The city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria hosted the 2016 edition of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) on Saturday, June 8, 2016. The Obi Wali International Conference Centre was busy with celebrities walking the red carpet and getting their pictures taken. Cameras of all sizes were positioned on the red carpets. Cameramen were busy behind their cameras to capture golden moments the AMAA has been known for in the last twelve years.
Inside the hall, the event was underway with the Rivers State governor, Ezenwo Wike giving his welcome address to the dignitaries from Nigeria and Africa who converged on his state to witness the awards. In attendance were the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State, Steve Ayorinde, Wife of Rivers State governor, Justice Eberechi Wike, members of the House of Representatives like Honourable Gbajabiamila among other dignitaries.
Shaibu Husseini, president of Jury AMAA 2016 said in his juror statement that every year, in the last twelve years, hundreds of films from across the continent and its Diaspora arrive at the AMAA offices. “This year, we received close to 485 movie entries from over 60 countries, mostly within Africa and also from around the world out of which we only considered about 65 in different genres for nomination in about 26 categories. We commend the work done by the Academy’s College of Screeners and at the other levels of pre-selection. We salute their professionalism and thoroughness and note that the selection of films and nominations truly reflects the Pan-African vision for the future of the African film and media industry that AMAA promotes. Indeed, we are encouraged by the ever increasing number of entries being received from a larger geographic sphere and we look forward to the continuation of this trend.”
According to him, the jury noticed a growing diversity of genres amongst the films they saw. “We also observed a visible development in exploring cinematographic styles especially in the field of storytelling/narration and art direction. We note also a strong presence of women in front of and behind the camera. A couple of the films we have in nomination were either made by women or produced by women. This sure-footed emergence of women filmmakers on the African continent is very promising, encouraging and refreshing for audiences and female professionals in the industry.
“However, we observed a decline in movies for children and about children. We have over the years handed out awards to child actors but we decided as a jury not to consider that category this year because of inadequate entries. Although we are not oblivious of the present lull in production activities in the film industries on the African continent and in the Diaspora, we urge our filmmakers to seek out and produce those stunning range of films that celebrates our young ones and stories that tell us that the cinema is alive and well in our continent.”
Hilarious Port Harcourt comedian, Arinze Baba, took to the stage to share rib cracking jokes that sent the audience laughing for a long time. Before long the first set of awards was announced with ‘Meet The Parents’ (Nigeria/Canada) winning the first prize of the night in the Efere Ozako Amaa 2016 Award For Best Short Film category. The Pencil (Burkina Faso), The Fruitless Tree (Niger) And Missing God (Nigeria) won in Amaa 2016 Award For Best Animation, Amaa 2016 Award For Best Documentary, Ousmane Sembene Amaa 2016 Award For Best Film In An African Language categories respectively.
The queen of music, Yinka Davies took the audience into the heart of her music with her powerful voice and performance. Harry Song would later charge the hall with the performance of his hit song, ‘After the Reggae Play Blues’. Everyone stood on their feet as they gyrated to the rhythm of his song. His performance changed the tone of the night.
It was also a night of surprises as long standing actors were appreciated for their contributions to the Nigerian film industry. Veteran actor, Joke Silva and her husband Olu Jacobs were called to the stage to give awards but it turned out that they were called to be given an award to their surprise and that of the audience.
They were honoured with AMAA Life Time Achievement Awards. An emotional Silva could not hide her joy as she spoke: “We didn’t know this was coming. Peace just told us she needed our support and for us to be at the awards. She didn’t tell us about this at all. We are grateful,” she said breaking into tears.
Actor Richard Mofe Damijo was also honoured with the AMAA Life Time Achievement Award. “Wow, I am surprised. I want to say a big thank you to Peace for this. Thank you to Mr Mike Adenuga who nominated me to be the commissioner for tourism in Delta State. This award is for the young boys on the streets of Warri, Zamfara, Kano, who are struggling to make a living and be heard,” he said.
It was an amazing night at the AMAAs this year. Below is the list of winners
WINNERS OF AMAA 2016
- EFERE OZAKO AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM
MEET THE PARENTS (NIGERIA/CANADA)
- AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST ANIMATION
THE PENCIL (BURKINA FASO)
- AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY
THE FRUITLESS TREE (NIGER)
- OUSMANE SEMBENE AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST FILM IN AN AFRICAN LANGUAGE
MISSING GOD (NIGERIA)
- MICHAEL ANYIAM OSIGWE AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST FILM BY AN AFRICAN LIVING ABROAD
- AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST DIASPORA SHORT
ACROSS THE TRACK (USA)
- AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST DIASPORA DOCUMENTARY
IT IS A JOINT AWARD AND THE AWARD GOES TO: SPIRIT OF REBELLION (USA) AND AGENTS OF CHANGE (USA)
- AMAA 2016 AWARD FOR BEST DIASPORA FEATURE
BEN AND ARA (USA)