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At The AMAA: Hausa Filmmakers Yearn For Presence

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By Al-amin ciroma

The capital city of Bayelsa State, Yenagoa is set and will tomorrow erupt in ovations and a great reception when winners in the 26 categories of the 7th edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) will be announced. Giving the breakdown of the nominations as announced on 25th February in Kenya, the Chief Executive Officer of the award body, Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe at a media briefing said Congo and South Africa got the highest nominations. She said that although ‘Viva River,’ a film from Congo had the highest single nominations, South Africa has four films that are very competitive that made the nominations too.

“The four South African films in competition include ‘Hope Ville’ with nine nominations, ‘Izulu Lami,’ seven nominations, ‘Shirley Adams,’ five nominations and ‘A Small Town Called Decent’ with six nominations. Combined together, South Africa had the highest nominations by a country with a total of 27 nominations.” She stated.

Other African countries in the contest include Ghana and Kenya. Ghana’s ‘Sinking Sound’ had 10 nominations and Kenya’s ‘Soul Boy’ had six nominations, while Nigeria has four films that are also prominent on the nomination list. They include ‘Maami’, a film directed by Tunde Kelani’s ‘Inale,’ directed by Jeta Amata; Niyi Akanji’s ‘Aramotu,’ and Mahmood Alli-Balogun’s ‘Tango with Me.’ judging by country nominations, Nigeria trails South Africa with 23 nominations.

‘’I want to say we have strong films across Africa and the diaspora in competition for this year’s AMAA and all the films that made the nominations, whether they win or not in their different categories are good films that will do well in film circuits around the world,’’ she stated.

She also stated that more than seventy percent of the nominees across Africa and beyond have signified interest to attend the awards in Nigeria while reiterating the readiness of the organisers and host State, Bayelsa to welcome guests from within and outside Nigeria.

‘’The good thing about this year’s AMAA is that our guests will experience Bayelsa in a new way as we have events lined up for a whole week. AMAA this year will not be a day’s event. There will be opportunity to network, share experiences and even make co-production deals with other filmmakers. Visitors will explore the sights and sounds of Bayelsa to feel the people and culture of the state. Besides, oil rich Bayelsa has great tourism potentials waiting for enterprenuers to grab.’’ she declared.

Over the years AMAA has been conceptualised as an annual celebration of the brightest and the best in African movie. It is about class and style, blitz, glitz and razzmatazz. AMAA, according to critics is regarded as the biggest gathering of movie makers across the African continent and the diaspora. It is to show the world that the rating of Nollywood as the world’s second largest producers of movies as a well-deserved feat.

Hauwa Maina is an ace filmmaker cum actress in the north, she works tirelessly in promoting the Hausa movie industry. Maina sees AMAA as the largest event that attracts all key players, including those from grassroots in the industry. According to her, there is need for the African filmmakers to unite and face global challenges and trends in the motion picture world. “In 2008, AMAA introduced a category for ‘Indigenous films where several Nigerian indigenous films, including one movie from Cameroun, were nominated-‘Iranse Aje’, ‘Ipa’, ‘Hafsah’, ‘Onitemi’ and ‘Tabou’ from Cameroun. It was really fun and most us were delighted because we felt the event is African. I was personally delighted when a Kannywood movie, ‘Hafsah’ was nominated in the category, but since then, it was shelved. I am calling on our indigenous filmmakers to work harder in retaining the category and even go beyond it for additional slots in the contest.”

A cross section of the Hausa filmmakers who aired their views on the event, yearn for the presence of their movies to be recognised at prestigious African event. Others criticise the organisers for margnialisation. Murtala Mohammed Aniya is also one of the promising filmmakers in the Hausa movie industry. In her assertions, she said, “The only actor recognised by AMAA is Ali Nuhu, and the only movie that will earn their jury’s attention will be the ones that featured him, but unknown to them, Ali is just one out of millions of Kannywood actors. There are so many Ali Nuhu’s, we have a lot of talents emerging in the industry, I am throwing this challenge to the organisers of the awards to come to the north and explore the talents we have here,” said Aniya.

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