is being contested is what Rabo and the girl were doing at that forlorn place and in that unholy hour. The big story being spread is that Rabo was having a carnal knowledge of the girl as many unscrupulous men tend to do under similar circumstances. Rabo has, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying that the girl was the daughter of his late elder brother and that she had accompanied him to escort some relatives who had broken their fast at his house.

The government of His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Shekarau must investigate the incident in order to reassure the people of Kano about its sincerity on the implementation of its Shariah programme, about which there are millions of sceptics. And while doing so, Rabo should be ordered to go on suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) hereby proposes that a powerful, independent Committee of Inquiry be set up by the Kano State Government to investigate the various claims in this saga. Some of the questions the Committee should investigate include, but not limited to, the following:
1) Who exactly was the girl in Rabo’s car on that fateful night? Was it really his niece as he claimed in his press interviews or a different person altogether? How old was she? The girl should be interviewed by the Committee;
2) Did Rabo really host his relatives to a Ramadan-breaking meal (Iftar)? Who were they? They should be made to appear before the Committee;
3) Why didn’t Rabo go with male member(s) of his family when escorting the said in-laws instead of going with the said teenager if at all she exists and was the one that went with him;
4) If indeed the girl in question was his niece, is it true that he and she were having a secret affair as is being rumoured?
5) What exactly was Rabo doing with the girl at around 10p.m. in a secluded place off the main road?
6) Why did Rabo drive away even though the police siren was said to have been blaring, urging him to stop? And why did he run away even after knocking down the unfortunate pedestrian?
7) Who were the policemen that arrested him and took him to the police station in Hotoro?
8) Exactly what did Rabo say in his first written statement to the police?
9) Why did the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Hotoro, release Rabo and the girl, together with the damaged car, when investigations were just commencing and Rabo’s hit-and-run victim had just been taken to the hospital in a critical condition? Was that a normal police procedure?
10) Why did Rabo virtually flee to Saudi Arabia, ostensibly to perform the lesser Hajj (Umrah) a day or two after almost killing a citizen and while having a sex scandal on his hands? Why didn’t he wait to clear himself of all charges and ensure that the victim of his hit-and-run accident was in a better condition of health?
11) Did Rabo contribute any money to the family of his hit-and-run victim for his medication, which must have been costing a lot?
12) Why did some Kano State government officials try to cover up the incident by misinforming the general public that there was no girl in Rabo’s car during the incident? Obviously, they had no idea that Rabo had already confirmed that there was indeed a girl in the car. They were also said to have been urging journalists in the state and elsewhere not to break the story and or allow further discussion on it;
13) Rabo had claimed that he was aware of certain meetings held for two weeks by some film industry stakeholders or PDP stalwarts with the aim of eliminating him. This serious allegation should be investigated not only by the investigative committee but also by the security agencies; Rabo must tell them where and when those meetings took place, as well as the names of those in attendance;
14) Rabo had told the press that officials of the opposition PDP in Kano were responsible for his present ordeal. He must tell the Committee how this was possible and the names of those involved.
Finally, we wish to note that Rabo has since become a liability to the government of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. He has attracted more negative perception to the government than any goodwill. A more dynamic and people-oriented regime would have relieved him of his post, more so as he has failed woefully in discharging his responsibilities. The good people of Kano State and the nation at large wonder just why Governor Shekarau has been keeping him in that office even though he has contributed nothing in the direction of sanitising the industry. He has only succeeded in causing more unemployment of the youths that he prevents from earning their legitimate livelihood, encouraged the production of movies that are not censored yet are in full circulation all over Kano, and helped heat up the society.

This Rabo sex scandal is a litmus test for His Excellency Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau’s candidature for the presidency of Nigeria. Shekarau, who has announced his bid to run for president under his party the ANPP, should begin to show that he would be a responsive and responsible national leader when elected by not helping some elements in his present government to cover up this scandal. Doing so would question his motivation and commitment to the enthronement of a decent society in Nigeria.


