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5 Minutes With Abba T Makama

Abba T. Makama, the founder of Osiris, is a creative icon that constructs magical ideas for digital and traditional media. His affinity for art and filmmaking has made him a top notch in the movie industry. He has worked in various capacities with brands like Google, Hennessey, Blackberry and production houses like MTV Base, Chanel O, 37thstate, and IBST. His creativity isn’t restricted or limited to the film industry, he is also an artist.

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Hello Abba, introduce yourself?

My name is Abba TadurikiniMakama. I’m filmmaker, visual artist and creative director of OSIRIS. Osiris is company that creates magically concepts and strategies for digital and traditional media.  I’m the third son of Samu’ila& Julie Makama. I was born and raised in Jos Plateau State.

What inspired your passion for film making?

I’ve always been a storyteller. Filmmaking is one of the mediums I use, but as far as I can remember I also loved telling stories, drawing comic books. My Dad recently told me I once did a drawing in nursery school the school wanted to publish it as book.  I definitely get my creativity from Mom who is a horticulturalist and farmer. It wasn’t till I moved to the US for school that the passion ignited. I was studying business management at SUNY Fredonia Up State New York and I would always find myself hanging out with the Art students. When I moved off campus my roommate was studying film and that’s how the bug bit me.  I remember re-watching Reservoir Dogs in 2004 and I was intrigued about how majority of the film took place in one space (a garage), and every minute of the picture was still so engaging, that blew my mind. I began to understand the power of storytelling in film.

Can you briefly explain the genre of movies you produce?

It varies. I’ve been making a lot of satire over the past couple of years. Satire comes easy for me considering how enigmatic Nigeria is, there’s so much juxtaposition. You walk out of a mansion and right in front of the gate there’s someone selling agege bread to the gate man.  So much suffering and smiling, as Fela would say. Beyond satire I also love surrealism, most of my early work are inspired by dreams. I’m fascinated with dreams.

You are known to be an international creative and globally known for your short movies, apart from film making what other art related activities do you engage in.

If I’m not behind the camera I’m either writing or painting. Painting is very therapeutic for me because I don’t hold back anything its pure uncensored creative energy.

What is your biggest achievement so far in the movie industry?

My biggest achievement as a filmmaker is the NOLLYWOOD Al Jazeera documentary I directed in 2014, which aired worldwide in 2015.  The fact that people within the industry called me to tell how much they enjoyed it and how objective it was, was a good feeling. I did my best to tell the story of Nollywood from an evolutionary context as opposed to the one-dimensional view the developed world has of Nollywood, the “ shoot in one day and straight video Nollywood.“

How has the journey been so far, working with numerous brands directing commercials, digital marketing skits and documentaries for companies like Google, Blackberry, GTBank Nigerian Breweries?

It’s been very challenging but I find it exciting working out of my comfort zone.  Working with brands you have to be patient and you learn how to think collectively because you are creating something on behalf of a product that is consumed by millions of people. I also enjoy working with brands that aren’t afraid to do something experimental. Last year we produced some interactive comedy skits for Nigerian Breweries, which was completely out of the box. They gave us a lot of creative freedom; I love when that happens

Why did you choose to stick to short movies and skits, does it serve its purpose by passing across the intended message effectively in a limited time?

If I had my way I would make a feature-length film every year like Woody Allen does. Shorts are just my way of still staying active and creative through the medium of film I love so much.

You recently held the Hypnagogia Exhibition, what was your muse and your expectations after the exhibition?

As the name implies “Hypnagogia”, which is a transitional state between sleeping and waking were people experience strange sounds and imagery.  These are called hypnagogic hallucinations, which a lot of people experience but probably think is something supernatural. Relax, it’s all in your mind and it’s a common phenomenon. I’ve experience it quite a bit and this exhibitions is my way of demystifying it. There’s nothing sinister about the experience.

What can you say about the Nigerian movie industry?

Watch my documentary titled NOLLYWOOD, you can find it on Al Jazeera’s YouTube channel. The industry is in a perpetual state of evolution it can only get better!

Do you have any message for the young Nigerian creatives?

DO YOU! NO HERD MENTALITY!

What should your audience expect from you as Ventures Africa listed you as one of the 15 African creatives to watch for in 2016?

GREEN WHITE GREEN is coming soon the second quarter of this year. I’m currently braining storming my next exhibition, which might be inspired by traditional Nigerian Masquerades or African Dictators. May the force be with you all!

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Abba Makama


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