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The New Face of AMAA

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With over 50 entries from different parts of Africa including Nigeria, the African Movies Academy Awards set to shoot. Chinyere Okoye writes

The African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), an offshoot of the African Film Academy, is scheduled to take place on April 4. These awards have pulled together a phenomenal list of talented directors, actors, and films from around Africa, that have made, or are going to make a tremendous impact on the continent and in the Diasporas.

On this note, Chief Executive of AMAA, Mrs. Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima refuted the insinuation that the award is dominated by Igbos who are mostly in the English genre of the industry.

“I think it is ridiculous for anybody to say we are neglecting the Yoruba filmmakers in our awards. AMAA in the first place is not a Nigerian award it is an Africa affairs. Filmmakers are to submit their works for screening and assessment by our panel of jurors. So if you do not submit your work whether Yoruba or English how can you be assessed.

"The good thing is that we even have more entries from Yoruba film makers than English this year from other Africa countries. It is equally important to say that a Yoruba woman, Mrs. Joke Silva, Olu Jacobs wife won the first Female Actress of the Year during the first edition of AMAA, the idea that AMAA favours English film makers is unfounded," She explained.

AMAA awards in the last four years have helped the growth of the movie industry through the practitioners to be more professional in all aspects in the industry.

On preparation for this years, AMAA College of Screeners made of up members from Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Uganda among others received 428 films as entries for this year awards out of which 24 were short listed as nominees for AMAA Jury-a panel of jurors with members drawn from Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, and other international and Nigerian members who will now access the nominations and determine winners in about 24 categories of the award.

Logistic has been put in place to avoid the sudden change of venue by the organisers of last year's African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), security has been beefed up, as the Governor Dipreie Sylva of Bayelsa State has re-affirmed support.

Transportation movement of guest from Lagos to Port Harcourt where a transport company providing executive shuttle services will move guests to Bayelsa is in place, the organisers said.

However, to ensure larger participation across Africa, road shows have been done in Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Burkina Faso and other African countries to propagate the vision of the awards as the best and most credible reward system for creativity in film making in Africa. The result of the road shows was more than previous years there were over 40 entries from different parts of Africa namely Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana.

For the first time, the AMAA nomination was announced at FESPACO Film Festival two weeks ago in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the largest and biggest film and television festival in Africa. In furtherance of the vision to promote film and entertainment industry in the continent, African Movies Academy Awards and United Bank for Africa, UBA hosted African filmmakers at Berlin Film festivals in Germany.

According to Mrs. Peace Anyiam Fiberesima, was to build activities and promote pan-African awards among filmmakers from Africa. The event attended by many film makers from South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria also had the Head of Sponsorship of UBA, Mr. Abdul Abubakar , Queen Latifat, a Moroccan actress, Victor Okahi, O.C Ukeje, the AMBO winner and lead actor of Whitewaters Ukoma, a Nigerian script writer from London among others.

Beyond the annual awards, AMAA has been working with filmmakers in areas of training and capacity development and sponsoring some Nigerian practitioners to attend major international film festivals to get more exposure and technical know-how.

''We are helping some of the winners of our awards to attend major film festivals and get their works to be seen by other professionals across the world. We sponsored some of them to just concluded Berlin film festival where we also hosted other African filmmakers to a party,'' AMAA boss explained.

She said the organisation would still embark on road show to other African countries as part of the build up to the awards which will be hosted by Bayelsa State. Furthermore, the award organisers have different awards category this year which include best director, best picture, best screen play, best actress in leading role, and best actress in supporting role.

Others are AMAA Achievement in Costume, Best film in African Language, Best male actor in leading role and best male actor in supporting role among others