Excitement as MultiChoice unites African movie stars with AMVCA

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Last Saturday, March 7, 2014 was exciting in Lagos as African movie stars and international observers from Europe and Asia, including those visiting Nigeria for the first time converged on the prestigious Eko Hotels for the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA).

The glamorous and entertaining Africa movie award in its second edition gathered more momentum this year as Africa’s best in the movies industry with superlative outfits did not want to miss any part of the thrilling event put together by AfricaMagic in association with MultiChoice and Amstel Malta.

Over 100 million viewers across Africa watched the live show on DStv while over 3,000 people attended the award ceremony from across Africa and beyond.

The event which was basically a platform to recognise and reward the efforts African movie stars and those behind the cameras with votes from viewers, was more of uniting the stars from different African countries than a competition among them. At the event, they hugged themselves and exchanged pleasantries with a promise to continue to use movies to tell African stories and correct the West’s negative impressions about Africa.

The evening which saw electrifying performances from dancing groups and artists such as Davidoo and FIavour who kept the audience excited with his ‘Ada ada’ and his other popular songs witnessed artists and producers, film directors going home with their prestigious awards for their hard work in acting and film production.

The night was spectacular in many respects as brand owners of Amstel Malta lived upto their billing with their sponsorships as artistes and actresses who have heard about themselves but have not met got the opportunity to meet, discussing  new opportunities while photo journalists were on hand to click their cameras on the celebrities.

In fact when AfricaMagic and MultiChoice announced the birth of the AMVCA to acknowledge and appreciate not only veterans in the Nigerian film industry, but also to encourage budding film producers on both traditional and new media in the continent, one  could virtually slice the excitement in the air with a blunt knife. And even though no one expects an award created by the widely successful AfricaMagic brand to be anything but spectacular, the awards presented the awardees with a massive platform for growth and continent-wide visibility in record-breaking time, which perhaps would not have been attainable.

The Award winners

There were a total of 29 awards in different categories. Nigeria, the host country won 18 out of the 29 categories of the awards. Ghana won five awards including Best Movie 2013, Kenya won five, while Zambia got one. However, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and The Gambia, which were also on the nominees list, did not win any award.

Kenya won most the technically related awards, meaning the country is the most technically sound in the films presented at the awards.

Osita Iheme from Nigeria with his performance in The Hero won the Best Actor in Comedy category. Best Actor in Drama award was clinched by Tope Tedela  from Nigeria in the film A Mile from Home. Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele, nicknamed Jenifa, won the Best Actress in Comedy award while Nse Ikpe-Etim,  Nigerian actress best known for her ability to internalize her characters beat other African actresses and Nigerian actresses to win the Best Actress in  drama  with her performance in Journey to self.

Frank Rajah Arase from Ghana  with his performance in The PRICE  won the Best Movie ( Drama) award. The Price  mirrors the story of an innocent man who languished in prison for 30 years because of his impenetrable love for the daughter of a power politician who will stop at nothing to get his daughter married to his political godfather’s son.      Desmond Elliot picked the award in Best supporting Actor in a drama with his performance in Finding Mercy while Best supporting Actress in a drama was won by Bikiya Graham- Douglas from Nigeria who acted in Flower girl.

Chiemela Nwagboso from Nigeria won the best Costume designer in the film The Kingdom, Walter Waltbanger Taylaur with his  performance in The Wages won the Best Short Film. Best Writer ( Comedy) award went to Jigi Bello of Nigeria for Flower Girl. Ghanaian Shirley Frimpong- Manso got the Best Movie Director award for the Contract movie. Best sound editor award went to  Obi Emelonye and Luke Corradine  for their performance in Last Flight to Abuja.

Shirley Frimpong-Manso also got other awards as Best Video Editor and Best Movie director in her Contract while she joined Yvonne Okoro and Ken Attoh to win Best Movie 2013. She also combined with Herty Owusu to win Best Writer (drama) award.

The  Nairobi Half Life film alone, got Mahammed Zain from Kenya the Best Lighting designer; Barbara Minishi also from Kenya as the Best Art director and Christian Almesberger also from Kenya as the Best cinematographer. The film also made Elayne Okaya to clinch the best Make-up artist award.

