INTERVIEW: How I got SSS approval for film depicting Boko Haram atrocities – Producer

Kannywood star, Zaharadden Sani has finally gotten the nod of the National Film and Video Censors Board and the State Security Service to go ahead with the production of his forthcoming movie project titled Abu Hassan.

Set in the north, the movie, a first of its kind in Nigeria, explores the intricacies behind the activities of a dreaded terror group which unleashes so much havoc in a state before being confronted and defeated by the military.

PREMIUM TIMES had a chat with the filmmaker cum actor in Abuja recently where he spoke about the movie in detail.

PT: What informed your decision to produce a movie based on the activities of a dreaded terror sect?

Zaharadden: I am passionate about Nigeria and my intent was purely for the good of my people. I want the movie to serve as an awareness message to the people. I go to sleep every day thinking about all the damages and havoc that Boko Haram has caused Nigeria and Nigerians. I think the only way I can show this to the people who are unaware of their activities is to show it in form of a movie.

PT: At some point, we learnt the Censors Board would not approve the movie owing to its sensitive nature.

Zaharadden: Like I have said earlier, this is a film that has never been done in the Kannywood. The costumes we used in the film became a source of concern for the censors’ board. They said they actually looked like those worn by terrorists and could spell danger. They also complained about the military uniforms and guns we used. We were also invited by the SSS to defend our motive for the film. They also watched the film before they finally approved it.

PT: Were you intimidated at some point or do you regret producing this kind of film?

Zaharadden :I was not intimidated by any of them because my intentions were very clear from the outset. They did ask me if I was not scared that some people could feel aggrieved by what I was trying to portray in the movie. I told the censors’ board and the SSS that I am only doing this as an actor and that there is nothing more than that.

PT: What is the film really about?

Zaharadden: It is a film about a bad group leader called Abu Hassan who kidnapped girls and asked for ransom before he released them. He terrorised the community and nobody dared say anything about it. The state had to fight him and rescue these girls. He was at some point very brutal towards the army. This is all I can tell you for now.

PT: What motivated you to do this film?

Zaharadden : I watched movies which told the stories behind the fall of Sadam Hussein of Iraq, Gaddafi, Osama bin Laden and others. I guess I was motivated by these stories to tell mine.

PT: How did you get all the guns and the military props you used in the movie?

Zaharadden : Normally you apply to the appropriate authorities as a filmmaker and they are given to you for your projects.

PT: What about the army uniforms you used?

Zaharadden : We are not given army uniforms so we had to sew ours for the sake of the movie.

PT: What response did you get from your colleagues about the film when the trailer came out?

Zaharadden : Many applauded my courage to go this mile and produce such a film. They say the film is truly worth it.

PT: When will the movie be released?

Zaharadden : The film will be released in April because we are currently in the post-production phase. I will send a complimentary copy to Premium Times.


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