Stories by Vanessa Obioha
To ensure that filmmakers do not misconstrue the eligibility guidelines for its Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), the Africa Film Academy devoted quality time to explaining the criteria for participation as it calls for film submissions for the 19th edition at a recent press briefing.
The convener Peace Anyiam-Osigwe emphasised that the award is not a popularity contest but a professional competition that rewards professionalism across Africa.
“One of the aims for creating AMAA is to provide and create a networking platform and avenue for African filmmakers and practitioners to interact while getting rewarded for their creativity, uniqueness, authenticity and professionalism. We are not a popularity contest, we are a professional contest that rewards professionalism, hence, why AMAA has two faces to it, which is the critical look and judgment of professionalism and the glamorous part,” she said.
The Head of AMAA’s College of Screeners, Dr. Shaibu Husseni added that most filmmakers do not read the rules before submitting their entries.
“So you find someone sending us a film that has been produced two years prior to the award review year. For instance, you cannot submit a film produced in 2021 for the 2023 awards. It has to be in 2022. We have had a situation where people changed the copyright dates just to participate in the awards.”
Some of the guidelines clarified by Husseni included submitting all films to FilmFreeway, the official portal for submission; films to be submitted by filmmakers, and not by proxy.
“The filmmaker has to submit the film because he has to sign off that the film is completed. Some of our Nigerian filmmakers submit films that are in the works for the competition. You can’t send a 30 per cent ready film to the AMAA, it has to be fully completed. We are not going to look at popular faces or how much the film made to consider you for the awards. They have to be deliberate about entering for their work.”
Others include the non-acceptance of films with commercials or trailers (trailers are submitted differently); all films must be submitted before the deadline and filmmakers should provide the correct credits for their works.
Husseni further clarified the difference between the country of film and the origin of the film, stating that they only encourage films that have Africans or filmmakers of African descent. While he praised Nigerian filmmakers for raising the bar in technicality, he advised that filmmakers entering the awards for the first time should preview past entries. He also hinted at plans to expand the College of Screeners and expressed optimism about the number of entries for the 19th edition.
“We are expecting to record a high number of entries in 2023 because COVID is almost gone.”
Revealing further plans for the upcoming edition, Kingsley James who serves as AMAA’s Chief Operating Officer revealed that the edition will be a seven-day creative week that will celebrate every form of the creative arts, that is, from fashion to music. He disclosed that there will be a monthly dialogue with the stakeholders in the film industry to tackle critical topics. Such discussions according to Anyiam-Osigwe include the mystery behind the streaming numbers that do not really tally well with the revenue generated. Additionally, AMAA plans to screen the five biggest films in AMAA 2022 to the media so they can understand why these films were nominated and won big.
While Lagos State remains the host for next year’s awards, the organisers are planning to host other activities outside the state.
The call for entry opened on Dec 1 and will close on March 30, 2023. The extended deadline will run till June 30, 2023. Pre-selection of the films will begin in February 2023 while nominations for the 19th edition will be unveiled in August 2023.