MALLAM SANI MU’AZU
National President
MOPPAN

Monday, 13 July 2009

KANNYWOOD AND BEYOND




234next.com On Twitter

Kannywood and beyond

By Akintayo Abodunrin
July 10, 2009 12:16PMT

Leading northern Nigeria filmmaker, Sani Muazu, is president of the Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN). He discusses developments within the industry and on his productions.

Filmmakers in Kano have started to register with the Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim- led Censors Board with which they fought a war of attrition for the most part of 2008.

“It is true that more than half of the filmmakers in Kano State have registered with [Abubakar] Rabo’s Censors Board, but more out of fear than a belief in what it stands for. The Board cannot really define what it wants other than it is fighting what it refers to as ‘badala’ in Hausa. Its definition of that word can be reduced to pornographic films in Kano.

We, the filmmakers, have argued that none of our members had ever produced such. We are not morally bankrupt to attempt to swim in such murky waters, but the man insists most of the films made prior to his posting to the Board are ‘badala’ films.

He capitalised on the general rejection of singing and dancing the Indian way, in some Hausa films, to justify his claims. But we were the first to agree that we must stop making films with those kinds of songs,” says Sani Muazu, a major producer of Hausa movies.

He continues: “In essence, both the filmmakers and the Board were singing the same song, yet he insists he has a formula for a clean film. To understand what he wants, and so as not to keep stakeholders in Kano out of work for too long, we okayed those that wanted to register with the Board to give him a chance to show us the way.

We now know that he is only interested in collecting the registration fees from filmmakers as nothing has changed in the content and quality of the works approved by that man yet.”

‘Damaged Merchandise’

Muazu’s newest film, ‘Haaja-Damaged Merchandise’ centres on Vesico-Vaginal Fistulae (VVF), a health condition rampant among girls forced into early marriages in the North.

“‘HAAJA-Damaged Merchandise’ is a feature movie that highlighted the VVF issue as never before. There were attempts to bring VVF to the front burner in the past, but never was it attempted at such magnitude and scope by the people that know it most.

This is a movie you finish watching with a grim expression on your face and a plenty-to-chew countenance. I am yet to see a viewer that clapped after a preview despite its promises and a happy ending.

It didn’t scratch the surface like the rest. It exposes the socio-cultural contradictions of our society where we end up doing harm, while trying to do some good. It also not only shows, in a creative way, the VVF issue as a national one adding to maternal mortality, but also proffers solutions out of it.”

Mrs. Yar’Adua and I

Does going to show the movie at Aso Rock for Mrs Turai Yar’Adua not indicatethat he is trying to romance government?

“VVF is a maternal issue that requires policy makers at the highest level to intervene and move to action. Who else is better placed to watch it first than Mrs. Turai Yar’Adua, in company with the wives of other governors?

What is wrong with romancing the government to bring change anyway? But to put the records straight, the movie was supported by the United Nations Population Fund that arranged the premiere for the first lady.”

Indian influence in Hausa movies

The producer of ‘Hafsah’, a movie which reportedly sold about 85,000 copies, apart from box office returns, is concerned about the Indian influences in Hausa movies. He discloses what he is doing about it.

“I am not happy with it and our Association is using training and retraining as the panacea to make it fizzle away. Do you know that once upon a time, even Hollywood struggled to find its footings?

"It is actually better to dance like an Indian than to promote cultism, don’t you think? All these are definitions of our teething beginnings that are bound to fizzle away once the boys are separated from the men.”

No wood tag

Muazu, who began his film career in Nollywood before crossing over to Kannywood, attempts a comparison between the two.

“Ordinarily, I will reject all the ...wood tags you mention, but I kind of see them as necessary for cultural symbolism. I am a part of the growth of the Nigerian film industry, no matter what tag they decide to give it.

