My name is Sani Muazu. I’m a filmmaker with about 30 years experience. I was born and bred in Jos, where I did my primary and secondary education. I started presenting programmes on TV in the early 80s after my secondary school. I was one of the pioneer staffers of PRTV in Jos in 1982. I went to the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos, to study journalism where I did news reporting and advanced writing courses. I later shifted to programmes creation in 1986 and had to go to the University of Jos for Mass Communication in 1989/90. I did several other courses since then.
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 bedrock of Kannywood as TV producers using TV equipment started telling local stories that gave birth to Kannywood. A film titled Turmin Danya may have started the commercial sales of movies in Nigeria, but even as of then, Kano, Kaduna and Jos were the main production hubs and we had produced several English and Hausa films and series by then.
My colleagues and I initiated a Hausa Movie Series called Bakandamiya from Jos during which I was both a scriptwriter and a lead actor. I was also involved in the production; all that was 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. It was based in Jos. Several English series and movies such as Riddles and Hopes and Change were produced by us. I decided to leave Epitome and formed my own company in 1993/94. I brought a couple of friends and colleagues together and we formed Lenscope Media which was registered in 1995. All these happened before Kannywood or at the inception of Kannywood, and even Nollywood. So, I have been running Lenscope Media for 27 years ever since.
The film industry has a very wide scope; what is your area of expertise?
I have trained to be a film designer or arts director essentially, but working with various directors etched me as one. On the other hand, in as much as I tried to stay behind the camera, acting had always been part of me. I am a natural where role interpretation is concerned. So, I kept getting offers of roles to play till 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 Alfawa governor of Kwana 90 series film; how did you get the role?
As an actor, I was invited for auditions at Arewa 24 for the role of the governor in Kwana Casa’in and I came. I must have done well at the auditions because I got the role eventually. The rest is history.
Is there any part or verse in Kwana 90 that makes you laugh whenever you remember it?
Kwana Casa’in is a seriously engaging journey for me. I interpreted the role of the governor with so much seriousness that the audience seriously sees me as that. Yes, there are parts that are funny like when the governor was accosted at a ceremony but even that was interpreted with all the seriousness it deserved by me. It may have been funny to the audience.
What was the first film that you’ve directed?
It began from the early 80s to date, I had directed lots of TV films and series even before Kannywood. I have directed hundreds of films, series and documentary films so far. The last 13 episodes of drama I personally directed is Buka Africana that is presently running on Arewa 24. It is available on the Arewa 24 website.
How many films have you produced so far?
They are in hundreds. In fact, I have lost count.
What achievements have you recorded so far?
They are many. I had affected hundreds or even thousands of young people who today have joined the industry and see me as a role model. My studio had trained several who are gainfully employed and have given employment to others. As a leader in Kannywood; because I was once the National President of Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), which made me a father figure to Kannywood, I had organised training programs with the French Embassy, British Council, American Embassy, USAID and several other governmental and non-governmental organisations during which multitude of filmmakers from Kannywood were trained by experts. That is serious achievement by me as I contributed tremendously in raising the standards of film-making in Kannywood.
What are your challenges?
Challenges are a part of life. Nothing comes easy. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Some may like you, some may not, but we are able to take it in and move on. All praises be to Allah. We are still on our feet.
Do you belong to a union or association of professionals?
Yes, I belong to MOPPAN, the Directors Guild and the Actors Guild.
What is your goal in Kannywood?
My work is to see Kannywood grow from strength to strength, and to be reckoned with as one of the most active and most creative film hubs in Africa.
What do you anticipate for Kannywood for the next coming 10 years?
As I said before, l see Kannywood winning Oscars and getting the attention of the world by then.
What advice are you going to give to aspiring Kannywood?
Practitioners must be honest in their works. They must know that though filmmaking is business, there are passions that are worth more than making money. They must be ready and willing to make sacrifices like we did. They must get rid of mediocrity and aim for excellence. That is the only way they can grow, and grow the industry in the process.
What is your massage to your fans, loved ones and Kannywood industry?
The beginning is yet to come. We are just warming up for the race. Keep faith in us. We love you immensely.