‘Make Room’ was shot in Hausa and has Kannywood A-list actors like Yakubu Muhammad, Suji Jos, Sadi Sawaba, Usman Uzee, and Asabe Madaki among others.
The film was on 17-year-old Salma (Asabe Madaki) who was the only child of her parents.
Salma is an advocate of the girl child education, very focused, determined but acted without thinking of the consequences.
Her dreams were shattered when insurgents kidnapped her and she had to go through harrowing experiences that totally changed her life.
Featuring about 3000 day actors, 100 cast and 100 production crew, the film has plots and sub-plots of activities of insurgents in North eastern Nigeria.
The film that was shot in about 50 days at Ijebu-Miango of Bassa Local government in Plateau State with an estimated budget of N300 million.
The Executive producer of the film, Rogers Ofime said that the film is targeting the Oscars in three categories – Best Short Film, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress in a Leading Role as a result of exceptional role the lead character Asabe Madaki played in the film.
Rogers Ofime who produced blockbuster films like ‘Oloibiri,’ and some Nigerian soap operas, like ‘Tinsel’ and ‘The Johnson’ said ‘Make Room’ was the most difficult film he has ever produced.
He said, “You never know what you are capable of until you are faced with a situation you know you can’t handle. We had high hopes of making a great movie, we had high hopes of good financial support, I even danced the day we sealed the deal but a week to principal filming, our investors pulled out.
“I was really worried and so scared because we had signed contracts with crew from America, South Africa, Nigeria and other countries.”
The producer who won Best Foreign Film Award, 2016 at San Diego Black Film Festival, said, “Do we back out? No way! We won’t let an investor stop our dreams and vision of creating a project that has the potentials of reaching the world. We decided to move on with our five loaves and two fishes- this really is the miracle that saw us through the project.”
The 44-year-old who started filmmaking in 2001 with South Africa-based Film Company, Sky Sweeper Films added that the location of the film made him learn to never let any man stop him from getting to the finished line.
Madaki said the film made her appreciate the pain of others even though some of the most challenges were playing Salma was behaving as a teenage when she isn’t one and also acting out painful experiences people actually went through.
The Madaki who was the lead character of Kannywood film ‘Sarauniya’ said that her most difficult scenes were the scenes of how she was beaten and raped by the insurgents and when she gave birth in a difficult situation.
“Living in that situation was quite challenging because it was traumatic. The scene of how I was beaten and raped was traumatic and difficult. The scene of how I gave birth also was difficult, because I have never done that in my life.”
Abba Ali Zaki who played the role of Bulus said that Bulus was a young welder man from Maiduguri who had lost his parents and was living on his own before he was kidnapped by the insurgents. The incidence turned his life inside-out.
His best scene was his clash with their commander in the insurgents’ camp when he fought them from taking his wife. “I like the scene because of my bravery considering all the insurgents were afraid of me.”
His hardest scene was fleeing from the insurgents knowing that his flight had led to an order for his head by the commander. “I ran and ran and ran and remember during that scene I was fasting. It was difficult and hard for me,” he said.
Jamila Yahaya Ibrahim, who played the role of Umma – a young girl, who had a brother as her only family said her best scene was when, she was crying when Salma came to her holding the picture of her brother, saying he is young and lonely and doesn’t how to look after himself.
“But my hardest scene was when I helped Salma deliver her baby. It was hard for me, it was something I have never done before.”
Jamila, an upcoming 24-year-old actress, said the movie is talking about peace and how to eschew violence.
She said the location was beautiful and matches with the story and the setting was perfect, but the challenges she had faced while onset was putting herself into character as Umma.
“I was trying to play her role which was difficult and challenging, I understand Hausa but I am not Hausa. I am Gbagyi. There were some lines in Hausa that I wasn’t able to deliver.”
Abubakar Maina, who played the character of Lamido and was kidnapped by the insurgents as a teenager, said his most difficult scene was when he was forced to plant a bomb in the market.
“We spent a whole day taking different shots for both scenes. The scenes were to educate people that some of the insurgents were forced to do some terrible things without their consent,” he said