"The white journalist that coined Nollywood and called us so, did it to show how we are not Hollywood but today, most of us are happy with that tag. Kannywood is another tag that some say, shows Hausa movies as second-rated.

"I always argue that if Tafawa Balewa and Sardauna of Sokoto never played second fiddle in national politics, Hausa films must rise to the occasion and rub shoulders in terms of creative and technical quality in Nigeria and beyond.

“I do not see points of divergence between Nollywood and Kannywood as they are an integral part of a whole. After all, when UNESCO used statistics to qualify us as the second largest film industry in the world (in terms of numbers), the organisation took into cognisance the multicultural nature of the kinds of films we make, especially the use of different local languages.
"I make films in the language of film, pictures, be they in Hausa or English or even Yoruba or Igbo.”

Productions

A vastly experienced filmmaker, Mu’azu was the executive producer for the British Council’s ‘Reel Dialogue’ project. His other notable productions include ‘Agumba’ and ‘Eg’igwe’. He produced ‘Chapters of Our Life’ and ‘Tambaree-The Beats of Pain’. He worked closely with the late Matt Dadzie on ‘Riddles and Hopes’ and ‘Change’.

His ‘Mountain Blues’ won the Best Feature Film in 2007 at the Abuja International Film Festival while ‘Hafsah’ won three nominations at AMAA. The movie also earned him the best Hausa Film Producer/Director at the UK based Africa Film Awards.

‘Mr Johnson’

Muazu was on the set of Bruce Beresford’s ‘Mr Johnson’ – and recalls the experience of working with the late Hubert Ogunde, Femi Fatoba and other greats.

“It was a great pleasure to have worked with all these great people on the set of ‘Mr Johnson’. I still remember Pa Ogunde being flown from his sick bed in the UK to the set of the movie to play his last role on earth.

"I saw him struggle in the pains of ill health to deliver his lines convincingly. I was among the Nigerian and other international crew members that applauded with pride that day. He died a few days after that.

“I remember Femi Fatoba, who is a good actor. I also got to know the likes of Tunde Kelani and a host of other talented Nigerians on that set. But above all, I am glad to have worked with one of the worlds’ greats, Bruce Beresford.

"I have never met a more composed, focused, down-to-earth and easy going film director in my life. No airs at all. Imagine, he got the Oscar that year as the Best Film Director for his movie, ‘Driving Miss Daisy’, but here he was working with us without raising a shoulder.”

Naturally, Muazu took some lessons away from the production. “The technical crew of ‘Mr Johnson’ was the best in the world then. I worked directly under the tutelage of Rosemary Burrows whom we fondly called Frox. There is no way you can work with those people and be the same again, never.

"That production changed me beyond anything I can imagine. You know, you don’t learn film in the classroom, you learn on locations, sets. My youthful exuberance as a filmmaker was tamed for the man in me to take over after ‘Mr Johnson.’”

Film Development Centre

Muazu has been agitating for the Nigerian Film Resource Development Centre project for a long time. “It is only in Nigeria where film is developing at an alarming pace without the necessary structure with corresponding investment to nurture and give it a sense of direction.

"Our antecedent is unlike that of Hollywood where the major studios played that role from inception. We are also not like Bollywood. If an investor is interested in film in Nigeria, where will he go to?
"The NFC in Jos, a local bank or the Censors Board? Where will the banks access facts and figures about the industry in Nigeria, from the fragmented Guilds and Associations?

"We really need at least three film resource centres to be situated in Lagos, Enugu and Kano. These centres must be manned by the practitioners themselves where issues such as the development of production villages and film support resources, training, technology and professional matters can be harnessed.”

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Nigeria Film Resource Centre

This is a presentation made by Sani Mu'azu on behalf of MOPPAN to the WORLD BANK towards the establishment of

The Nigeria Film Resource
Development Centres


NFRDC


Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu

Proposal

by

Sani Mu’azu
NATIONAL PRESIDENT
Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association
Of Nigeria





SUMMARY

Introduction
Nigeria is being recognised internationally as an important filmmaker providing film titles in numbers albeit on video format and the importance of this emerging film industry in the country cannot be underscored.

