2013African movie stars will glitter like diamonds in the capital city of Yenagoa, , Capital of Bayelsa State tomorrow, as Africa’s best actors, actresses and all those who have one thing or the other to do with the make believe world, gather to celebrate excellence at the Africa Movie Academy Awards.

Speaking on the event, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of AMAA said, “there is this great awareness of the possibilities in Africa. This has been an exciting year for African cinema as many big budget productions have been ongoing and the content and distribution becoming more accessible to African films.”

For the records, only films produced, premiered and or released between December 2011 and November 2012 are eligible for this year’s coveted gongs of AMAA and it is safe to say in terms of entries received, this edition has been unprecedented in the history of AMAA.

At the nominations party held at the Bingu Wa Muntharika International Conference Centre in Lilongwe, capital of Malawi, last month, the list of nominees for this year’s AMAA was unveiled. Tagged Experience Malawi, the event, saw a large delegation of Nollywood stars.

Speaking in an emotion-laden voice at the event in Lilongwe attended by top operatives of the Malawian government, from the president to several ministers, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe urged Africans to look at the continent and themselves with pride.

“We should stop being apologetic of what and who we are. We should be proud to tell the world who we are. We should use our films to tell our story and not wait for someone to else to do that for us,” she urged.

With 26 nominations in total, Nigeria, home to the third largest movie industry in terms of output, again leads the pack of nominations for this edition of AMAA. She is followed by  South Africa with 17 nominations while Kenya continues its climb up the ladder on the Africa cinema circle with eight nominations.

Unlike many of her peers who disappeared from the AMAA lists after winning an award, Nigerian actress, Rita Dominic is in the race to retain the top price of Best Actress in a Leading Role which she won at the last edition in Lagos. And this time, with The Meeting, a movie she produced along with Mildred Okwo, many movie enthusiasts say she is in with a loud shout.

Others in the race include Yvonne Okoro, the dashing young woman who impresses in The Contract while Flora Suya (Last Fishing Boat), Florence Masebe (Elewani) Mbutung Seikeh (Ninah’s Dowry) and Mariam Ouedraogo (Moi Zaphira).

For the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role, veterans like Bimbo Manuel whose days on screen dates back to the Checkmate era, is in the running with his inspiring role in the movie, Heroes and Zeros. And to battle with Manuel is young but fast rising actor, O.C Ukeje for his role in Alan Poza. Aside the two popular actors, competition swells for the category with late Justus Esiri (Assassins Practice), Hlomia Dandala (The Contract), Femi Jacobs (The Meeting), Lindani Nkosi (Zama Zama) and Amurin Wumnembom (Ninah’s Dowry).

For Best Actress in a Supporting Role, it remains to be seen if her role in Niyi Towolawi’s impressive movie, Turning Point will fetch Patience Ozokwor a coveted AMAA gong. Linda Ejiofor (The Meeting), Crista Eka (Ninah’s Dowry), Foluke Daramola (Cobweb) and Hermelinda Cimela (Virgin Magarida) provide competition in that category.

Many are of the view that the category of Best Actor in a Supporting Role is a straight fight between the constantly evolving Gabriel Afolayan (Hoodrush) and now popular Ali Nuhu (Blood and Henna) but knowing the keen eye and depth of knowledge possessed by the AMAA jury, no one can bet that others on the list like Ikponmwosa Gold (Confusion Na Wa), Alfred Atungu (Twin Sword), and Olwenya Maina (Nairobi Half Life) are beyond springing a surprise.

For Best Promising Actor, it’s an all new comer affair as Belinda Effah (Kokomma), Sumela Maculuva (Virgin Magarida), Joseph Wairimu (Nairobi Half Life), Shonelo Mbutho (Ulanga The Mark) and Karounwi Olakunle (The Twin Sword) slug it out.

For the Best Director category, Niji Akanni who was widely applauded for his Aramotu around two years ago, stakes further claim for the top with his handling of things in Heroes and Zeros. He is challenged by Kenneth Gyang (Confusion Na Wah), Shemu Joyah (Last Fishing Boat), Shirley Frimpong Manso (Contract), David Kitounga (Nairobi Half Life) and Ntshavheni Wa Lurui (Elewani).

And perhaps the most coveted category each year, which somewhat shoots the movie that manages to clinch it into the top of the charts all over Africa and beyond, Best Film of the Year. It is being contested for Obi Emelonye’s well received Last Flight to Abuja along with Kenya’s Nairobi Half Life, South Africa’s Elewani, Malawi’s Last Fishing Boat, Cameroon’s Ninah’s Dowry, Mozambique’s Virgin Margarida and Nigeria’s other entry, Confusion Na Wa.

These are not the categories where the duels take place, others include Best Child Actor, best Film In An African Language, Best Nigerian Film, Achievement In Screenplay, Achievement In Lightning, Achievement In Editing, Achievement In Cinematography, Achievement In Sound, Achievement In Visual Effects, Achievement In Soundtrack, Achievement In Make:up, Achievement In Costume Design, Achievement In Production Design, Best Film By An African Abroad, Best Animation, Best Diaspora Documentary, Best Diaspora Feature and others.

With both of them boasting at least five nominations each, the hope of Nigeria’s quest would seem to rely heavily on Obi Emelonye’s Last Flight to Abuja and Heroes and Zeros directed by Niji Akanni but that takes nothing away from others Nigerian movies in the list like The Meeting, Hoodrush, The Contract or even Turning Point.

As things stand, it promises to be yet another night to remember as one of Ghana’s finest on screen and a winner of AMAA herself, Ama K. Abebrese and Nigeria’s Dakore Egbuson have been listed along with comedian, Ayo Makun popularly known as AY, to host this year’s edition of the night in Bayelsa in which the Africa cinema circle is united Africa.

Source: Daily Independent

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