Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA): Transcending rewards


bigwinThis weekend in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital will mark the ninth edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Nigeria’s premium reward platform in film and cinema.

Event stakeholders agree, AMAA has exceeded expectations of being a Nigerian dream to a global brand which can compete with the Oscar and Grammy.

The first three editions were indeed tagged ‘Nollywood’ award by some critics, but the reward platform for filmmakers has since metamorphosed into a most sought after piece of honour, particularly in the area of film production in Africa and Africans in Diaspora.

The awards, of which winners are determined by a jury has an edge over other reward systems in Africa, because of the diversity in the panel, with members comprising seasoned film journalists, veterans in cinematography, experts in acting and production from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Nigeria.

Today, the AMAA train has moved across over 40 African countries, and nations like the US, Trinidad & Tobacco, the UK, Canada and Jamaica. The wide acceptance of the brand across the globe testifies to its unprecedented number of entries recorded this year. Over 671 entries have been received for this edition.

Beyond entertainment

But beyond rewarding excellence in film production and cinema, the platform has also been repositioned as a tool for advocating Africa’s economic integration.

Chief Executive of AMAA, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe has been on the vanguard of Africa’s economic integration, making it a borderless continent, as it is in Europe. Major advocacy points embarked upon by the proponents of this brand include removal of borders within Africa, such the Africans no longer require visa to enter any country within the continent. There will then be free movement of people and uninhibited trade and promotion of common currency within the continent.

In this edition, AMAA has redefined standard within the industry, not only among the award portfolio but for filmmakers who make specific films and movies for AMAA. According to Chico Ejiro, a famous movie producer, AMAA has succeeded in driving consciousness into movie makers who hitherto believed that profit in terms of finance was the only thing that matters in the industry.

“Industry practitioners now put AMAA before financial profit, because AMAA movies have been certified to be profitable in a long run beyond accolades,” he said.

Apart from acknowledging hard work and excellence in film productions, AMAA is a potent tool for brand leveraging, becoming a force to reckon with in the African film industry, since its inception in 2005. The brand provides the most transparent and internationally recognised reward system that celebrates the best in African cinema. This has endeared it to the African and global film community.

What this translates to is massive media visibility. It is this visibility above everything else that the platform offers its partners. However, beyond the one-day live broadcast of the awards, AMAA has become a year- long schedule of activities spanning various countries in Africa and Diaspora. So, it is possible for brands to identify with a very viable touch point-film, and reach their target via AMAA’s experiential engagements.

Brand appeal

“AMAA’s uniqueness stems from its pan-African scope. All 53 countries and Africans in Diaspora are eligible to participate. It is important to mention however, that except for a few, most corporates are yet to understand AMAA as a sponsorship property.

So when you discuss sponsorship, they say ‘why can’t we just place an ad instead? It costs less’ or ‘We don’t have money, we’ll give you products, or ‘Break down your budget to components so procurement can understand’.

“As valid as these concerns are, it’s not a 1+1=2 situation. Any brand that partners with AMAA isn’t seeking ROI (Returns on Investment) in terms of Naira and kobo, even though a couple of our activities provide that opportunity, it’s more about adopting a platform, and all it represents and using it as a means to further connect with the brand’s audience,” she said.

Managing Director of HotSauce, a Lagos-based digital marketing communication outfit, Dayo Adefila said AMAA undoubtedly is one of Nigeria’s best exports to the rest of the world. Proving year-after-year that something great can be initiated and sustained by committed and visionary people.

He added: “AMAA however needs to act like a true modern brand. The events are top notch, don’t get me wrong. But how does the brand really get into the consciousness of its target audience?

“If AMAA defines its core target audience as corporate Nigeria, then it needs to understand that corporate Nigeria follows consumer excitement and commitment. Create a three-month engagement and co-creation driven activity for the avid movie watcher in Lagos, Kaduna, Conakry, Accra, Kenya, Jo’burg.

This is when brands will see more reason to spread their marketing communication budgets to AMAA. Get a big idea and integrate all media touch-points including digital media in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and other African countries. That will get the attention of more brands.”

For Temitope Carter Ajayi, lead consultant at Portion Consult, “AMAA offers any brand a huge platform as much as Grammy and Oscar. This is a continent wide event that brings over 53 countries in Africa together and the Diaspora. This is the largest event that celebrates filmmakers.”

In terms of participation, Ajayi said industry stakeholders and celebrities within and outside Africa, AMAA have mastered the game more than any event franchise in Nigeria and Africa. For brand alignment, AMAA he continued, offers the best sponsorship platform for any brand that has a pan-Africa ambition to expand the frontier of business beyond the shores of Nigeria.

Another advantage of AMAA he said is “the year-round activities it offers through its initiatives. Any serious brand that is forward looking can partner with AMAA to execute their CSR especially in the areas of youths’ empowerments. There is so much money by brands now sponsoring reality shows, many of which could be described as just a flash in a pan. AMAA has programmes in about five Africa countries that discover and train next generation of filmmakers that will re-invent the continent through motion picture,” he said.

“AMAA has three key events that must happen every year: Screening, Nominations and the awards. Alongside these milestones are other events-Nominations pre & after parties, AMAA pre and after parties, AMAA Roadshows to various film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Durban, Fespaco, AFRIFF etc), Africa Cinema Business Roundtable, and Film Premier Parties where AMAA winning films are shown across Nigeria and other African countries. Brands can either choose specific events to sponsor, or come on board as official sponsors and have the benefit of actively participating in AMAA calendar of activities for the whole year,” said Anyiam-Osigwe.

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