Tuesday, June 3, 2014 3:37 pm
by Funsho Arogundade
Yenagoa – On Saturday 24 May, the bowel of Dr. Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, venue of this year’s edition of the Africa Movies Academy Awards, AMAA, brimmed with a constellation of stars of African film industry, who had streamed into the city to celebrate the tenth edition of the annual awards ceremony.
The night turned a glorious one for veteran thespian, Clarion Chukwurah, who emerged the continent’s leading lady as she won the award for Best Actress In A Leading Role for her outstanding performance in Emem Isong’s biopic Apaye.
“I am dedicating this award to my country Nigeria because the role I played in Apaye was that of a woman who in spite of all odds, overcame and became triumphant. No matter the challenge our country is facing now, we will overcome it,” she said.Chukwurah did not enjoy the spotlight alone. Patience Ozokwor also shone brightly at the ceremony. The ageless actress, known for her impious characters in movies, emerged winner in the category of Best Actress In A Supporting Role for her role in the movie After The Proposal.
Apart from these two big wins, Nigeria also recorded achievement in Best Documentary with Portraits of a Lone Farmer, Chika Anadu’s contemporary drama. B for Boy won the Best Film In African Language; Obi Emenloye’s Onye Ozi won the Achievement In Soundtrack; Eric Aghimien’s action-drama A Mile From Home picked the Achievement In Visual Effect crest, and Teco Benson’s thriller, Accident, won the award For Best Nigerian Film.
During the awards night, however, South Africa took back the lead as the country dominated the ceremony with 10 awards, including the biggest, AMAA 2014 Award For Best Film won by Of Good Report, a Jahmil XT Qubeka’s controversial film.
Of Good Report, which collected the most awards, with success in five of its 13 nominations, also earned four crests in the categories for Achievement In Screen Play; Best Young/Promising Actor (Petronella Tshuma); Best Actor In A Leading Role (Mothusi Magano); and Best Director (Jamil XT Quebeka).
Of Good Report is a story about a teacher, Parker Sithole (Mothusi Magano), who becomes obsessed with a 16-year-old female pupil, Nolitha Ngubane (Petronella Tshuma). The film caused much debate last year when the South African Film and Publications Board refused to classify it, claiming it featured an underage character (Tshuma) having a sexual relationship with an adult (Magano). The board later reversed its decision after it was discovered that Tshuma, the actress playing the underage woman, was of legal age.
South Africa also took the awards for Best Animation (Khumba); Achievement In Make-Up (Once Upon A Road Trip); Achievement In Cinematography (The Forgotten Kingdom); Achievement In Sound (The Forgotten Kingdom) and Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Thapelo Mofekeng).
Ghana’s Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Potomanto won the award for Achievement in Editing, while Northern Affair, a Leila Djansi film, made it a double for Ghana with the Achievement In Production Design category award.
Lesotho’s Lebohang Ntsane won the Award For Best Child Actor for his role in the flick Forgotten Kingdom.
Bob-Manuel Udokwu, seasoned actor and now Special Assistant to Anambra State Governor on Entertainment, was honoured with AMAA 2014 Special Recognition Award by the organisers, for his contribution to the continent’s film industry.
“I want to thank AMAA for this recognition and my fans for always believing in me. I want to also appeal to filmmakers across Africa who are here tonight that we must work together to tell the African story. We can’t leave it to outsiders who always think the continent is about bad news, wars, famine and disease. Let’s tell them we are a proud people with history and rich heritage,” Udokwu said.
There were new additions to the existing categories: The Madiba Award, which recognises any movie that foregrounds the principle of the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela. This award was given to Kenya’s Ni Sisi, which had earlier won the award of Achievement In Costume Design. There was also President Joyce Banda Award, which recognises women empowerment and was awarded to B For Boy; while New Horizon, a Nigerian short flick starring the quartet of Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw, Funke Akindele and Uche Jombo, also bagged a Special Jury Award.
Steve Ayorinde, seasoned journalist and AMAA 2014 Jury head, said this year award attracted over 500 entries, including short films, documentaries, features and animation. Ayorinde noted that the 10-man AMAA 2014 Jury worked assiduously to ensure that the best emerged in all the categories.
Other members of the jury consisting of tested film critics, curators and journalists were Ayuko Babu, Shaibu Husseini, Berni Goldblat, Dorothee Wenner, Asantewa Olatunji, June Givanni, Prof. Hyginus Ozoemen Ekwuazi, John Akomefrah and Keith Shiri.
Ayorinde, on behalf of the jury, later presented the jury results to Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder and CEO of AMAA.
In her remark, Anyiam-Osigwe, who paid a glowing tribute to the late Amaka Igwe, a permanent member of AMAA Jury till her death, reflected on the last 10 years of AMAA.
“I had a vision 10 years ago that we will create a viable black film industry that is self-sustaining and a force to be reckoned with… Today as we celebrate, the AMAAs has become the platform that projects the Africa film industry to Africa and the rest of the world,” said Anyiam-Osigwe, a member of Order of The Federal Republic.
She later announced that she would be stepping down as AMAA CEO to assume a new role of Executive Chairman so that she can concentrate more on other creative endeavours.
Ebizi Brown, director-general, Bayelsa State Tourism Board, indicated that the state has benefited tremendously in the area of growth in the tourism and hospitality business as the lead sponsor of the AMAA in the last one decade.
Unlike the previous years, there were some corporate organisations in Nigeria, led by Globacom and Sterling Bank plc, which lent their support through sponsorship of the pan-African awards.
While Anyiam-Osigwe has been commended for delivering a great tenth edition and nurturing her dream of having a top film awards on the continent, others have knocked her and her team for the sloppiness in some aspects, like logistics, timing, missing statuette, lack of coordination of photographers and poor lighting on the red carpet.
The show was hosted by the quartet of South Africa’s Mariam Kaptuiya, Jamaica’s Nathaniel Anthony Lloyd, Ghana’s Nana Asokor and Nigeria’s Segun Arinze.
Guests at the star-studded event were entertained by a panoply of stand-up comedians and musicians including Timi Dakolo, Flavour, Bez, Edge, a rising R&B singer from Bayelsa State; Keche from Ghana and Funny Bone.