I co-founded the first independent film production company in 1990 – Sani Muazu

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Background

My name is Sani Muazu. I’m a filmmaker with about 30 years of experience. I was born and raised in Jos, where I did my primary and secondary education. I started presenting programs on television in the early 80s after high school. I was one of the pioneer staff of PRTV in Jos in 1982. I went to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos to study journalism where I took courses in reporting and advanced writing. Later I moved into program creation in 1986 and had to go to the University of Jos for mass communication in 1989/90. I have taken several other courses since.

When and how did you join Kannywood?

I didn’t join Kannywood; I was one of the founders of Kannywood. I was working with the TV industry before Kannywood and TV was the foundation of Kannywood as TV producers using TV equipment started telling local stories which gave birth to Kannywood. A film called Turmin Danya may have kickstarted commercial film sales in Nigeria, but even then Kano, Kaduna and Jos were the main centers of production and we had by then produced several films and series in English and Hausa .

My colleagues and I started a series of Hausa films called Bakandamiya de Jos during which I was both a screenwriter and a main actor. I was also involved in the production; this was all under the NTA in Jos. In 1990 we decided to form the first independent film production company with the late Matt Dadzie, an elderly colleague of mine. The company was called Epitome Productions. He was based in Jos. Several English series and films such as Riddles and Hopes and Change have been produced by us. I decided to leave Epitome and start my own business in 1993/94. I gathered some friends and colleagues and we formed Lenscope Media which was registered in 1995. This all happened before Kannywood or when Kannywood was created, and even Nollywood. I have therefore been running Lensscope Media for 27 years.

The film industry has a very broad scope; what is your area of ​​expertise?

I trained as a film designer or art director essentially, but working with different directors marked me as such. On the other hand, as I tried to stay behind the camera, acting has always been part of me. I am a natural where role playing is concerned. So I kept getting offers for roles to play until today.

When and how did you join Kannywood?

I had answered this question earlier. There is no when or how. Kannywood met me there.

You are the governor of Alfawa from the Kwana 90 series movie; how did you get the role?

As an actor, I was invited to auditions at Arewa 24 for the role of the governor in Kwana Casa’in and I came. I must have done well in the auditions because I ended up getting the part. The rest is history.

Is there a part or verse in Kwana 90 that makes you laugh every time you remember it?

Kwana Casa’in is a very engaging journey for me. I interpreted the role of the governor with such seriousness that the public sees me seriously like that. Yes, there are passages which are funny like when the governor was accosted during a ceremony but even that was interpreted with all the seriousness that it deserved by me. This may have made the audience laugh.

What was the first film you made?

It started from the early 80s to today, I had made a lot of TV movies and series even before Kannywood. I have made hundreds of films, series and documentaries to date. The latest 13 episodes of drama that I have personally made is Buka Africana which is currently airing on Arewa 24. It is available on the Arewa 24 website.

How many films have you produced so far?

They are in the hundreds. In fact, I’ve lost count.

What achievements have you recorded so far?

They are many. I had touched hundreds if not thousands of young people who today have joined the industry and see me as a role model. My studio had trained several who have paid employment and have given work to others. As a leader in Kannywood; because I was once the National Chairman of the Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), which made me a father figure to Kannywood, I had organized training programs with the French Embassy, ​​the British Council, the American Embassy, ​​USAID and several other governmental and non-governmental organizations during which a multitude of Kannywood filmmakers have been trained by experts. This is a serious achievement on my part, as I have contributed immensely to raising the standards of filmmaking in Kannywood.

What are your challenges?

Challenges are part of life. Nothing is easy. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Some may like you, some may not, but we are able to accept it and move on. All praise be to Allah. We are still standing.

Are you part of a union or professional association?

Yes, I belong to MOPPAN, the Directors Guild and the Actors Guild.

What is your goal in Kannywood?

My job is to see Kannywood grow ever larger and be seen as one of the busiest and most creative film centers in Africa.

What do you expect from Kannywood for the next 10 years?

Like I said before, I see Kannywood winning Oscars and getting the world’s attention by then.

What advice will you give to the Kannywood wannabe?

Practitioners should be honest in their works. They should know that although cinema is a business, there are passions that are worth more than making money. They must be ready and willing to make sacrifices like we have. They must get rid of mediocrity and aim for excellence. It’s the only way for them to grow and grow the industry in the process.

What is your message to your fans, loved ones and the Kannywood industry?

The beginning is yet to come. We are just warming up for the race. Keep trusting us. We love you very much.

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