In 2005, a seed was sown for the beginning of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and 10 years on, the seed has germinated to its present state.
Now the onus lies with African movie makers to continue to water the plant to see that it grows and blossoms and bears bountiful fruits, especially after the one who brought people together to plant that seed has exited her seat as the CEO to concentrate on the African Film Fund to ensure that African filmmakers will continue to get support to tell African stories.
A fortnight ago in oil-rich Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, in Nigeria, the organisers of the annual prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards celebrated 10 years of the awards. The awards have assumed international dimension in just 10 years of its existence.
After doing this for a decade, it’s only prudent that a tribute is paid to the organisers for bringing all African movie makers on one platform to celebrate their achievement despite the many challenges to deal with.
The AMAAs was established firstly to celebrate Africans.
According to the CEO of the awards, there was a need to celebrate African movie makers because Africa has a way of not celebrating itself. The Africans rather look outside the continent and celebrate them. And over the years, the awards have done what it was created for; rewarding filmmakers on the continent.
Since its inception, the AMAAs have been seen by many as the African Oscars and gradually have established itself as the leading and well-recognised awards show for African filmmakers on the African continent. It’s an African awards show organised by Africans for Africans.
Just as the CEO, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe said in her opening speech, the journey for her has not been easy, yet the passion to carry on has seen her clock a decade with the awards. Congratulations once again.
AMAA is 10 years and I have been there for the last four years, so I believe I have garnered enough experience from the AMAAs. From 2011 till the just ended awards, I have been frequent to the awards and I intend to share with readers some of the things that I noticed about the awards during its 10th anniversary.
Over the past few years, AMAA’s primary problem had been logistics. Surprisingly, in terms of logistics, the just ended show was a major success despite this handicap.
Truly, AMAA has warmed itself as the biggest movie awards show on the continent which is fully appreciated and fully embraced in and outside Africa and it wasn’t surprising that, AMAA at 10 was a constellation of stars in Yenagoa. Africans really came to the party.
Our brothers and sisters from the Diaspora attended the event. Also, movie fans in Yenagoa didn’t just sit back and watch the show live at home. They were there in their numbers to grace the event, even though some of them made the red carpet look like a nursery playing grounds.
Security at AMAA as always has been topnotch. Over the past years that I have been part of the awards, security has been tight and I reckon that, the Bayelsa State Governor wants African filmmakers to come to his state and enjoy the place and go back to their various countries in good state.
There wasn’t any security threat but the presence of the Police and the Military around the venue and in town was enough to calm people down, after all, they were safe.
Generally, all went well except on two occasions when Ghana’s co-MC on the night, Naa Ashorkor, announced the presenters of two of the awards and they were nowhere to be found. Without signs of them showing up, she quickly went on to announce the presenters for another category and then again, the presenters were nowhere close.
For close to five minutes or so, Naa Ashorkor looked confused and stood there all alone. Apparently, those presenters had returned auditorium enjoying the show even though; they had been informed and escorted backstage.
In terms of hosting the event, I think Naa Ashorkor has arrived. She was great as co-MC at AMAA. Her hosting skills were excellent, aside everything, Naa speaks well and it wasn’t difficult to blend with her co-MCs from Nigeria and South Africa.
It’s just a pity that I had to notice Naa Ashorkor’s great hosting skills in far away Nigeria. In all honesty, she complimented the other MCs which included Nollywood actor, Segun Arinze.
A day before we made that long trip from Accra to Bayelsa, I had information that, 4×4 had been swapped with Keche to perform on the night. My shock at the news was that, I thought Keche were not known in Nigeria and doubted if they would be able to put up a good show. I had already pictured how they would be received because I know that Nigerians like their own.
Okay! Now what I thought about them didn’t matter. The duo was awesome on the night. As I watched non-Ghanaians dance and cheer them on, I couldn’t help but to be more patriotic. I still believed that, their dance movements did the trick for them on the night even though they didn’t really capitalise on that much.
Nigerian R&B singer Timi Dakolo was overwhelming on the night. He made me feel jealous of Nigerians when he graced the stage and rocked with his ‘Great Nation’ inspirational song.
Another nightmare for AMAA has to do with issues relating to the red carpet. This year’s experience was not anything different to what I have experienced previously. I have always said and will repeat it that, red carpet is just not for everyone.
Red carpet is not African so if we want to do it, we have to do it right. It wasn’t a good scene at all when activities of fans on the red carpet prevented the media from doing their job because one crazy fan or another wants to have a photograph with his or her favourite celebrity.
It was chaotic on the red carpet. From what I observed, a lot more needs to be done in that direction. If it must be done, it must be done well and in grand style.
I cannot wrap up the highlights of AMAA 2014 and not mention the things below.
Being the 10th edition in the series of the awards, the organisers announced that they were going to celebrate all the past winners in the Best-of-Best in Africa. Each of the previous winners of the awards in key areas were expected to contest for Best-of-Best category for one of them to be named as the Best on the continent.
Also it was announced before the awards that, AMAA will be rewarding three African journalists with a sum of $10,000 as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations.
The awards ended without these two activities mentioned. They didn’t take anything away from the awards but it would have made a perfect sense if a reason was offered on why they couldn’t happen.
Oscars is 86 while AMAA is just 10; it takes only hard work to get to the top. There you have it, AMAA @ 10 and still counting.
By Ebenezer Anangfio/Graphic Showbiz
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