Will Nigeria host 2014 AMAA?

…excitement mounts towards the Jan 1, 2014 announcement of host country

…as Lydia Forson, Kunle Afolayan are faces of the 10th anniversary award

Since the ninth edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA, organised by the African Film Academy took place in Nigeria early this year, the question on the lips of many has been whether the landmark 10th edition will also hold in the country.

The question arose no doubt because of the logistics that trailed the event which took place in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital and the fact that South Africa was reported to have been bidding to take over the hosting of the prestigious pan African movie awards from Nigeria.

That South Africa came to the last event with a higpowered delegation and the holding of the AMAA Annual General Meeting, AGM, in the African country in August further made the argument plausible.

However, no AMAA official has been willing to speak even off records on the matter. But the debate may well be over if the response from the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the awards, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, is anything to go by. At a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday, December 19, to announce activities for the 10 anniversary celebration tagged: ‘AMAA@10 Unveil’, the question came up again.

“You will hear from me on January 1, 2014”, Anyiam-Osigwe said. She, however, said that the nominations party for AMAA 2014 with the theme: ‘A Constellation of Stars’ will go back to South Africa.

“There are a number of reasons for that. One, we have done a lot of work in the Southern region in the last one year. In a way to give back to President Jacob Zuma and Mrs. Joyce Banda, the president of Malawi who wanted to host the AMAA, we told them that it was going to be extremely difficult to tell the Nigerian people that the 10th anniversary of AMAA will be held outside Nigeria”, she said.

She further stated that the compromise is to hold the nominations night in South Africa. Anyiam-Osigwe said the next winners of the AMAA will benefit from the AFA’s cinema project in East Africa, which has just been jump-started, faster than the Nigerian edition of the project.

In unveiling Ghanaian actress, Lydia Forson and Nigerian filmmaker Kunle Afolayan as the face of AMAA@10, she said the two were chosen because of their total understanding of what the AMAA stands for. Also to brief the journalists was Mr. Steve Ayorinde, who is the chair of Jury for AMAA@10. Mr. Ayorinde said that the AMAA has consistently strived to reward excellence and that tradition will continue in the 10th edition.

“From January 15 when entries close to March 2014, four to five levels of screening would have taken place so that the best 30 films will emerge”, he said.

He explained that at the moment there is a 10-man jury with two other people to join later and the jury will grow to 15. The said jury, which works to the very last minute so that no one is able to guess who the winner is before the award night, will determine the nominees in the first weekend of March. Ayorinde went on to make an announcement that gave the journalist present a lot of joy.

He said the AMAA@10 has made available $10,000 to be won by three journalists with the three best reports on the AMAA in the last nine years. The first prize winner will take home $5,000, while the second and third will get $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

“How the winners will be determined is through the depth and accuracy of the reportage, understanding of the AMAA brand and elevated style of writing”, he said.

Before Forson got the opportunity to speak about her new role, the pair of Seun Akinfolarin and Mike Morah threw light on the Africa’s Best Award, which they said is separate from the job of the AMAA jury –past winners of the AMAA in the last nine years will be selected in seven categories by popular vote. A winner in each category will go home with $10,000.

The voters, who can be anyone who loves movies, will also win prizes. Also speaking at the event were Dayo Ogunyemi of 234 Media and Kingsley Ogoro, who produced last edition of the AMAA, as well as Tony Ani of the AMAA secretariat.

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