African film and TV talent shine at the #AMVCA

Olu Jacobs

African film and TV talent shone bright at the inaugural AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards ceremony, broadcast live from Lagos to DStv audiences in more than 50 countries across the continent on Saturday 9 March.

The AMVCAs, held in association with MultiChoice and sponsored by Nigeria’s number 1 low-sugar malt drink, Amstel Malta, recognised Africa’s best film and television talent in a glittering three and a half hour ceremony, hosted by Big Brother’s IK Osakioduwa and StarGist’s Vimbai Muntinhiri.

The pre-event red carpet saw the stars dazzle, flaunting the finest continental fashion. Capturing all the glamour of the gala event was a team of on-air personalities, including Big Brother alumni Uti Nwachukwu and Nic Wang’ondu alongside Eku Edewor, Dolopo Oni, Sarah Hassan and Helen Paul.

The continent’s glitterati rubbed shoulders at EKO Exhibition Centre, which featured a dramatic multi-layered stage decked with giant LED screens.
Big individual winners on the night included Nigeria’s Mercy Johnson (Best Actress – Comedy) for Dumebi – The Dirty Girl, Ghanaian Jackie Appiah (Best Actress – Drama) for Perfect Picture, Nigeria’s Hafiz Oyetoro (Best Actor – Comedy) for House a Part and his compatriot OC Ukeje (Best Actor – Drama) for Two Brides and a Baby.
Category wins for Best Supporting Cast in a Drama went to Uganda’s Matthew Nabwiso for A Good Catholic Girland Kenya’s Maureen Koech for Lies That Bind. The prestigious award for Best Director went to Akin Omotoso for Man on Ground.

The announcement of the winners of the hotly-contested Best Movie Overall and Best Television categories produced the biggest ovation of the night, with Otelo Burning and The XYZ Show scooping top honours.
Otelo Burning, produced and directed by South African Sara Blecher, tells the story of a group of township kids who discover the joy of surfing. It’s set in 1989, against a backdrop of brewing conflict between two political groups. 

The XYZ Showis a Kenyan political satire program, created and produced by Godffrey Mwampembwa and Marie Lora-Mungai. The spoof newscast, featuring latex puppets, tackles current affairs issues in Kenya with a bitingly humorous twist.

An expert judging panel with a wealth of continental and international experience; and led by AMVCA Head Judge Femi Odugbemi; were responsible for selecting the winners in non-viewer voted categories. The panel included Antonio Katakwe, Charles Asiba, Desiree Markgraaff, Joyce Fissoo, Kole Omotoso, Linus Abrahams, Simon Ratcliffe, Steph Ogundele and Zik Zulu Okafor.
The results in each category were verified by auditors from SizweNtsalubaGobodo, who were on hand on the night to hand over the top-secret envelopes.

A night dedicated to honouring the continent’s finest filmmakers was graced by a host of home-grown musical superstars too, as Femi Kuti, Sauti Sol, Tiwa Savage, Banky W and Chidinma, along with Ghana’s Efya, rocked the stage – and the continent.

And rounding off an unforgettable night, accomplished veteran Nigerian actor Olu Jacobs was named the recipient of the Industry Merit Award…

… while Ivie Okujaye was named the TrailBlazer of the Year.

Commenting on an outstanding night of celebration, M-Net Africa MD Biola Alabi said, “It has been a wonderful night. Fantastic performers, glittering fashion, deserving winners; it has been a night of huge excitement and emotion. Most importantly, it’s been a true celebration of African film and television, a fitting platform for the stars of our continent, both in front and behind the cameras.
This is what we at AfricaMagic have long dreamt of, and to see it become a reality tonight is a very special moment for us. Congratulations to all our worthy winners, I hope that this recognition will inspire them further and motivate others in this industry to strive to give their best every day.”

On behalf of Amstel Malta, Walter Drenth (Marketing Director Nigerian Breweries PLC) said, “We are deeply pleased to be at the forefront of this spectacular event that celebrates truly talented individuals whose valuable contribution to the African film and television landscape is immeasurable. We congratulate them on their success and noteworthy achievement tonight. Our brand has always believed strongly that everyone has what it takes to be the best and this group of winners symbolizes that.”

Joining Alabi and Drenth in saluting the winners was MultiChoice Africa CEO Nico Meyer who said, “Congratulations to all the winners. The AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards have provided a wonderful opportunity for our film and television stars to showcase their work. To be acknowledged for such merit will catapult their careers to another level and their work will certainly set a standard for quality programming and excellence in the industry. We look forward to watching their progress very closely on our television screens – we expect to see great things from them.”

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