Peace Ayiam-Osigwe’s Nollywood Trajectory

Ferdinand  Ekechukwu

“My fulfillment is building a platform, an avenue where filmmakers can be rewarded for professionalism and not just glamour only. In the next two years, AMAA would have done so much for the African film industry as a whole.”  Such remarkable words of Peace Ayiam-Osigwe taken from a recent interview tell much about one of her most outstanding legacies – the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).

News of her death broke in the early hours of last Monday, January 10, 2023 and was later confirmed by her family. Peace was a pioneer who broke down barriers for Africans in the entertainment industry, which she called home for decades. AMAA which she founded and strived to sustain was a precursor for other film awards ceremonies in Africa.

Peace was also the President of the Association of Movie Producers. Her demise has been generating reactions from the movie world with industry practitioners pouring out tributes on their respective social media pages. She was a writer and filmmaker with a core interest in using her works to advocate for black communities, the African caste system, child trafficking, and women’s equality.

In 2005, she founded the Africa Film Academy, which is an arm of AMAA, an award ceremony that has celebrated African filmmakers for over a decade. The award ceremony is reputed to be one of the most recognised awards for African filmmakers. In 2015, she began the AfricaOne initiative to commemorate Africans in the entertainment industry.

The #AFRICAONE project transcended the filmmaking space and ate into the dance, music, and visual arts. It was a project that pushed the African art sector onto the global stage. In 2020, she became the seventh National President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), where she initiated a project called the “100 Film Project,” which was targeted at improving the quality of films coming from Nollywood.

She announced the project in 2021, during the 17th edition of the AMAA awards, and shared that the plan was for them to make a total of 100 films in 18 months. Her last public appearance was in December 2022 at the unveiling of AMAA’s calendar for its 19th edition at the Radisson Hotel in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. At the occasion, the late filmmaker unveiled the plans and activities ahead of the 19th edition of the continental film awards. She also announced a call for entry ahead of the 2023 edition of the AMAA.

A recipient of the national honours award, Peace Ayiam-Osigwe was documented as the creative woman who pioneered the screening of Nollywood films at international film festivals. And in one of her conversations was noted that her greatest achievement in the industry isn’t just the AMAA—her legacy, which people would know her for—but also some of the other things she has done differently in trying to get people to respect Nollywood internationally.

Being the first person to get Nollywood into a film festival as a proper film genre was definitely an achievement for her and a step in the right direction.

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