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Our Man in Nigeria: Day 1

by Bart Weiss 2 Aug 2010 11:26 AM

Guest blogger Bart Weiss reports on Day 1 of his trip to Nigeria as part of the American Documentary Showcase.


Guest blogger Bart Weiss is director of the Video Association of Dallas and VideoFest. He will be blogging from his trip to Nigeria as part of the American Documentary Showcase. You can read his previous post here.

Kim Snyder and I arrived in Kano, Nigeria, late Saturday night. Kano is in the north part of the country, is mostly Muslim and is ruled by sharia law.

Today was supposed to be a day off to acclimate, but we were asked to have a meeting with filmmakers from Kano – which was great (and in a Chinese restaurant).  We started by hearing about what kind of production was going on and learning about Kanowood, a kind of sister to the Nollywood films elsewhere in Nigeria. These films all have some sort of music, but they are not called musicals – here, a musical is a music video with added interviews. We also talked about how all the films that can get DVD distribution need to pass through a Muslim censure board.  Since there are no traditional commercial theaters, this means that if you don’t get passed by the board, your film cannot get seen.  The discussion around the table was quite lively.

We then had some free time and went to a market to look at some fabric – all magnificent, brilliant colors and textures.
We then had a 50 minute radio interview (right) at Freedom Radio Kano, a very popular station here. We talked about what we hoped to accomplish this week, which is a lot.
Our hosts here have been working their tails off getting ready for us to do many workshops and screenings. Victoria Sloan, the cultural affairs officer who leads the many folks who put this together, said it was quite an undertaking to get all the screenings and parties together to make this happen. Tomorrow, when is really starts, we will see if it is worth while.