Saturday, January 11, 2014

Usman Uzee Explains Kannywood And Why He Bought John Okafor, Nkem Owoh Along With Him


Kannywood film producer, Usman Uzee, is a unique figure in the industry at the moment based on his penchant for movies that bring Kannywood and Nollywood together.
Usman started as a makeup artist in the Nollywood movie industry in Lagos but became a full time movie producer after joining Kannywood. In 2013, he produced, Oga Abuja, which featured stars from Nollywood and Kannywood, such as John Okafor and Rabilu Musa.
Here are excerpts from a recent interview with premium times
Which was your first Kannywood movie?
Wata Shari’a was my first ever but it was not released early. In fact, I just released it 3 weeks ago (in December). The film features Jim Iyke, Sani Danja and Yakubu Mohammed.Wata Shariar
How would you rate the Kannywood film Marketing?
Actually, at first, I thought there wasn’t much money in the Kannywood film industry, but when I started I realised it was not like that. My film, Oga Abuja, sold more than 1 million copies and is still selling even at the moment. So, it is a big market, I tell you.
What other movies have you produced apart from the two you have mentioned?
Maifarin Jini and Maja are also from the stables of Uzee Concept. Maja would hopefully be released on January 31. It stars Nkem Owoh (Osuofia) opposite Rabilu Musa (Ibro). It is a highly anticipated movie. People in both Nollywood and Kannywood want to see Nkem speak Hausa, and he did just that in the movie. Fans would be surprised when I finally release the movie.MAJAA 3 copy
Which among your movies do you like the most?
I like all my films because they are good films. I don’t play when producing my movies so all are my favorite.
How will you compare Kannywood to Nollywood, especially in terms of salaries?
For now, in one, the movies are in Hausa and in the other, in English; for me that is just the basic difference. When you talk about money, I can categorically tell you that (producers) pay based on the way they have developed and their strength financially. At the end, everybody is happy. One thing I know is that I pay my actors very well.
Do you also sell your movies in Lagos/the south?
Yes. Because of the collaborations many people want to see their actors in the movies even though it is in Hausa. But when we translate the movies, fans buy them and watch them.
What do you think needs to be done to improve the Kannywood movie industry?
Kannywood should schedule training classes for actors and actresses so they can get professional training for their roles; that would be a major step forward for the industry. Most actors are working based on talent, without professionalism.
Apart from the award you won when you were a makeup artist, which other ones have you won since you became a producer?
I won Best Indigenous Movie at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in 2013 for Oga Abuja; best producer at the PAMSAA Award also in 2013, for the same movie as well as City People Magazine Award for Best Film (North).

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