Kabiru Musa Jammaje is the founder of Jammaje English Academy and a producer in Kannywood under the auspices of Jammaje Productions. In this interview with IBRAHIM HAMISU in Kano, he speaks on his achievements and goals in the industry among other issues.
In the six years you have spent in the film industry, could you tell us some of your greatest achievements?
Actually, I got two achievements. The first one is entirely for Kannywood. This is because many people despised Kannywood members and thought that they were poorly educated. When Jammaje Productions surfaced, people began to realise that there are many of them that are well educated. Also, many big film industries, both at home and abroad, began to respect Kannywood because those people that produce their films in Hausa language are now also producing them in English Language. A new relationship was then hatched between Kannywood and Nollywood. New Kannywood film stars began to feature in Nollywood films and vice versa. Although it had happened before then, it wasn’t common.
On my side, I’ve benefitted greatly. My company became popular and well accepted by the people. My English academy also became more popular because of the movies. There was a day a woman came to me and said, “I’ve seen the kind of English spoken in your films. I’ve therefore brought my children to your school to learn the same English.” So far, Jammaje English Class has about 30 branches in the North. The films attract more people to our schools. So, this is another big achievement.
What about challenges? Have you ever run into any?
Yes, of course. A challenge is how you will see many Kannywood members thinking that we have come to dominate the industry. But I always calm them down by showing them that I’m going to work with them. We worked with them as actors of the movies and other film crew. They later realised that we are not their antagonists even though we faced some handful of problems from their side.
We would invite an actor to play a role in our movie. He would accept the invitation, but later refused to come to the shooting locations after all arrangements were put in place. Perhaps he thought that we wanted to test him or his English is too poor to partake in the movie. It was at the end we realised that he wouldn’t come after all our plan and arrangement was on him. We came across many of these problems.
What is your goal in Kannywood?
My goal is to keep on producing films that portray the customs and traditions of Northern Nigeria. If you watch our films gently gently gently, they are all about people’s social life, save for In Search of the King that could be said it touches tradition and custom.
How do you envisage Kannywood in the next 10 years?
In 10 years from now, I sincerely envisage that those that studied and have good knowledge of film-making would dominate and control the industry. I doubt if any one that refuses to learn will get a position in the industry.
What is your take on the massive influx of aspiring film actors from different states, especially women?
This really happens. My advice towards addressing this issue is to include education level as a criterion of joining the industry, in the sense that you must have some certain certificates before you get a register. By doing this, the influx can be curtailed. For example, it can be started that you must have an NCE or diploma before you get the register. If the influx is still high, it can then be said you must acquire a HND or degree. There was that kind of influx in India but to limit it, they made it mandatory for you to acquire a degree certificate before you get registered. It’s only children of the actors that have the licence to start the film while still in school.
What is your advice to leaders of the industry?
My advice to the leaders of the industry is to incorporate that education level as one of the requirements of joining the industry, as I did mention earlier. Even I, who’s not a leader in the industry, receive calls and messages through WhatsApp from many people that want to join Kannywood. The amazing thing is that many of them cannot even read and write Hausa correctly. So, it means that someone has not even gone to school but wants to join the industry. You can frankly say that that’s how the industry was likely built. The chance was given to the people that cannot even read and write. If that happened before, it should be stopped now. An active filter should be placed. Some people have the talent but are not educated. So, if you come and claim that you have acting talent, your education certificate will be asked afterward. That’s what the leaders are supposed to be doing.
What is your take on the proliferation of Hausa film series?
It’s a progress in some instances, and it’s not in some other instances. It’s a setback in the sense that we are now neglecting feature films. There is no big film industry that is proud of film series alone. They are all proud of feature films. This is because if an industry is producing feature films, it signals that it is fully established. Even though the film series have helped in producing new actors and jobs, it has not helped the industry in making it more established.
What is your wish for your fans and audience?
They have not heard from me for a little a while. My apologies please! We have now composed three to four scripts. They are masterpieces that surpassed the previous ones. Also, Abubakar Maishadda, as we are now working together, has promised to give us good cameras and other modern film shooting equipment at a free coat whenever we are ready to start shooting. So, this is a good achievement.