Film production: Why we target secondary school leavers – NOUN

NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Abdalla Uba Adamu

The new degree programme in film production introduced by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) would be best suited to the young secondary school leavers than the professionals currently in the industry, Vice-Chancellor, Abdalla Uba Adamu, has said.

Mr. Adamu, a professor, said the programme, recently approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC), aims to stem the present trend of film production that depicts Western culture, while relegating the local cultures and values.

In an interview with the Hausa service of the Voice of America (VOA) recently, the Vice-Chancellor also attributed the reasons both Nollywood and Kannywood movies continue to lag behind in global considerations, the reasons of which the degree programme intends to address.

While answering a question on the motivating factor behind the floating of the programme, Mr. Adamu said, “What motivated us is that there was a time when we were travelling all over the globe to hear about Hausa films. To be honest, most audiences don’t regard our films positively.

“There was a conference organised by the University of Illinois, in America. At that conference, they suggested that there should never be a name like Nollywood or Kannywood and that any film that comes out from Africa should be called Nollywood. I raised my hand and disagreed. I told them that in the northern part of Nigeria we produce our distinct movies that have nothing to do with Nollywood.

“So if we agree that we are part of Nollywood, it means that we have been assimilated: all our culture, values, religions and traditions have no place to be seen. That is what scared me with regards to the status of our Hausa films. Anywhere you go and talk about Hausa movies, they would flay the quality of the movies.”

Mr. Adamu said at many instances, university lecturers teaching Hausa language in Europe encountered the challenge of persuading their students of Hausa films’ originality, which they find un-applicable to the real culture of the tribe.

“In Iran, there is a university where Hausa is also being taught; maybe because they are Shi’ites, they wanted to understand the language more. Even there, Hausa movies were flayed and discountenanced. These were some of the things that led to the rejection of our films but here around Kofar Wambai and Bata markets in Kano, we would sit and shower praises on the movies.

“That is why we say we have to start approaching these things through the prism of education. We asked ourselves how to do that and we thought we had to start teaching these professionals the salient things needed that could qualify our films for festivals around the world. That was the motivating factor.”

Mr. Adamu, a professor of cultural communication and media studies, explained why NOUN envisions having more interested applicants from amongst youth than the professional adults.

“On our part, we have made public the criteria/requirement for enrolment. But, as I said, our thinking is that a junior secondary school student, going into senior level is our target. First of all, our university needs no JAMB, which means you don’t have to sit again for Post-UTME.

“Those who tried many times without getting admission, instead of them to give up, let them come and do film production, because that in itself is another profession which we believe in, we also believe that it is the mirror for our culture.

“How can we take Indian films and become excited about them? Why can’t we do the same, take our films to India and make them excited about our cultures, in such a way that they too would be copying our films? We have good storylines, too.”

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