Nigeria: 'Hausa Movie Market Still Untapped'

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Hassan Giggs is a famous producer/director who has been around in the Hausa movie industry for the past 15 years. Giggs, who has so far directed over 30 Hausa movies, bares his mind on the achievement of the industry and many more. 

Q: Tell us briefly about yourself. 

My name is Hassan Giggs. I am a film maker and cinematographer. I was formally known as Taiye Giggs because I came from a Christian background. I converted to Islam in 2004. It has not been easy, because I have faced a lot of problems from my family, but all thanks be to Allah (SWT) for making me accept Islam. 

Q: How did you get into the Hausa movie industry? 

I have been in the film industry for the past 15 years. I started from photography (Director of Photography/editing) before developing interest in cinematography. This led me to develop a good relationship with the famous director in the industry late Tijjani Ibrahim. Through my relationship with the late director, I learnt the ropes of the art of editing; I later rose to become an assistant director. Similarly, this new elevation increased my contact with eminent personalities in the Hausa movie industry. I started working alongside people like Ishaq Sidi Ishaq and many other big shots. Being in constant contact with the profession and the zeal to make a living out of it made me to enroll in some courses on cinematography in Lagos. I also used to attend yearly staged cinematography program called Shoot. As a matter of fact, I have attended a lot of courses on issues related to movie production, all in an attempt to develop my skills and to acquire the most modern techniques in cinematography possible. 

Q: Why director?

Why not an actor or a script writer?  You see, I was addicted to watching movies, especially the Hausa movies, before I became a director. As it is with every viewer, it is very easy to notice a flaw here and there in a movie. So, I said to myself 'if you could pinpoint such mistakes, why not join the industry and make the difference needed? If you can't play the game you can't curse the game.' 

Movies are make-believe arrangement that needs creativity, focus and determination; same goes for directing a movie. One needs to have the capability to move forward, the ability to bring in new innovations. As a director, you need to have the ability to create a meaning out of a vague idea, in other words, make a meaningless issue meaningful. When my mentors told me that 'Hassan you can do it as a director', I didn't believe them initially, but when I gave it a trial in a Hausa movie called Alkuki, it became a success. Though it is not easy to be a movie director, I am glad that I am one today. 

Q: How many movies have you directed so far? 

I have directed over 30 movies and some music videos so far. 

Q: How would you rate the Hausa movie industry in the last 15 years? 

Indeed to me there is a huge success in the Hausa movie industry, most especially in the technical and quality of the movie industry. In terms of broadening the concept of the movie industry, I can say we have a lot to do. Like I have said the business communities are not fully engaged in the system and this is negatively affecting the success of the industry. The Hausa movie industry has so many potentials still untapped. 

Q: You were recently on set for your new movie Macijiya. What makes it different from other movies you have been directing? 

Yes, this is going to be a unique movie that will showcase special effects; it is going to be the first of its kind in the Kannywood industry. We have to believe that the industry is undergoing a revolutionary change; and conformity to these changes is what will ensure the sustainability and growth of the industry.

Q: What challenges are you facing as a director? 

There is a need for the business community to get involved. If you compare the pattern and the trend followed by other movie industries, you will find out that it is only in the Hausa movie industry that you find a director being the producer of the film he is directing, or an actor serving at the same time as the director or producer of the movie he is staring in. This is not the same with other movie industries where the government and the business community are fully involved in the industry and professionalism is given priority. 

Q: How is it like to produce a movie? 

Producing a movie is quite different from producing a qualitative movie, a standard movie requires a huge amount financial outlay. This cannot be achieved by an actor cum producer or director. Look at Nollywood for instance. It is a known fact that some state governments do a lot to develop the industry through movie sponsorship, and because of that, Nollywood has gone far. Some religious groups are also at the forefront of giving sponsorship to the movie industry for the propagation of their faith. So, if the business community and other bodies will wade in, the Hausa film industry will be better off than what it is today.