Skip to main content

(110): INTERVIEW: Kannywood: Revamped industry will provide millions of jobs

Following the publication of my book, Kannywood: Unveiling the Overlooked Hausa Film Industry, a reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Anita Eboigbe interviewed me. Excerpt of the interview was then carried out by several news outlets in Nigeria. Here is the full version:

1. Do you think the relegation of Kannywood has anything to do with the social, political and tribal sentiments in Nigeria? And why? 

I think the sentiments you mentioned play a role, but they are not to blame squarely. First, there is a widespread belief that Hausa people are less educated compared to other (southern) ethnic groups in Nigeria. Therefore, many people think, wrongly though, that nothing good – such as their films - may come out from them. The fact that Kannywood’s movies are 95 or more per cent in Hausa makes this belief all the more plausible. I have read and heard several people, especially on social media and conferences, arguing that the Hausa folks cannot make films in English, hence their resolve to stick to their mother tongue.

Secondly, the filmmakers’ action and inaction contribute to their marginalisation. Often, the films are nothing to write home about. They fall short in many respects right from the storytelling and plot, cinematography and so on. In instances where the films are subtitled in English, one finds unpardonable grammatical bloopers to the extent that no non-Hausa audience can understand the dialogues. This, unfortunately, gives detractors of Kannywood a reason to condescend their films all again.

2. Apart from Africa Magic Hausa and a few other outlets, Kannywood has a distribution problem, in your opinion,  how best can this be tackled?  

Film industries in many developing countries have problems with distribution. Kannywood’s, though, may be called acute. Known to all is the fact that the CD/DVD market is dead. I recently surveyed how people watch films. More than 90 per cent of the respondents said that via their mobile phones and laptops. Allegedly, some filmmakers pirate their colleagues’ movies and upload them on YouTube or distribute them indiscreetly. This has led to the downfall of several hitherto vibrant producers and directors.

Additionally, cinema-going is still largely discouraged in Kano. This is due to some religio-cultural beliefs attached to the cinema. I quite extensively discussed this topic in the book. The problem is not insurmountable, though. However, the industry lacks a committed leadership. While trying harder on the cinema showing, I suggested that they should resort to online video streaming platforms like Netflix, iROKOtv, etc. Committees have been formed, but none has yet come up with an action plan. The problem persists.

3. How long did it take you to gather materials for your book? 

Several years. As I mentioned in the preamble of the book, I was introduced to the critical study of film in 2012. However, I started writing what later became a portion of this book in 2014 with a review of a movie titled Aduniya. I was then in India doing a master’s degree in Theatre and Television. The film was widely promoted. Many people were eager to see what the “imported” director came with. I ended up disappointed. That behoved me to put down my thoughts on paper. I was optimistic that the director would somehow see that and improve on his next project. I went on to do my dissertation partly on film. I received much support and encouragement from Prof. Abdulla Uba Adamu, the current Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, among others in gathering materials for the book.

4. What were the major challenges you faced during the course of writing? 

Some, nay, many people bash almost everything Kannywood. From close friends, colleagues and the rest, I was repeatedly dispirited and ‘advised’ to change my focus away from Kannywood. In one of my unpublished academic articles, I described Kannywood as an illegitimate child, in societies like ours, to its mother. She loves and hates it, and she cannot throw it away. This is the situation this film industry survives in. The Kano Film Village imbroglio is still fresh in our memories. So, these are some of the hurdles I had to cross to come up with a book on Kannywood, the first of its kind.

5. What call-to-action will this book present to stakeholders about the growth of Kannywood? Stakeholders include government, filmmakers and audience.

The book addresses a spectrum of an issue. In short, it calls on the government, academics, journalists, Islamic scholars and the general public to revaluate Kannywood. The film industry deserves more than our usual denunciation. The film is a vehicle for culture, identity and image laundering. The outside world, in particular, views a Hausa man in the way and manner Kannywood movies portray them. The earlier we understand that film has come to stay the better. This, therefore, calls for the stakeholders’ serious intervention.

