AMAA award lights up garden city

Kcee and Harrysong performing at the AMAA award in Port Harcourt.

Kcee and Harrysong performing at the AMAA award in Port Harcourt.

For the first time in the history of the project, the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) was staged in Port Harcourt, with the massive Obi Wali International Conference Centre as choice venue. Though there were fears in some quarters over the possibility of the continental event happening, as a result of reported cult clashes in the Garden City few days before, the show went on as planned.

To a large extent, taking AMAA Award to Port Harcourt was just a perfect way to calm nerves in the oil rich state. Interestingly, the night provided an opportunity for members of the ruling APC and those of the opposition PDP to relax and celebrate Africa’s motion picture industry, which has greatly promoted the Nigerian brand international. While the host governor Nyesom Wike led the PDP team, Hon. Minister of Information And Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in company of Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila were visible APC members at the glamorous event.

Hosted by Nollywood’s Mike Ezuruonye and Kgopedi Lilokoe, this year’s AMAA recorded massive turn our of Nollywood stars, who were joined by their counterparts from other parts of the continent. From Chief Pete Edochie to Olu Jacobs and wife Joke, RMD, Chiwetalu Agu, Kanayo O Kanayo, Nkem Owoh, Omoni Oboli, Segun Arinze, Fred Amata, Eniola Badmus, Paul Obazele, Saheed Balogun, Aneke Twins… it was a star-studded red carpet that lasted for hours.

However, the blackout during the ceremony and the usual logistics lapses experience this year, is something the AMAA teams should work on. Notwithstanding, the winners’ list, as presented by the jury, obviously met the expectations of most filmmakers from across the continent. Like always, the jury did a thorough job picking the best from all entries.

Though not an evening of long speeches, Minister for Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and Rivers States governor Nyesom Wike got slots to address the continental audience, who were eager to witness the award presentations.

Presenting the 2016 result to founder of AMAA Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Head of the AMAA Jury, Shaibu Hussein noted that in the last 12 years, hundreds of films from across the continent and its Diaspora arrive at the AMAA offices.

“This year, we received close to 485 movie entries from over 60 countries, mostly within Africa and also from around the world out of which we only considered about 65 in different genres for nomination in about 26 categories. We commend the work done by the Academy’s College of Screeners and at the other levels of pre-selection; we salute their professionalism and thoroughness. The selection of films and nominations truly reflects the Pan-African vision for the future of the African film and media industry that AMAA promotes. Indeed, we are encouraged by the ever increasing number of entries being received from a larger geographic sphere and we look forward to the continuation of this trend,” he said.

Husseini informed that the jury noticed with great pleasure a growing diversity of genres amongst the films they saw, adding, “we also observed a visible development in exploring cinematographic styles especially in the field of storytelling/narration and art direction. We note also a strong presence of women in front of and behind the camera. A couple of the films we have in nomination were either made by women or produced by women. This sure-footed emergence of women filmmakers on the African continent is very promising, encouraging and refreshing for audiences and female professionals in the industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, there’s a decline in movies for children and about children, according to the jury.
“We have over the years handed out awards to child actors but we decided as a jury not to consider that category this year because of inadequate entries. Although we are not oblivious of the present lull in production activities in the film industries on the African continent and in the Diaspora, we urge our filmmakers to seek out and produce those stunning range of films that celebrates our young ones and stories that tell us that the cinema is alive and well in our continent.’

The AMAA 2016 Award for Best Short Film went to Meet The Parents (Nigeria/Canada), Best Animation award went to The Pencil (Burkina Faso), while The Fruitless Tree (Niger) won Best Documentary category. Best Diaspora Short film award went to Across The Track (USA), award For Best Film By An African Living Abroad was clinched by Lambadina (Ethiopia/Usa), while Best Diaspora Feature award went to Ben & Ara (USA).

For Best Diaspora Documentary, Agents Of Change won in the category, Achievement In Costume Design award went to Eye Of The Storm, while Achievement In Production Design award went to The Cursed One (Ghana). Award for Achievement In Make-Up went to Soldiers Story, Achievement In Soundtrack was clinched by O-Town (Nigeria), while Achievement In Visual Arts went to another Nigerian film, Oshimiri.

For Achievement In Cinematography category, The Cursed One came tops, Achievement In Editing went to Hear Me Move, while Achievement In Screen Play award was presented to Tell Me Something Sweet. Award for Best Film In An African Language went to Missing God, (Nigeria), while Best Actor In A Supporting Role went to Abidine Dioari for Eye Of The Storm.

In the Best Actress In Supporting Role, Thishiwe Ziqubu (Tell Me Something Sweet) emerged winner, Best Actor In A Leading Role went to Nigeria’s Daniel K Daniel for Soldiers Story, while for Best Actress In A Leading Role, Fulu Mugovhani clinched award for her role in Ayanda.

Greg Odutayo’s Beyond Blood won Best First Feature Film By A Director, Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Olu Jacobs, Joke Silva, Richard Mofe Damijo and Tony Akposhore a.k.a Zakky, while Eye Of The Storm from Burkina Faso won Best Film award. For Best Director, Nana Obiri-Yaboah emerged victorious with Maximilian Clausse, while Best Young / Promising Actor award went to Zubaidat Ibrahim Fagge for her role in Dry.

The award ceremony, which lasted into the early hours of the following day, was spiced with cultural performance from Rivers State troupe. Singer Yinka Davies also delivered a soothing performance at the event, while KCee and Harrysong got guests rocking.

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