In Kannywood, Hamisu Lamido Iyantama is King
If you are in Kannywood, as the Kano-based motion picture industry is simply called, and you want to see the busy actor, scriptwriter and producer, Hamisu Lamido Iyantama easily, then don’t mention his full names. Just ask to see ‘Iyantama’ and fingers would point to the tall and well-built motion picture practitioner of immense credit, who is clearly one of the pioneers of the industry.
Hamisu is a recognisable face in the movie industry in northern Nigeria. He is popular and ranks top on the list of veterans of Kannywood who have carved a niche for themselves.
Born in Kano in the mid 60s, Hamisu, who had his early education at Dantata Memorial Primary School in Kano, revealled that acting came to him naturally and it was during the period of his early education that he caught the bug.
He said: “I will say that I was born an actor, because right from my primary school days, I always featured in plays organised during festivities and also did a lot of singing and dancing.
“But there were basically stage performances that attracted a lot of people. So, I grew up acting and my teachers would always tell me that I am a natural actor.”
A self-made actor, who combines acting with scripting and superintending productions, Hamisu grew up with a healthy appetite for watching movies and wanting to be part of any project or scheme that would promote and uplift the Hausa language, tradition and the totality of the way of life of the Hausa people. And he later found Kannywood a veritable ground to further his passion.
“So, in 1995, I was invited to feature in a movie, Bakandan Mai Rikicin Duniya, where I learnt a lot. It also opened my eyes to the vast opportunities in Kannywood.
“It was from there that I was motivated to venture into scripting and producing movies,” he recalled.
The production force behind hit Kannywood movies, such as Uwar Bari, Wuta a Maseka, Hakki, Yanci and Wayar Hannu, Hamisu owns and runs Iyan-Tama Multimedia, regarded as one of the frontline movie production outfits in Northern Nigeria.
The company is reputed for pioneering the use of ‘piano for soundtracks’ in Kannywood productions.
“We became the first filmmaking company in Kano to use piano music, which is now everywhere in our films. We started that after I set up the company with equipments I sourced from Lagos and Dubai.
“We registered the company in 1997 and since then, we have produced so many movies and have thrown up so many talents, including directors and producers,” he said.
Author of a book on movie production, titled Sirin FIlm A Saukake (Secrets of Film made Easy), Hamisu, who at a time dabbled into politics and indeed contested for the governorship on the ticket of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the 2007 general elections, does not regret joining the turf, saying it has provided him the opportunity to live his dreams.
“This is what I wanted to do from when I was a child and am loving every minute, second and day of it. It has been awesome. I am happy in it and would remain in it. I will keep making films. In fact, I plan to produce about 10 movies this year,” he enthused.
Warm, jovial and interesting personality, Hamisu said he is easily attracted to intelligent, progressive, honest, God-fearing people and those who would guide him on the right part unreservedly.
“I love collaboration a lot and I have enjoyed working with people that will impact on me positively. I enjoyed working and still enjoy working with supportive people, such as Bashir Mudi and then Hafizu Bello, who directed all my new movies, about seven in all. Hafizu is good. He is a trained filmmaker and has directed so many blockbusters.
“There are others that I have enjoyed working with that space will not allow me to mention,” he said.
Asked his career ambition, Hamisu stated one of his goals is to ensure that the offerings of Kannywood compete favourably with the offerings of other industries.
He also pledged his commitment to contribute his quota to the development of Kannywood and by extension, the Nigerian movie industry.
“I want to be recorded in history as one of those that has contributed to the growth and development of Kannywood. I want to contribute to the improvement of the storyline of our movies and also to be more involved in the marketing and distribution of our movies.
“I want to be a big player in the return to cinema. So, we at Iyan-Tama Multimedia, are targeting the cinema and market, not just here in the north, but in countries like Chad, Niger and Cameroun.
“We should be able to get our movies to different parts of the world. We make good movies and we have talents in our industry. We should be able to play in the world market,” Hamisu stated.
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