NEWS DIGEST – Kannywood deserves serious intervention, re-evaluation and boost from stakeholders, says film expert Muhsin Ibrahim

Ibrahim, who recently authoured the first acclaimed book about Kannywood, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.

In his book titled ‘Kannywood: Unveiling the overlooked Hausa industry’, he reintroduces Kannywood, dissects the issues plaguing the industry and reviews some of its best works.

According to Ibrahim, The Hausa film industry tagged “Kannywood” struggles largely in obscurity within Nigeria, not to mention outside the country, for several reasons.

He said, “these include a constant conflict between the filmmakers and a hegemonic religious establishment, lack of professionals in the industry, academics’ indifference towards their films, among other complexities.

“A few, mostly foreign, academics have written about these issues. Today, no one has yet authored any book for the general readers. Nobody cares to review their films,” Ibrahim said.

Speaking further on the issues facing the industry, Ibrahim said, “there is this erroneous belief that Hausas are less educated and people wrongly think nothing good can come out from there.”

He also cited the language barrier, poor quality of some of the films in terms of plot, cinematography, subtitling and distribution hitches as reasons why the industry is not taken seriously.

About distribution, he said, “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.

“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,” he said.

Ibrahim recommended that the industry push its work through online paid-for streaming platforms although he noted that Kannywood lacks committed leadership.

The solution, according to him, is for a total revamp of the industry by stakeholders including filmmakers, government and academics.

Ibrahim also suggested that more research papers and reviews should be written on the industry and the right intervention will open up job opportunities for teeming youths, especially in the north. (NAN)