The national president of MOPPAN, the Motion Picture Practitioner’s Association of Nigeria, Sani Muazu has recently posted on his blog a MOPPAN press release calling for the formation of an international film centre in Tiga, Kano State. The Press release seems to have been originally written in 2007.
In the third part of the press release, MOPPAN put forth several recommendations:
18.104.22.168 Infrastructure and Production Facilities
MOPPAN noted that few state-of-the-art equipment exist as part of the production facilities in the industry in the North. The cinema infrastructure among others, such as equipment and theatres have equally been abandoned to decay or converted to warehouses, banks, shopping malls and venues for religious worship, etc. The new phenomenon of the home video production therefore does not enjoy the communal conviviality which was the order of the day in the cinema era. In the same vein, production, distribution and exhibition facilities in the film industry are virtually non-existent.
Note must however be taken of the effort of private sector investors in Lagos, Port-Harcourt and recently Abuja by Silverbird and other stakeholders who are already financing a few standard film exhibition centres across some major cities of the country in an attempt to revive the film exhibition and cinema going culture. There are also a chain of video rental outlets and viewing centres in the urban centres and in some rural areas of the country, operating on the fringe. More of these structures and facilities are expected to be established in the North by these businesses and operated without recourse to northern cultural sensibilities.
MOPPAN therefore sees the need to go into, or encourage northern businessmen to go into the business of cinema as it should be in a predominantly Muslim environment. MOPPAN also recommends that Kano State Government, in its new policy thrust on Film Development through the establishment of a practitioners driven film centre in Tiga, Kano, should seek to collaborate with motion picture equipment and film stock manufacturers from different parts of the world for the establishment of factories or sales offices in the Kano, with adequate incentives to attract their participation.
MOPPAN observed that Kano, as the centre of Kannywood, is unarguably one of the highest producers of film titles in the Nigeria and Africa, with over one thousand video movies per annum. Film production encompasses several processes of transforming a story or subject matter from idea to a finished product. With the establishment of the Resource Centre, it is hoped that the above stated problems about motion picture production would be mitigated to the barest minimum.
In its view, MOPPAN believes the establishment of the International Film Resource Centre at Tiga in Kano, would bring all Guilds and Associations together under one umbrella at the centre and give them the capacity to address the problems of technical and content quality, format, standards, professionalism, aesthetic appeal and of course, finance are some of the challenges facing the industry today.
22.214.171.124 Distribution, Exhibition and Marketing
MOPPAN observed the absence of effective structure and efficient and organised distribution network in the North, despite Kano being one of the major distribution centres of Films in Nigeria and sub Saharan Africa generally. MOPPAN also noted that there is the lack of political will on the part of Kano State Government to consider its strategic positioning and make plans to explore and revitalize the sector.
MOPPAN recommends that Kano State Government should utilise the International Film Resource Centre at Tiga to facilitate an enabling environment to encourage public-private partnership to enhance an organised and efficient distribution and marketing network.
126.96.36.199 Training and Capacity Building
MOPPAN noted that it has become imperative for practitioners to possess a certain basic qualification that is recognised and acceptable by all stakeholders nationwide to bridge the yawning gap created by dearth of requisite skills in the industry.
Without training and capacity building therefore, it is difficult to maintain standards and ensure the regular supply of the needed manpower to feed the development needs of the industry.
MOPPAN recommends that the International Film Resource Centre Tiga, Kano should host a film school to be known as TIGA INTERNATIONAL FILM CENTRE, KANO to be affiliated to either Bayero University Kano or Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. The school can work with other similar training institutions around the world to professionalise the industry. The Centre would also work with and encourage the Government-owned National Film Institute and the NTA Television College in Jos and other training institutions and initiatives by stakeholders to function adequately and provide the services needed in this sub-sector.
188.8.131.52 Funding and Financing
Modern filmmaking is business, big business. It is pertinent to note that all films, whether Government-sponsored or funded by corporations or individuals incur expenses in anticipation of expected returns. MOPPAN observed the absence of institutional funding, grants and endowment which has hampered the delivery power of the Northern Nigerian filmmaker.
MOPPAN strongly recommends the establishment of a Film Development Fund in Kano for the Northern motion picture industry in collaboration with other Northern Governors that are major stakeholders and beneficiaries.
184.108.40.206 Legal Environment
MOPPAN observed that the Government has been making relevant and necessary efforts towards creating an enabling and enduring legal environment to stimulate the desired moral growth and development in the industry. The Kano Censors Board is however a source of concern to stakeholders and the law establishing the board is obviously done in a hurry.
MOPPAN recommends that the Kano State Government should liaise with the National Film and Video Censors Board to harmonise and regularise its reforms until the motion picture industry is firmly put on a sound footing of focussed growth and development. The International Film Resource Centre would also maintain a standard legal office to continuously study and update its policies with regards to culture, tourism and growth without constituting itself as a nuisance and national/international embarrassment.
From the foregoing, MOPPAN therefore recommends the establishment of an International Film Resource Centre, to be known as THE AFRICA INTERNATIONAL FILM RESOURCE CENTRE TIGA, KANO at the present place of the ROCK CASTLE HOTEL to, when fully established, serve as THE CENTRE that would seek to intervene through its registered and affiliated Guilds and Associations in all aspects of motion picture production in Northern Nigeria and give KANNYWOOD a true identity and KANO STATE its position of pride as the third leg of film production in Nigeria.
To read the entire press release, see Sani Mu’azu’s blog here.