Fred Phiri from Zambia got the award for Best television series comedy/drama, best indigenous language movie ( Swahili) was won by Njoki Muhoho. Mercy Aigbe from Nigeria with her performance in Komfo won the best indigenous language move (Yoruba) while Abba Muko Yakassai Nigerian won the best indigenous movei (Hausa).

Gilbert Chigbo with his The Deadwood documentary won the Best Documentary. The Mother Tongue film got Amarachukwu Onoh from Nigeria the Best New Media Online video award. Rita Dominic got the New Era award. The trail Blazer award was given to Michelle Bello from Nigeria.

One of the greatest highlights of the night was the industry merit award which was won by Pete Edochie.

Impact of the award

Some of the celebrities commended MultiChoice on the initiative saying it will obviously  lift the industry. Emma Black a Nigerian but based in Ghana said “you will notice that there were stars from across countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. The essence is that whatever they have seen here at the award they are taking back to their country and that is how we spread. They will spread the gospel that Africa movie industry is growing fast”.

Ann Hanberger from Kenya (Actress producer) who is visiting Nigeria for the first time was happy for MultiChoice for the award because for the first time “we have something for Africa. The award will encourage African movie stars to up the standard of their movies because we want  quality movies in order to compete with other continents. If all the movies in Africa have better quality then we will compete with the rest of the world. She said MultiChoice is doing good.

Also Henry Lenge a film director and actor from Kenya said when he  directs films he sees  a lot of talent, big growth compared to the past and people have taken acting  as a real big job and not as a part time. It is now a serious business and we will grow”.

Rita Dominic said the award  is encouraging and it is a part on the back and makes actors and actresses to do more. This is a great platform we need to tell our story. It was not only rewarding one category but to celebrate everyone involved in  producing the film.

Biola Alabi, the managing director of M-Net Africa was e extremely excited that the award is  gaining momentum “and for us this is something we wanted to do for many years and for us at our second edition, we are so excited. Look at the way people are embracing us and look at how people are owning the award, we are so excited. Our determination is how to take the awards to greater height and this is what we can do with partnerships as we cannot do it alone”.

NB Plc, Multichoice look beyond creativity in AMVCA

With the global economic projections in favour of Africa, especially in the non oil and gas sectors, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Multichioce, lead sponsor and partner respectively in the Africa Movie Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) 2014 are looking beyond creativity to making the entertainment sector count in the African economy.

Considering the impact healthy rivalry, and world-class production would make in the African creative industry particularly entertainment, the brewery through Amstel Malta, noted at a post event briefing of the AMVCA 2014  that it led the sponsorship of the award because of the many opportunities the platform is creating for African movie industry.

Brand owners of Amstel Malta, were also impressed with the successful hosting, and hopes to continue the partnership and sponsorship of the event after the expiration of the first two years deal it signed with Multichoice.  “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 symbolises that”, says Walter Drenth, marketing director, Nigerian Breweries Plc., brewers of Amstel Malta.

Explaining the rationale for supporting the AMVCA, John Ugbe, managing director, Multichoice Nigeria, noted that the award is a platform that would not only ensure healthy rivalry, but enable movie producers in Africa to acquire necessary skills, competences, and most importantly equipments that will aid production of world-class movies lack of which has been the bane of African movies in the past.

Biola Alabi noted that the winners in the different categories were chosen because of the improvements, hardwork, professionalism and  their best ability to tell the African stories in ways that appeal to the viewers.

For the managing director, quality and well-produced movies are goldmine that can turn the economy of a country around. Using Hollywood as a reference point, Alabi noted that AMVCA is already creating the health rivalry that will see African movie industry getting stronger, appealing to global viewers and impacting on the industry and economy at large.

Daniel Obi and Emelike Obinna

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Mary Osaze is a highly acclaimed talent in picture books. She graduated from the University of Benin in 2009 and has since been working in the media industry. Although she lives in the UK in reality, in her mind she lives very close to her fatherland,Nigeria.