Nigeria, the film making capital of Africa, again established her preeminence in the continent’s motion picture industry during the just-concluded 2013 Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA, snagging 13 out of the 27 categories of the highly-sought after prize.
Held on Saturday night at the Gloryland Cultural Centre in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the ninth edition of the prestigious film award saw “Confusion Na Wah”, a film by emerging director, Kenneth Gyang, win the keenly-contested Best Film prize.
Late Nollywood actor, Justus Esiri, also emerged the Best Actor in a Leading Role. Esiri, 71, who died in February 20 and was buried on April 12 in his home town in Abraka, Delta State, won the award for his role in the film titled “Assassins’ Practice.”
Although, South Africa followed Nigeria with four awards, this year’s award for Best Actress in a Leading Role went to South Africa’s Florence Maseba, for the film “Elelwani”.
Some other Nigerian winners at the glamorous, star-studded event included Belinda Effah, Best Promising Actor for the film “Kokoma”, while Best Director prize went to Niyi Akanni, for his outstanding work in the film, “Heroes and Zeros”.
Nigerian documentary “Fuelling Poverty” took top honours in the Best Documentary category, as Nollywood veterans, Chief Eddie Ugbomah, Pete Edochie and ace film director, Tunde Kelani were among recipients of AMAA Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has announced a donation of N25 million to the proposed Yenagoa Film City, while also stating that the N3billion earlier pledged to the movie industry would be made available to it in the next few weeks.
The President, who was speaking at the award event, urged the movie industry to focus more on telling stories that portray Africa in its proper perspective and commended the industry for collaborating with other African countries to tell stories across borders.
Represented by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, President Jonathan also assured the Bayelsa State government of technical and financial support in the promotion of the tourism industry and establishing an Underwater Research and Imaging Centre in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, to create training opportunities for the people.
Also speaking at the event, Governor Seriake Dickson, announced the institution of a Bayelsa State Indigenous Movie Trust Fund with an initial donation of N250 million for the development of budding talents, which would be managed by persons from within and outside the state.
Dickson congratulated Nollywood on the feat achieved by one of its stars, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde for her induction as one of the 100 most influential personalities in the world by Time Magazine, describing it as a stamp of global approval for the movie industry in the country.
Dickson pointed out that beyond the fun and glamour of AMAA, the event would be used as an avenue for promoting tourism, agriculture and manufacturing as well as prepare for a postoil era.
The colourful event, which rounded off at about 4.00 am yesterday morning, was also attended by Rivers State Deputy Governor, Engineer Tele Ikuru, who represented Governor Rotimi Ameachi; South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Loius Nmguni, as well as ministers and family members of Malawian President, Joyce Banda; and film personalities from across Africa, among others
. It also featured performances by musicians from Nigeria, South Africa and Malawi as well as some Nigerian comedians.