The Vice President, Actors Guild of Nigeria (North-West), Wash Waziri, has called on Kannywood actors and actresses to step up their game in 2020.
He also spoke on what the guild is doing to ensure more northern actors get Nollywood roles.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Mohammed Lere in Kaduna, Wash also said he was able to empower 250 young Nigerians in skills ranging from movie making, scriptwriting, video editing and cinematography.
PT: As a Kannywood stakeholder, what do you think is the major problem the industry faced in 2019?
Wash: Thank you very much PREMIUM TIMES for all the reportage you have been doing to keep Nigerians abreast of activities in the Kannywood movie industry.
Kannywood has recorded its own fair share of challenges and also successes in 2019.
One of the challenges we really suffered from is the issue of marketing our movies. It’s so painful that piracy is looking like it has come to stay. Many film producers are reluctant to make films because of low patronage.
It is cinema now and that is another thing that worries our fans. Many of them who patronise our movies do not have direct access to the cinema. So far, I think it is only in Kano where you have the Ado Bayero Mall, all other states do not enjoy that.
And again, money also is another problem. People are not willing to pay to enter the cinemas.
PT: What are you doing to find a lasting solution?
Wash: Yes, for the past two years, I personally engaged government officials especially in Kaduna and other parts of the country to discuss this issue and a way of finding solutions to it.
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What I personally realised is we really need government intervention and the only way we can do this is to engage the government. In the coming year, we will make it a regular thing. We will also make them (government) understand how their full involvement is going to be a source of revenue for them. With that, we will achieve what we aim at achieving.
PT: As the Vice President Actors Guild of Nigeria, what are your personal goals?
Wash: As a movie producer, promoter and active stakeholder, my main target is to provide the link between the actors and actresses in both the northern part and the Nollywood.
I want to see that we create a synergy that will make actors from the northern part get roles in Nollywood.
Sometimes you will see in Nollywood movies a security man, Musa, presumably to be a northerner is played by a non-northerner. I want a situation where we create that connection that when producers need one to play such a role, the real person is used. So also in Kannywood movies, when you need a Uche, you get Uche or Kemi and the rest.
PT: We learnt that your Label, Wash Production, has also introduced skills acquisition programmes for upcoming actors. Can you tell us about it?
Wash: Yes, I believe it is always good to give back to the people when you are blessed with something.
I have trained young boys and girls on how to be independent for themselves. First of all, I started by training them on film production skills ranging from movie script writing, to acting, camera work, voicing, graphics design and basics of video editing.
PT: How many have you trained so far?
Wash: This year, we have trained about 250 young people.
PT: Do you do this alone?
Wash: I have people I partner with in order to achieve what we are doing. I bring in professionals to train people and after everything, we even provide startup packages for them.
PT: How do you get funding for all this?
Wash: Sincerely, I am a hardworking personality. We do all this from what we are able to get and from also our partners who are supportive in terms of professionals.
PT: As stakeholder in the Kannywood movie industry, what would you say about the supremacy tussle between key players rocking the industry?
Wash: I can’t understand why we have to be carried away by the successes we have recorded. We are all together in the business and have built the industry together. We cannot come out now and destroy what we have laboured for in the name of who is Oga.
Some of us are carried away by fame and that is the problem.
PT: What do you think of Ali Nuhu and Adam Zango’s constant squabbles?
Wash: I will just call on everyone to respect one another and be team players.