Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Nasir Gwangwazo: screenwriter

Nasir Gwangwazo, screenwriter Waraka and Rubutacciya—which are on HIV. Among his other credits are films like like Sarmadan, Sanafahna and the upcoming Kambun So (which from the trailor looks like a historical epic). When I asked him if he had written any novels, he said he has been working on one, but there is more wahalla in a book than there is in a screen play, because with a screenplay the diretor has imput, the producer has imput, etc, but for a book, it's the sole responsibility of the writer. So, writing for film, therefore, seems to be a more collaborative and communal process.


Dan Fulani said...


The fact that one of the professionally trained (?) screenwriters was featured on this blog page claiming that 'writing a book is more ardous than screenwriting' is an interesting contradiction that can bemuse even a lay person. But before we jump into conclusion, we should ask the said professional writer (?)how did he get his fact or rather how did the owner of the blog get to accept the said facts and even post it on her blog for the consequent reading by national as well as international audiance/readers. Even though what i read some couple of days ago on the same blog site is not what i saw today, i am tempted to ask wether some curious readers like me have already ask same question. Like his been 'the best screenwtiter' and the likes.

Who is Nasiru Gwangwazo ?
From the available information we got from this blog, he has written so many screenplays and even won an award with some, but does that qualifies him to be an authority on the subject in question or to claim to know what he is claiming? But one information that the blog owner failed to either deliberately or by accident supply her teeming readers with is how did he qualify to become a screenwriter?

As part of our training, we view films and analyse them (screening) and one of the films he won the said awards with ,like 'Waraqa'. was brought into our training hall as part of a specie to work on. And to my utter dismay, I couldn't see why the film could get an award and luckily enough our lecturer is the Secretary General of MOPPAN, the body who gave out that award and we asked him; "how did the film get awarded?" and his response I quote; "It is because there is no better film, or there is no well written film to grab the award." This clearly shows that like a Hausa man says; "DA BABU GWANDA BA DADI". If Waraqa and other award winning screenplays that he won could be aired without volume,will the audiance get to know what the film is all about?

From the information available to us and to any keen observer of the progress or otherwise that turns him into a screenwriter (Reel Dialogues Project)Nasir was among the first 20 participants that have the opportunity of going through the first training in screenwriting whose end assesment paved way for choosing those that scaled through the second round of workshops. In all, 10 out of the 20 participants were meritoriously choosing to undergo the next phase of the project, then five were dropped and the remaining five undergone another training (Masterclass Training in Screenwriting)and the said screenwriter was among the first ten to be disqualified in the first round of the project! Going by the aforementioned, the said screenwriter has limited knowledge on screenwriting, hence he cannot pass a verdict on wether screenwriting is more ardous than novel writing or vice-versa.

These writers have nothing bad against Nasir, but have everything bad against his conclusion on the ardousness or ortherwise of screenwriting and novel writing.

One film is said to worth more than a million words and for one that will write something that worth more than a million words screenwriting is utterly sensitive and very challenging.

I think the best person to answer your questions are some of the Reel Dialogues participants who have screenplays as wel as books to their credits.

Talatu-Carmen said...

Dan Fulani,

Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate getting immediate feedback from people here in Kano, who know more about these things than I do. As I have mentioned elsewhere in the blog, this forum is not meant to be a factual or objective representation of Hausa film, but instead an informal workbook of my observations and interests while I am here in Kano. Your comments definitely help me in my own research and thinking through things that I am observing. Thank you.

My post on Nasir Gwangwazo was quickly written in about two minutes, after having had my post disappear twice when the internet connection failed while I was uploading it. I agree with you that it is not a very complete, precise, or thoughtful post—but more of something I posted for the sake of posting.

With that in mind, however, I certainly do not want to claim, and I’m sure that Nasir himself would not claim—-I certainly don’t want to place words in his mouth--, that Nasir Gwangwazo is the “best” Hausa screenwriter and the authority on writing novels in conjunction with writing filmplays. As is my practice, I was just reporting on recent conversations; Nasir Gwangwazo was one of the first people I met here in Kano, and he has been quite helpful to me since I arrived. My point in writing a post on him was not to imply that he is the only or best or only screenwriter in Kano (although several of his films like Sarmadan and Sahnafahna seem to be very popular—the people in my house watch Sahnafahna on average about two or three times a week), and I certainly hope to post other conversations I have with other filmmakers during my time here. Indeed, Nasir has suggested the names of other screenwriters and novelists like Maje El-Hajeej, that I should interview if I am interested in the conjunction between the two. I merely repeated his statement about novel writing being more challenging for him than screenplays, as one of my own points of interest. It was not the main subject of our conversation, and it certainly should not be read as a “fact” or that I am somehow quoting him as an “authority” on the subject. That said, the statement does not seem terribly controversial to me. Part of the reason I was reflecting on it was because it coincided with my own brief dabbling into theatre writing as an undergraduate student. I found the staged reading of my one act play exhilarating because the director and the actors added so much to the interpretation of it—there were many contributions to the artistry of the project—not just my own. That said, organizations like the Association of Nigerian Authors and the yahoo Hausa film and writers groups also provide forums where the experience of writing a novel, too, is quite far from the “lonely genius” idea.

I hope I have made it clear that the post was not intended to be an authoritative position but merely my own selective observations and reflections.

Finally, I’d like to respond to your implication that one must somehow be a “trained” screenwriter to have any kind of voice. What do you mean by this? Certainly training is useful, but in my own opinion, it is only one factor in the artistry. And there have been plenty of great writers who have not received “formal training.” If, as you claim—and I am a little bit uncomfortable discussing someone else’s personal achievements on a blog; (it doesn’t seem very polite or appropriate)--, Nasir Gwangwazo was among twenty screenwriters chosen for the initial Reel Dialogues training, this seems to me to be an honour and a tribute to his talents, even if he did not continue on into the final 10. I have been short-listed for enough awards that I later got a year or two later (after applying again) to know that the short list is an indication of promise not of failure.

As for the awards, winning an award is, of course, a very subjective experience, and says more about how the film fit in with the agenda of the awarding agency than the actual merit of the film--although usually films that win awards have features that warrent recognition. I find it somewhat ironic that the censorship board gives out awards—this could be read on many different levels. So, yes, I probably threw out the words “award-winning” a bit too flippantly. It’s what happens when you write and publish a post quickly; thanks for upping the ante on what started out as a blog to keep my friends posted on what I’m doing. If my blog is now being found in google searches, I need to make sure I’m a bit more rigorous with what I post.

Square Media Arts said...

I see the comment of dan fulani. It seems that he don't actually know what happened with Nasir S. Gwangwazo regarding the matter of Reel Dialogues' project.

Nasir, was not among the first 10 particepants who disqulified or failed. He particepated in the second round. But unfortunately, his script was not submitted to the panel of the judges to pass through the last round. So, he was out of the race not because he was disquelified or his script failed to pass through, but because either the coordinator of the project or someone else failed to submit his script before the jugdes' panel.

Moreover, dan fulani might not be aware that, Gwangwazo, was among the 5 successful trained producers, who produced one of the 5 final scripts of the Reel Dialogues' tittled 'JOKER'.