Why the AMVCA Matters to Nigerian Entertainment Industry

By Vanessa Obioha

Born in 2013 from a recognition of the immense potential of African films and fuelled by the dissatisfaction that the creativity and talent were not reaching beyond the shores of the continent, the AMVCA has finally reached its milestone edition, and it is set to take place this weekend.

Expectedly, speculations are rife on what exactly the AMVCA 10 would present, save for the usual glitz and glamour, dresses and looks that cut a dash and a gathering of celebrities and talent in a room radiating with stardom. But the AMVCA serves as both a momentary as well as a long-term reprieve, especially against the current backdrop of a nation decimated by economic downturn — a reality vividly depicted in a recent report by SBM Intelligence, highlighting the exponential increase in prices of commodities in Nigeria.

The AMVCA, after all, stands not only as one of the most extravagant awards ceremonies in Africa but also as a significant booster of the nation’s economy, having invested over N9 billion and creating an estimated total of 27,000 jobs through its last nine editions. The hospitality, transportation and logistics, fashion and beauty, event planning, marketing and creative design industries are some of the direct sector beneficiaries.

For every viewer who embraces the ideals of what the AMVCA represents, a sceptic wonders whether they’re worth the big to-do. And one needs only to highlight some of the positives of the awards show to placate those doubts.

For starters, a nomination alone can transform one’s career.

“Before AMVCA, I was just an actor; when I won, I became a recognised actor, and after AMVCA, I became a popular actor, and now, I have become a celebrated actor,” says Rotimi Salami, Nollywood Actor.

“It’s the most talked-about event in Africa; it’s the combination of the MET Gala, Oscar and Emmys all in one. Fashion statements are made, funny red-carpet moments captured, and people’s life-changing moments captured; it’s a beautiful night that showcases talent in Africa. We all get to visit another country through film,” says ex-reality TV star turned actress and filmmaker, Diane Russet.

Undoubtedly, an AMVCA win is a career highlight — the kind that leads to larger paychecks and budgets. Even a nomination is a remarkable achievement given the hundreds of qualified films in contention each year. It’s especially a boost in visibility for those who work behind the scenes in the more technical aspects of filmmaking, such as sound engineers, lighting or costume design.

Yet, the influence of the awards show extends far beyond individual careers. It has helped to raise the profile and prestige of the African film industry, encouraging more investment and support from both local and international stakeholders.

The grand production and presentation of the awards capture the attention of the global film community, promoting African cinema on an international scale and fostering opportunities for collaborations and co-productions. This, in turn, raises standards for production quality, encouraging filmmakers to invest in better equipment, technology, and production values.

Moreover, the recognition and prestige associated with the AMVCA help attract investment and funding to the African film industry, leading to increased production budgets and improved resources for filmmakers.

Just as the AMVCA “has enabled audience expansion for African films majorly by Pan African inclusion and creating the platform of opportunity for creative cross-pollination,” as actress Osas Ighodaro notes, the AMVCA also has “the biggest red carpet on the continent. Giving young designers a chance to be a part of that is a huge opportunity,” according to Mai Atafo, bespoke Fashion Designer.

This is to say, the AMVCA has emerged as a platform for showcasing African fashion and style. The red carpet at the AMVCA serves as a runway for glamorous and trend-setting outfits, showcasing the creativity and talent of African designers. This synergy between entertainment and fashion elevates the overall experience of the event and contributes to the promotion of African fashion on a global scale.

In addition, the awards show enhances talent development by offering various masterclasses tailored for budding and established practitioners within the industry during the AMVCA event. This initiative is spearheaded by the MultiChoice Talent Factory, which offers training programs, workshops, and opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to hone their skills, gain industry exposure, and make meaningful contributions to the field. Distinguished professionals from different sectors of the industry cover a wide array of themes and topics, conducting training sessions, and holding engaging discussions with aspiring filmmakers.

In and around the Eko Hotel and Suites, VI, Lagos, where the event will be held this weekend, on May 10 and 11, visitors from all around the continent will flock to bars, restaurants, and hotels, and utilise the services of various car rental agencies. The impact, therefore, extends beyond the realms of filmmaking to promote tourism and destination marketing across the nation. The AMVCA sparks curiosity and interest in exploring African destinations and this exposure boosts tourism and highlights investment opportunities within the tourism sector, ultimately contributing to economic growth and job creation.

Indeed, MultiChoice’s N9 billion investment in the creative industry through the AMVCA is no mean feat. But there’s still a long way to go — Africa only contributes 1% to a global creative economy valued at $2.2 trillion.

John Ugbe, CEO of West Africa, MultiChoice, acknowledges this disparity and underscores the need for a forward-looking stance for the AMVCA. He properly wraps it up: “While the industry is progressing at an impressive rate, more vigour and dynamism need to be applied in optimising its contribution to the socio-economic life of African countries and their people. AMVCA will remain a key player in the pursuit of this mission.”

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