Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nollywood humbled as Congo, South Africa rule at the African Movie Academy Awards

Nollywood producers and stars  will not forget in a hurry the shock and trauma they incurred last Sunday when they watched  their counterparts  from Congo and South Africa  sweep    all the prizes  at  the 2011  African Movie Academy Awards(AMAA).

Congo and South Africa won multiple awards in various categories to humble Nigeria. The country failed to consolidate on her leading  position as  far as  film making is concerned in Africa.

Against the previous record set by Kunle Afolayan’s “Figurine”, which won five awards during last year’s edition to put the nation on top, Nollywood  lagged behind this year, winning only on two competitive categories in Best Sound and Best Costume awards with “Inale” directed by Jeta Amata and Niji Akanji’s film “Aramotu.”

The  third prize won also by  “Aramotu” in Best Nigerian film category was an endowed prize by the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The Congolese film “Viva Riva”emerged the best film, winning six out of the seven categories in which it was nominated to set a new record in Africa.

The prizes won includes; Best Film, Best Actress In Supporting Role (Marlene Longage), Best Actor In Supporting Role (Hoji Fortuna), Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Director (Congo’s Djo Tunda Wa Munga).

“Viva Riva”, according to the producer, is the first film made in Congo’s native Ngala Language in twenty years and it took the crew five years of hard work to complete.

Another film from Congo, “After the Mine” also won the Best Short Documentary, making it seven awards in all for Congo.

In addition,  South Africa also trail Congo by winning in six categories. The South African film, “Shirley Adams” won the highly coveted Special Jury Awards. Other films from South Africa which won in different categories are: “A Small Town Called Descent, “Best Visual Effects”, “Shirley Adams”, AMAA Achievement in Sound, “Izulu Lami”, Best Film in African Language and Best Child Actor, “Hopeville”, Best Actor in Leading Role.

Ghanaian film, “Sinking Sounds”, which starred the Haitian born Hollywood actor, Jimmy Jean Louis also won many awards such as: Best Make up, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress in Leading Role.

Kenya only won in one category,  Best Editing with the film “Soul Boy” by Ng’ethe Gitungo.

Speaking before the awards night, Steve Ayorinde, representing the jurists, noted that this year’s AMAA was truly representative of the very best in the continent in terms of the artistic and technical achievements.

According to him,  total of 400 entries were received by the panel out of which 30 films were short-listed for the different categories of the awards. “The films, to be rewarded this night are those we consider in our judgement to be very well done and truly representative of African cinema as of 2010.” Ayorinde stressed.

AMAA founder, Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, while speaking at the well attended event re-emphasized the primary aim of setting up the AMAA, noting that the Academy was set up to  encourage and reward creativity in the business of film making in Africa.

“ The AMAA have been an enduring platform to eulogize our heroes past in Africa cinema and shower encomiums on the present crop of film makers who are still proudly flying the flag.”

Anyiam-Osigwe challenged film makers in Africa and in the Diaspora to explore more stories that truly and positively project the continent. “Our films must not validate some of the negative stereotypes of the Europeans and Americans have about us. We have our challenges but good things are happening in Africa too.”

She urged governments in Africa to support the creative industry- film, music, visual and audio-visual etc as the entire art and culture sector have become the best cultural exports for the continent.

“Our writers, filmmakers and other professionals within the creative sector continue to bring glory and honour to Africa and providing jobs for millions of people. Our governments must take this sector seriously and provide the necessary structures and funding that will help the sector grow.”

She described this year’s AMAA as being unique, adding that the guest were made to experience  the host state in a new way for one week, with series of activities that positively impacted on the local economy and people of Bayelsa state.

Our writers, filmmakers and other professionals within the creative sector continue to bring glory and honour to Africa and providing jobs for millions of people. Our governments must take this sector seriously and provide the necessary structures and funding that will help the sector grow.”

Governor of the host state, Chief Timiprye Sylva in his speech pledged to make Bayelsa the best film location in Africa.

Nollywood bad boy, Jim Iyke and his Ghanaian counterpart, Majid Michel were the cynosure of attention at the just concluded AMAA awards night.

The duo, clad in black trouser on white blazer, and light green suite respectively stormed the awards night, looking hot and daring. Their adorning the red-carpet was greeted with thunderous ovation and hailing from the  crowd who went after them.

While Majid was  rounded up by his admirers especially the women who hugged, kissed and posed for shots  with him at random, Jim Iyke struggled his way into the Glory Land cultural centre, venue of the event.

But for the intervention of the security personnel who cleared the way for the two playboy actors, Jim and Majid would have been held hostage by their fans. Interestingly, Jim anchored the awards night alongside actress Nse Ikpe Etim- some people said, he fumbled on stage.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Africa’s version of the Oscars, AMAA, Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe was close  to tears in  the  early hours of last Sunday, as she recounted how  much she’d sacrificed her life and pleasures  to  embark on a journey of building a viable cinema culture in Africa.

Peace was reacting to negative comments, which she claimed were posted on facebook and which, according to her, accused her of using the AMAA project to enrich herself.

Angered by these blackmailing comments, AMAA boss said she has given up her life for the past seven years, to unite Africa through the medium of the  tube.

In her words, “AMAA is not a personal journey for any of us. Rather,  it is about everybody that is a film maker in Africa.  It is a personal sacrifice by everybody that committed their lives to AMAA. And for seven years, I have given up my life for AMAA’s success. It’s getting to me at this stage when I hear comments that hurts because it’s a personal sacrifice from me.”

“There is no African country I have not visited to sell the AMAA project. I think, we Africans should learn to support our own, rather than post negative comments on facebook about ourselves. That’s the real problem I have with Africans.

We don’t love ourselves enough. AMAA is for you and me. It’s important that African countries should feel part of AMAA. The project is not a personal journey. AMAA is seven years old. It a struggle raising the fund to host the event yearly.”

Peace also explained that diaspora awards were instituted to give Africans in diaspora a sense of belonging.


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