Today, Nigerian films account for more than half of Africa’s motion picture output. Indeed, Nigeria is rated the largest producers of film titles in the world after India’s Bollywood and America’s Hollywood. Likewise, the industry is estimated as one of the highest employers of labour in the country, employing well over 200, 000 graduates, skilled and semi-skilled labour. This must have, in no small measure, impacted positively on poverty reduction among Nigerians. Besides, this industry which the world acknowledges as Nollywood has opened up investment opportunities in areas such as production, marketing, distribution and exhibition of films.

All these, as part of the success story of the Nigerian motion picture industry, have been made possible by the unwavering commitment of private entrepreneurs who took the plunge with the home video technology and ingeniously turned it into a thriving industry. This phenomenon has grown into a visible and remarkable element of popular culture, projected the abundance of untapped human resources in the art and business and has made the prospects for growth more viable today than ever before. Despite all these activities and investments, the industry remained unstructured and loosely regulated.

It is in recognition of these positive strides, the potential of becoming a strategic tool for development and the expanding huge markets for video movies that we are proposing the establishment of The Nigeria Film resource development centre in order for it to contribute more positively to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP and become a major player in Africa’s growth and economy.

Examples from other known film cultures show that the benefits of an organized film industry are enormous than what obtains in an unstructured environment. The absence of a Film Centre owned and operated by stakeholders, thus robs the Nigeria of the opportunity to maximise the potentials which the film industry holds as a promise for the realization of both individual and the corporate goals.

We have witnessed the taking over of our movie space by charlatans who throw professionalism and ethics to the dogs. Standards, both in techniques and values are being compromised.

Consequently, MOPPAN as a major stakeholder, along with other professional Associations and Guilds in Nigeria, recognise the dire need for the establishment of The Nigeria Film Resource centre with Head office in Abuja and structures in Kano, Lagos and Enugu.

RATIONALE AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE NIGERIA FILM RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT CENTRE

The lack of integration and cohesion within the film industry has no doubt created distortions and dysfunction, giving rise to varying levels of concerns being expressed by stakeholders. With a changing economy, technology and policy environment, there is prevalence of poor production quality, dearth of requisite skills for enhanced capacity building, near-absence of an efficient, proactive and profit-oriented distribution and marketing structure, and the non-alignment of the industry to the larger industrial sub-sector of a globalised economy - all of which have led to its limited contribution to national re-orientation and international image building.

Whereas there is visible growth, the above indices are part of the several factors that have inhibited the development of the motion picture industry in Nigeria and to a large extent, the African continent. The new paradigm of production and distribution which the video movies have come to represent has not been fully exploited to attract the requisite investment into the industry due to the absence of a structure. The financial sector, as intermediaries in the economy, has been identified as a worthy partner in the journey towards the commercial viability of this initiative, and is equally looking forward to an institutional structure which would be responsible for facilitating the attainment of greater productivity and excellence in the industry.

We observed that for our motion picture industry to thrive therefore, creativity, improved skill acquisition, modern technology, continuous training and exposure, benchmarking and setting higher standards, intellectual property rights protection, recognition/reward for excellence, and marketing and distribution must be given their pride of place. Every well-developed and viable film industry across the world has put one form of structure or the other in place, to stimulate its growth and development.

In the same vein, for a business that began almost by accident, was sustained by expediency, and has not benefited from the support of either the political establishment or the orthodox financial institutions, what the country needs at this point of our development is for the motion picture industry to be properly guided and nurtured to grow.

The tremendous impact of Nigerian and other local films on the minds of African, influencing their ways of thinking, their habits of perception, their attitude to the world, work, family and neighbours has nonetheless helped to shape the implications for African development in recent times. This has also invariably dictated the direction of their authority over our values and our lives, as a counter-force against the influence of foreign values and imported cultures which threaten the survival of a truly indigenous motion picture industry.

