ByÂ AzukaÂ Ogujiuba
It was a befitting night of glamour and celebration for practitioners in the motion picture industry across Africa and the Diaspora at the 13th edition of Africa Movie Academy Awards which took place recently at Eko Hotel.
The awards officially hosted by the Lagos State Government had over 4000 people in attendance and delegates from 40 countries within and outside Africa was broadcast live on both the Lagos Television (LTV) and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and scores of international and local media organisations in attendance.
It was a night of high stake networking among celebrities, business and public sector leaders in Lagos.
The host-Governor, Akinwumi Ambode who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, expressed his joy and that of the government and people of the state in hosting the continental event adding that Lagos under his leadership believes in the power of the creative and film industry as a potent force to positively project the image of Africa beyond the negative stereotype of western media.
The governor showered encomium on the founder of AMAA, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, for her tenacity and hard work that have sustained the AMAA brand for 13 years.
â€œWe are happy that AMA Awards returned to Lagos 5 years after it held here in 2012. I congratulate the nominees for being considered worthy of the honours,â€ Ambode said.
Anyiam-Osigwe in her brief remarks expressed her gratitude and that of her team to Lagos State and to the awardsâ€™ Jury members who have ensured the integrity of the awards remains unassailable.
â€œThank you to His Excellency, Governor Ambode for making this yearâ€™s AMAA possible. I say very big thank you from my heart.Â
To my colleagues in the film industry I want to say we should continue to use our films to promote integration and socio-economic progress of our continent. We are one as Africans and our governments should make it easy for us to move within Africa for more collaboration without restrictions,â€ she said.
Â At the awards night, Felicite from Senegal â€” a movie about a nightclub singer who grapples to pay for her sonâ€™s treatment after a road accident â€” snagged awards in three of the six major categories. It won best film, best actress in a leading role, and best supporting actor.
Nigerian historical drama, â€™76, won three awards from its eight nominations. The Izu Ojukwu-directed flick won best production design, achievement in production and Lagos state award for best Nigerian film.
Vaya, a South African film directed by a Nigeria and the film with highest nominations (ten) picked up three awards, which include best director for Akin Omotoso and best screenplay while Queen of Katwe,from Uganda starring Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyongâ€™o,Â won two of its eight nominations.
In total, Nigeria won nine awards, inclusive of the lifetime achievement honour given to veteran comic-actor Nkem Owoh.
The event had in attendance several celebrities including Olu Jacobs, Bimbo Akintola, Ramsey Nouah, among others. Celine Loader, a Cameroonian and an oil industry executive in Lagos was also given Special Recognition Award for her contribution to the growth of the film industry in Africa and Nigeria in particular.Â
Ykee Bender, a Ugandan pop star, Nigerian Highlife Musician, Paul Play Dairo, Maestro Band and Afro Juju Music legend Sir. Shina Peters performed at the award ceremony.