Written By: AZUH AMATUS.
Neither the downpour nor the sudden change of venue by the organisers of this year’s African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) could prevent movie practitioners, stakeholders and the glitterati from gracing the grand ceremony.
Although billed for Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, which had hosted AMAA since inception four years ago, the yearly awards ceremony was finally moved to Abuja, at the last minute, due to the current political instability in the state.The high brow Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja hosted this year’s awards, with an influx of Nollywood stars and dignitaries from both public and private sectors.
However, the night of glamour and panache, which had Nollywood and African filmmakers jostling for awards in 25 categories opened with the introduction of Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki & Pawpaw) as the first set of anchors. But the event lasted till the wee hours of the following morning.
Despite the fact that a Ghanaian movie, Run Baby Run, carted home four key awards in the categories of Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Child Actor, Nollywood retained two of the most important awards. Star actor Nkem Owoh, and actress Kate Henshaw-Nuttal smiled home respectively with the diadems of the Best Actor and Best Actress, for their excellent and uncommon roles in Stronger Than Pain.
Another revelation on the night of stars, which was chaired by the FCT Minister, Aliyu Modibbo, was the presence of top Hollywood Star Angela Bassett. The pretty star of the classic movie – How Stella Got Her Groove Back was grateful to AMAA and Nollywood for always telling African stories in their movies.
While Bassett, got a rousing ovation after her wonderful speech. White Waters, the Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) movie from the stable of Nigerian Breweries Plc, also carted home four awards in the categories of Best Soundtrack, Cinematography, Upcoming Actor (O.C Ukeje / Hoomsuk) and Actress in a supporting role (Joke Silva).
Surprisingly too, fast selling Nollywood movie shot on 35mm, Mirror of Beauty, from the stable of Atlantic Overseas floored other flicks to win in the category of Best Music Score. Also, Mission To Nowhere, another movie directed by Teco Benson, emerged victorious in the Best Upcoming Actress category. The trophy went to Uju Okeke, for her exploits in the historic 35mm movie.
Meanwhile, in the second segment of the awards, which was anchored by the duo of Stephanie Okereke and Ramsey Noah, foremost Nollywood filmmaker – Kingsley Eloho Ogoro- walked away with two diadems. Ogoro’s Across the Niger, which preaches peace and love won in the categories of Special Effect and Heart of Africa. Another Ghanaian movie Princess Tyra, further increased the winning slot for the West African country with two more diadems. They were in the categories of Best Costume and Make Up.
The awards for the most outstanding actress –Indigenous, went to Doris Simon, for her efforts in Onitemi, while that of the male category was clinched by Ayo Akinwale, for his outstanding performance in Iranse Aje.
Divizions, another foreign movie from Uganda won in the Best Editing category. Also, the awards for the Best Documentary and Best Short Documentary went to, Do you believe in Magic? and Not My Daughter (Ghana) respectively. Iranse Aje won the keenly contested prize for best Nigerian film, while that of the best Art Direction went to New Jerusalem.
And for his outstanding role in Checkpoint, pioneer actor Emeka Ossai, smiled home with the diadem of the best Actor in a supporting role. Above-all, two Nigerian tested thespians – Chike Okpala (Zebrudaya), Jide Kosoko and a Ugandan film maker were decorated with the Lifetime Achievement Awards, for their immense contributions to the development and sustenance of the motion picture industry on the continent.
Interestingly, it was not only awards and plaques that were given out during this year’s AMAA, guests were also entertained with good music, comedy and other side attractions.
Basorge Terriah, grand master of comedy in Nigeria electrified the spacious hall with his rich repertoire of jokes and jibes for close to 30 minutes. Klint D’ Drunk too came on stage to thrill the guests.
However, the intermittent performances by popular musicians P-Square, Timaya and Timi Dakolo, further added verve to the night of stars.
In her welcome address, Peace Anyiam Osigwe, the CEO of AMAA, thanked all for coming. She was particularly grateful to UBA and the Bayelsa State Government, for making the event a reality despite initial setbacks. “ Our dream is to make AMAA, a truly pan-African awards and that we are already working towards…”
A total of 304 movies were submitted for this year’s edition, across the African continent and 191 of them were from Nigeria, according to Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi, the head of Jury, while giving his verdict. Also an art exhibition which, showcased works of different artists, under the theme; Our Culture, Our Heritage, preceded this year’s event. It held for two days at the same venue.
Courtesy: The SUN News