The visual medium of film no doubt is one of the strongest media of cultural expression. African films in particular and Nigerian motion picture industry in general, today desperately needs to put a stamp on quality and standard in story interpretation, picture/visual, sound, and content as a whole. The revolution of quality productions, using local talents and other resources will not only project our culture but also position Nigeria properly on the global map of filmmaking.

THE NIGERIA FILM RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT CENTRE

Towards the Establishment of The Nigeria Film Resource Development Centre
MOPPAN noted that Nigeria is one of the few filmmaking nations in the world without a Film Centre.

MOPPAN also found that all over the world, the significance of the film industry as an engine of growth is becoming increasingly recognised. Although Nigeria had maintained a film office from its colonial days, it is only recently did the Nigerian government realised that it needs to get involved in structuring the industry through the Motion Picture Council of Nigeria MOPICON, being coordinated by the Nigerian Film Corporation as well as evolving an organised film distribution framework by the National Film and Video Censors Board. Happily, the World Bank is now coming on board as well. Before now, the industry is left in the hands of the private sector, who are the more visible players in the home video revolution. An independent centre giving these governmental efforts direction will only continue to strengthen effort at local and international image management and economic and socio-political progression by the government. The industry has not only become a national institution, but also an authentic economic sector, with the potential of becoming one of the greatest contributors to national wealth.


The imperative, therefore, of bridging the gaps in manpower development, capacity building, production, marketing, distribution and exhibition - with professionalism at its heart – formed one of the cornerstones of the proposed Nigeria film centre aimed at harnessing the potentials of the film medium for the achievement of national development objectives.

The Present State of the Nigerian Motion Picture Industry
MOPPAN noted that the evolution of the Nigerian motion picture industry must be considered side by side with the economic potential, not only locally but also beyond our shores. Over the last few years or so of indigenous film production, the film medium has grown to become the major conveyor of African culture, arts and tourism potentials to the outside world. The cinema and video culture has manifested enormous capacity to create wealth, driven by the private sector.

MOPPAN also observed that the industry has virtually been left to exist on its own, a development which deviates from what obtains in the more organised film cultures mentioned above. Though some effort has been made in the past to give the industry a form of direction for economic and other benefits, the reality is that much more still needs to be done in the following areas:
(i) Infrastructure and facilities;
(ii) Production;
(iii) Distribution, Exhibition and Marketing;
(iv) Training and capacity building;
(v) Funding and financing;
(vi) Legal Environment.

a. Infrastructure and Production Facilities

MOPPAN noted that very few state-of-the-art equipment exist as part of the production facilities in the industry. The cinema infrastructure among others, such as equipment and theatres have equally been abandoned to decay or converted to warehouses, banks, shopping malls and venues for religious worship, etc. The new phenomenon of the home video production therefore does not enjoy the communal conviviality which was the order of the day in the cinema era. In the same vein, production, distribution and exhibition facilities in the film industry are virtually non-existent.

Note must however be taken of the effort of private sector investors who are already financing a few standard film exhibition centres across some major cities of the country in an attempt to revive the film exhibition and cinema going culture. There are also a chain of video rental outlets and viewing centres in the urban centres and in some rural areas of the country, operating on the fringe. Most of these structures and facilities are nonetheless expected to be beneficiaries of the Film Centre.



THE NIGERIA FILM FACILITY RESOURCE CENTRE:
The Centre, to be administered by Professional Guilds and Associations, will in its policy thrust seek to collaborate with the World Bank, the Government and other motion picture equipment and film stock manufacturers from different parts of the world for the establishment of factories or sales offices in the country, with adequate discount or waiver incentives to attract their participation.

b. Production
MOPPAN observes that Nigeria is unarguably one of the highest producers of film titles in the world, with over two thousand video movies per annum. In its view, the establishment of the Centre would give Guilds and Associations the capacity to address the problems of technical and content quality, format, standards, professionalism, aesthetic appeal and of course, finance are some of the challenges facing the industry today.

