By BENJAMIN NJOKU
The sleepy, but oil-rich city of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital is bound to reverberate this evening as African film makers and stars gather there again for this year’s edition of the prestigious Africa Movie and Academy Award, AMAA.
Already, the city is bubbling with life even as tension, anxiety and expectations are thick in the air.
This year’s AMAA,which attracts a galaxy of celebrities and stars in the African movie industry, unlike the previous editions, promises to be exciting and superlative. The event is also packaged to mark the academy’s 10th year of celebrating African cultural heritage and creativity in grand style.
As remarked by Mrs. Ebizi Ndiomu Brown, Director General, Bayelsa State Tourism Development Agency, this year’s awards night will be unique and special in several ways because the agency intends to use the occasion to showcase the rich cultural heritage and promote the tourism and investment opportunities in the state.
“This is the tenth year Bayelsa State is hosting AMAA, and that means we will go the extra mile to ensure that we put together a grand ceremony which will remain a reference point in the entertainment industry in Nigeria,” Brown said.
Brown also reiterated the fact that this year’s event is being bankrolled by the public sector and some individuals who share in the vision of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson in transforming Bayelsa State into a tourism haven .
Interestingly, top contenders for this year’s awards are two South African films, “Of Good Report” and “The Forgotten Kingdom”,which showed strength of dominance, as evident in the academy’s nomination list released last month. The two films would contend with Nigeria’s “Accident”, “Potomanto” (Ghana), and “Children of Troumaron” (Mauritius) for the Best Film diadem at a ceremony, which holds at the newly refurbished Dr. Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre, Yenagoa.
But besides these top contenders, some important awards that would make the difference in this year’s AMAA because of the quality of the nominees include the Best Actor and Actress in a leading role; Best Director, Best African film, Best Cinematography and Best achievement in Visual award.
In the Best Actress category, Nigeria has four nominees including Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha(Accident), Clarion Chukwura(Apaye), Uche Jombo, Rodriquez, Monalisa Chinda and Daniella Okeke(Lagos Cougar) and Uche Nnadili(B for Boy)who will be contesting for the award with their counterparts from Ghana, Joselyn Dumas(Northern Affair) and Linda Sokhulu (Felix) from South Africa.
Also, in the Best Actor
category, Kanayo O. Kanayo(Apaye), Joseph Benjamin(Murder At Prime Suites), will have the star of South Africa’s “Of Good Report” Mothusi Magano, Ghana’s Majid Michel(Brothers Keeper), Adjatey Annan(Potomanto) and Zengo Ngqobe(Forgotten Kingdom) to beat. Interestingly, Emem Isong’s three movies, ‘Apaye’, ‘Lagos Cougars’ and ‘After The Proposal’ are expected to do Nollywood proud at this year’s AMAA. With six nominations, in the following categories; Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Achievement in Make Up and Best Nigerian film, “Apaye” will be the Nigerian film to watch at the awards ceremony.
Meanwhile, organisers yesterday released list of musical stars who are billed to perform at the continental event. They include, Fally Ipupa, Afro hip-hop superstar from the Democratic Republic of Congo,Nigerian contemporary higlife sensation, Flavour, Ghanaian 4×4 musical group and J-Martins.
Announcing the stars, Mr Tony Anih, Director of Administration of AMAA said, “’As an African brand, AMAA always parade the best of our musical stars and celebrities to perform and host the awards. We are continuing in that tradition again.” The awards which is being sponsored by Glo, MRS oil, Sterling Bank, BUA Group and FCMB, according to Mr. Anih, will be hosted by former AGN President, Segun Arinze, Nigerian-born British actor, LIoyd Nathaniel and Ghana’s Nana Asokor.
Also, while the highlights of the continental event will be aired on CNN,BBC,Al Jazeera and Fox News, the Red carpet event, it has been revealed will be anchored by Kenya’s Mariam Kaptuiya, Igantius Annor from Ghana and Nigeria’s John Mike Nwadibie among others. Indeed, Yenagoa is literally wearing a green look as major roads leading to the event venue have been heavily branded by the telecommunictaions giant,Globacom ahead of this evening’s show.