Let me single out my calls to the government and fellow academics. Nigeria has recently overtaken India as the poverty capital in the world. Massive unemployment is among the leading causes of this sad, unfortunate development. Thus, the government should empower Kannywood for it provides jobs to hundreds of thousands of youth. It will reduce not only poverty but also the security threat facing the country, particularly the north.

Academics should realise that Kannywood, as well as their movies, are study-worthy for several reasons such as their historiography, economics, aesthetics; linguistic, media and cultural values, etc. Students should be encouraged to conduct researches on these aspects and more. Likewise, the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) should boost film reviews and criticism as it does fiction and non-fiction books.


  1. May God improve your strength to do more. I like your style of writing especially your use of adverb and preposition.

    May Allah increase you in knowledge.

  2. I enjoy your interview and appreciate your courage on displaying the value of Hausa films and how they fall short as well as how they will improve it.

    May Allah bless you and incresin your knowledge.

    Sir Ibrahim

  3. Thanks for sharing your information. If anyone want to know about political related company, this will be the rightplace for you.
    Political Consulting Company in India
    political campaign management companies in india


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

(143): On Connection Regrets: My Excruciating Experience

On Connection Regrets: My Excruciating Experience   By Muhsin Ibrahim Khadija, nicknamed Kashe-Kala, who I ‘re-nicknamed’ KKK, was one of my dearest classmates during our undergrad at Bayero University, Kano. Honestly, KKK, a sickle cell patient, was pretty, posh, and from a wealthy family. Hence that sobriquet. So, admittedly, I believed she was out of my league. However, we became so close. Despite our closeness, we disagreed pretty often. About a year after graduation, I met the lady I later married. The day I told KKK about my newfound love, she jokingly bragged that I chose this girlfriend because she’s her namesake: Khadija. On hearing this, some friends thought she loved me. It’s not true; our relationship was platonic. I had visited KKK’s house countless times. I barely missed seeing her at the hospital. Her relatives know me. I can’t forget the day I was riding my motorbike to their house when I stopped by the roadside to answer her call. From nowhere, someone snatched m

(113): Kwana Casa’in: A Short Review

Kwana Casa’in : A Short Review If posh locations, number of cast and crew members, sophisticated camera, etc. are enough indicators for the budget size of a production, then Kwana Casa’in [90 Days], produced by Arewa 24 channel, is doubtlessly an expensive soap opera. Directed by Salisu T. Balarabe, the drama is arguably the best of its kind in the Hausa language. Being funded by foreign, non-profit, non-political bodies, including the MacArthur Foundation, Kwana Casa’in stands out as a socio-political critique of our people and governments. It unmistakably aims to provoke reflection and introspection and to spark conversation and action within and outside the corridors of power. Is it able to achieve that? Set in a fictional town called Alfawa, the drama begins at the peak of governorship electioneering. The current governor, Bawa Maikada (acted by Sani Mu’azu), is highly corrupt and desperate to win re-election in spite of doing very little for the people. The health sec

(168): Top 7 Kannywood series of 2023

By  Muhsin Ibrahim & Habibu Ma’aruf As 2023 draws to a close, the closure of Kano Filmhouse Cinema is one of Kannywood’s most regrettable events in the outgoing year. Consequently, there was a significant decline in the number of cinematic releases. Nevertheless, amid this setback, a silver lining emerged as it spurred a notable shift towards series films, with prominent producers and directors venturing into the evolving market. From  Labarina ,  Alaqa , and  Manyan Mata  to  Fatake ,  Amaryar Tiktok  and  Gidan Sarauta , Kannywood’s audience has been captivated by numerous enthralling TV and web series. While the series market faces criticism for potentially fostering second-rate productions, the following list highlights the best seven series films aired in the year. Please note that the numbering is not hierarchical.  1. Labarina Labarina  stands out as a household name among Hausa film enthusiasts. Despite premiering in 2020, this show’s latest seasons con