Kamalu Mijinyawa has spent 21 years doing everything possible to ensure the production of quality films. He also spent 19 years managing film production in Kannywood. In this interview with IBRAHIM HAMISU, he talks about the details of his role in the industry.
I was born in Unguwar Tudun Nufawa, Kano Municipality Local Government Area. I attended Jakara Special Primary School then enrolled in JSS Gwammaja before moving to GSS Dala. After graduating from high school, I was admitted to the Federal College of Education (FCE) for my preliminary science studies. From there I went to the College of Health Technology where I earned a degree in dental surgery technology. I also obtained a diploma in desktop publishing as part of a program initiated by the Atlantic University Innovative. In addition, I participated in workshops and seminars. I am married.
Tell us about your beginnings in Kannywood?
I joined Kannywood because of my keen interest in the industry. I used to go to filming locations and with God’s goodness to me, I learned the basics of the trade; therefore, I created a company, H&K Film Production, and immediately started working as an assistant director. From there, I graduated to become a fully-fledged, committed director in the industry. Later, our company changed its business name to Yusrah Ventures Film Production.
When did you first work on film production?
I started producing in 2001, when I worked on our company’s film, Ragaya Net Carrier, and I worked as a manager. In 2003 we produced another film, Allura-Niddle; a figurative expression of a pretty girl who has caught the attention of so many suitors.
The film industry has a very broad scope; what is your area of expertise?
I usually play several roles in many fields, including as a cameraman, film/video editor, as well as an experienced director.
How many films have you produced so far?
Allura-Niddle or a figurative expression of a pretty girl who has caught the eye of so many suitors; Yanki region or part of a city; Gidan Harka – Sahara – desert picnic pavilion; Sanin Asalitracing the root – Lineage/Genealogy; Barmo– personality/actor; Maaskin dares – night barber; fan So Rasome, by love; Motsin Rai – interjection; zubar hawaye – cry miserably; Zamantakewa – social organization; Malukussaifi – war heroes, and Shantu – a musical instrument usually played by young girls and many others.
Also, there are drama series/movies that have yet to debut on TV/movie screens; at least five of them. And these drama movie series include zubar hawaye – cry miserably; Shantu – musical instruments for young girls, and Malukussaifi – which depicts a war hero in ancient times.
Which of the list was the first you made?
I first directed the production of Allura-Niddle.
Are you a member of a trade union or professional association?
Yes of course! I belong to the Hausa Directors Guild and am secretary of the state chapter of the Guild.
What exactly are the activities of this professional body covered?
We have achieved many successes through which we have ensured that our members are registered. And we give each member the insignia of the Guild to certify him as a member of the body. Overall, we have made a biometric registration of members accessible online. We also plan to undertake professional training for directors in conjunction with other professional bodies in other parts of the world. We consider it appropriate to invite our colleagues from other countries only to provide our target interns with qualitative readings and reference materials.
What are your main achievements in Kannywood so far?
I meet people from all walks of life and I have acquired a lot of skills. My name becomes a name known far and near. My life is full of success, although there are challenges that I have encountered while producing so many films, from the day I made my debut in the film industry. The first director I employed to do my bidding gave me a headache because he refused to show up early.
On the second day, he didn’t show up at all. That’s how I started to learn the technical know-how to become a director. The same problem prompted me to learn skills in film editing, as well as shooting films with a camera. Another chaotic situation that tormented me was the day I rented a house to shoot a movie; the owner of the house was a married woman who had wanted to set her eyes on an actor who appears in my film. Long story short, the wife’s husband caught his wife talking to a movie actor and so we were forced to stop filming in his house. And it took us a long time before we could find a hotel that could give us exactly what we needed.
The major challenge I encountered was an attempt to snatch a film that I was proud of; and even until today I have not taken it out. The movie is called Malukussaifi, and those who tried to snatch the film from me; hence we were taken to the security agency or simply I can say state CID. This is how the security personnel mediated the matter between us. The question is settled once and for all.
Have you ever been honored?
No, but I envision that one day I will be honored.
Who is your mentor in Kannywood?
I don’t have a mentor, but my colleagues in the industry have really helped me in many ways. And those worth mentioning are Hassan Mijinyawa, a film producer, who is also a business partner of our company. Also, people like Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino; Balarabe Murtala Bahru and late Umar Saidu Tudun Wada; Abdullahi Muhammad Nalako; Al-Mustapha Adam Muhammadu; Salisu Muazu Rijiyar Zaki; Farukk Sayyadi and Baba Williams, who is a childhood friend as well as a colleague in the industry.
What advice would you give to your colleagues on how to produce quality films?
I would advise that we continue to strive to ensure that our films reflect our cultural norms and values. It is necessary, since we are the representatives and ambassadors of our cultural norms. Also, we must work hard to develop our profession so that our films can become competitive on the international stage.