By Benjamin Njoku
The sleepy city of Akure, the Ondo State capital reverberated last Sunday night, when Nollywood stars and other stakeholders took turns to walk the red carpet and pose for shots as this year’s edition of the Best of Nollywood Awards, BON, held amid glitz and glamour in the state.
The awards ceremony, which held at the Ultra-Modern Dome of the International Event Centre, Akure, indisputably shook the ancient city to its very foundation.
The likes of Zeb Ejiro, Nobert Young, Segun Arinze, Femi Branch, and Tade Ogidan who received a special recognition award for his outstanding achievements in the nation’s film industry alongside former president Goodluck Jonathan, Godswill Akpabio, and Patience Ozokwor, were among the Nollywood oldies that lighted up the event which was anchored by vibrant actor Gideon Okeke and Bimbo Akintola.
Meanwhile, the high point of the event was the presentation of awards to the deserving winners. The biggest winners of the night were Stephanie Okereke’s advocacy film, “Dry”, which won three awards, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay and Movie with the Best Social message, Kunle Afolanyan’s “October 1” won Best Production Design, Best Actor and Best Costume Awards while Lancelot Imasuen’s “Invasion 1897”won awards for the Best Movie of the Year, Best Director and Best Soundtrack.
Other winners on the night include,Sadiq Daba who won the Best Actor in a leading role (English)for his role in Kunle Afolayan’s “October 1″, Kalu Ikeagwu( Best Supporting Actor), Nse Ikpe Etim won Best Actress(English) for her role in “Stolen Water”, while Fathia Balogun of the Yoruba genre(Best Actress). Best Actress award in an Igbo movie went to Queen Nwokoye for her role in Chetanaa” while Ejike Asiegbu’s son, Etochi picked Best Child Actor award for his role in “ Little Ryan. Aldo, Best Kiss award went to “Koseanne Marcel and Seun Akindele for the exotic role the played in “One Minute Man”.
According to BON Head of jury, Niran Adedokun, about 150 films were entered for the 40 categories this year after which it was streamlined to 60 films. “We will honour 38 winners in the competitive categories while there will be about six honorary awards,” Adedokun said.
Adedokun lamented the dearth of indigenous movies, saying ” some of our indigenous languages may go into extinction if we do not make conscious efforts to entrench them. Films remain one of the most useful vehicles for this purpose and that is the opportunity BON offers.”
“We were interested in how much the film makers were able to to tell the African stories and the unrestrained access to those stories with the language and culture of filmmaking. We go the extra mile to see those things which are essentially a promotion of the Nigerian culture.”
Speaking further, he said, “Without any fear of contradiction, this jury would like to register the fact that movie making in Nigeria has taken a great leap. From the quality of stories and the treatment of those stories, to the quality of acting, competent interpretation of roles, to directing, scenery and photography. We also saw some very daring and innovative attempts to go beyond the norm in the movies submitted this year. And at the end of it, one can say boldly that Nigeria filmmakers have this last one year, moved steps towards excellence, in spite of all the odds.”
I wasn’t expecting to win any award — Lancelot
Speaking shortly after the event, Lancelot Imasuen expressed satisfaction with the organization of the awards. Specifically, he disclosed that he wasn’t expecting to win any award at the event.
“I am elated tonight. Iam actually overwhelmed because I didn’t attend this event hoping to pick any award. Not because one wasn’t sure of what he was capable of doing, or the impression the film has created in the minds of the people but the fear that the judges might not be honest enough in their selection.
“For Invasion 1897, it is a dream come through. We won four awards at ZAFAA and we have achieved the same feast at BON. I was disappointed that we didn’t win the special effects award. It was the only award I was hoping to win. There is no special way to end the year than carting these awards away.Also, it is not only winning the Best film of the year that excites me, but winning the best director award. I won the best director from ZAFAA and I have also won the best director from BON.”
Omowunmi goes emotional on stage!
One of the queens of the awards night was Omowunmi Dada. The rising actress cum TV presenter was adjudged BON Best Supporting Actress of the Year for her role as Peju in “Ojuju.” Dressed in topless blue gown, the actress was all smiles. But when she climbed the stage to receive the award, Omowunmi broke down in tears, saying “This is my first ever award as a actor.”
“I have been recognized before now as an actress but for my work and creativity, this is the very first award I would be getting and it means a lot to me,”she told HVP. Omowunmi further said that winning the award came to her as a big shock given the quality of the actresses that were nominated in the same category with her.
My state will go into film production—Mimko
Elated Governor Olusegun Mimiko demonstrated how much passion he has for the industry. When it was time for him to address the gathering, the governor revealed that he was a huge fan of the Nigerian movies and he was even more glad because his state has been monumental to the growth of the industry.
“Most Nollywood practitioners are from Ondo State. Ondo is actually the home of Nollywood. I congratulate Nollywood and I am a fan of the industry.’ the governor revealed. He called on more investors to take advantage of the huge prospects in the Nigerian movie industry, stressing that Nollywood is one of the major exports from the country.
“For many people, Nollywood is the identity of Nigeria. I want to call on more investors to invest in Nollywood, because Ondo State would soon start investing in Film Production. Nollywood is one of the best exports Nigeria has, and it contributes almost two per cent to Nigeria’s GDP,” the governor said.