FILM PRODUCTION VILLAGE AND SOUND STAGE:
Film production encompasses several processes of transforming a story or subject matter from idea to a finished product. With the establishment of the Centre’s Film Village and Sound Stage, it is hoped that the above stated problems about motion picture production would be mitigated to the barest minimum. It is worthy of note that the Nigeria Film Institute under the NFC is building a Sound Stage presently for students of Film. It will only be logical that such facilities are available in the industry so that upon graduation, they will find the facilities ready at the workplaces.

c. Distribution, Exhibition and Marketing
MOPPAN observes the absence of effective structure and efficient and organised distribution network in Nigeria.

FILM DISTRIBUTION, EXHIBITION AND MARKETING OFFICE:
The Centres Film distribution, Exhibition and Marketing Office will work with the NFVCB to facilitate an enabling environment to encourage public-private partnership to enhance an organised and efficient distribution and marketing network.

d. Training and Capacity Building

MOPPAN notes that it has become imperative for practitioners to possess a certain basic qualification that is recognised and acceptable by all stakeholders nationwide to bridge the yawning gap created by dearth of requisite skills in the industry.

Without training and capacity building therefore, it is difficult to maintain standards and ensure the regular supply of the needed manpower to feed the development needs of the industry.

THE FILM RESOURCE ACADEMY:
The Centre will establish a Film Resource Academy. It will also work with the Government-owned National Film Institute in Jos and other training institutions like the Nigerian Universities and initiatives by stakeholders by encouraging them to function adequately and provide the service(s) needed in this sub-sector.

e. Funding and Financing
Modern filmmaking is business, big business. It is pertinent to note that all films, whether funded by corporations or individuals incur expenses in anticipation of expected returns. MOPPAN observes the absence of institutional funding, grants and endowment which has hampered the delivery power of the Nigerian filmmaker. The Nigeria Film Corporation had proposed the establishment of a Government Film Fund, though it is yet to get it started. There is a room for several sources of Funds for Film growth in any particular country.

THE NIGERIA FILM RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT FUND:
The Centre will establish a Nigeria Film Resource Development Fund for the motion picture industry.

f. Legal Environment
MOPPAN observed that the Government has been making relevant and necessary efforts towards creating an enabling and enduring legal environment to stimulate the desired growth and development in the industry like the establishment of Motion Picture Council of Nigeria.

AFRICA INTERNATIONAL FILM LEGAL OFFICE:
The Centre will establish a Film legal office that will interact with MOPICON, when established, working with international legal conventions and frameworks for film development and intellectual property protection. The Film Legal Office will work to encourage the Government not relent in its reforms until the motion picture industry is firmly put on a sound footing of focussed growth and development.

THE STRUCTURE
From the foregoing, THE WORLD BANK along with Professional Guilds and Associations will establish a film hub with head office in Abuja and Production Centres in Lagos, Enugu and Kano comprising of the following arms;
1. The Film Resource Facility Centre;
2. The Film Production Village and Sound Stage;
3. The Film Distribution, Exhibition and Marketing Office;
4. The Film Resource Academy;
5. The Film Resource Development Fund, and
6. The Film Legal Office

TIME FRAME
5 YEARS 2009 TO 2014
This facility will be an independent structure and a film hub developed within a period of 5 years, 2009 to 2014 by the World Bank in Nigeria, to coordinate professional practice in the motion picture industry. The Centre, when fully established would seek to intervene through these offices for growth and development in all aspects of motion picture production in Nigeria for the African continent.




Sani Mu’azu
NATIONAL PRESIDENT
Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association
of Nigeria
+234 (0)8037038940
sanijos2@yahoo.com

Friday, 8 May 2009