By Tope Ajayi
Published September 30, 2015
Mauritania’s TIMBUKTU led the pack in the number of awards collected during the 11th Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) gala in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on September 26, 2015.
Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, TIMBUKTU won four AMAA statuettes for Best Film, Best Film in an African Language, Best Child Actor and Best Director. It was followed by Nigeria’s OCTOBER 1 by Kunle Afolayan which won in 3 categories: Best Actor in a Leading Role (won by veteran actor Sadiq Daba, Best Costume Design and Best Nigerian Film (a prize endowed by the Bayelsa State Government).
South Africa, with the film, INUMBER NUMBER, and Mauritius, with the LONBRAZ KANN, registered their presence on the winners’table. Other countries on the winners’ list at the ceremony held in Boardwalk Convention Centre, included Ethiopia, with TRIANGLE GOING TO AMERICA, Egypt with EGYPT’s MODERN PHARAOHS and Angola with NJINGA: QUEEN OF ANGOLA.
Meanwhile Nigeria’s Tony Elumelu, Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UUBA) Plc and Heirs Holdings, has accepted his new role as Honorary Counsel to AMAA, the awards body for African and Diaspora filmmakers.
Elumelu accepted his new status alongside other honorees such as Horace Ove, Harry Belafonte and Melvin Van Peebles who also bagged lifetime achievement awards.
In a speech read on his behalf by Peace Anyiam-Osigwe at the awards ceremony, Elumelu said he would continue to promote the arts and entrepreneurship in Africa for self-determination and self-empowerment, economic and social development of the Continent and for pure entertainment.
“I am proud to be an Honorary Counsel for the AMAA, proud to be your ambassador and proud to be a long-term investor in the African industry. More than that, I am proud to be a consumer of your products and a fan of your enormous talents,” said the social entrepreneur and banker. “I am committed to supporting the industry, because I, like everyone else, want to be entertained. Good films educate, mystify, frighten or inspire us. They make us laugh, hold us in suspense, teach us important life lessons, chronicle important moments, give us insight into other perspectives of the same story and transport us to imagined places anywhere in time and space. They connect us to every emotion that man is capable of experiencing, because we all love a good story.”
The Founder of AMAA, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, and its CEO, Dayo Ogunyemi, jointly expressed satisfaction with the awards show despite the visa challenges many delegates faced.
In her speech, Anyiam-Osigwe challenged the government of South Africa to do more in opening the country to other African citizens as African nations fought alongside South Africa to defeat Apartheid.
“For the first time in history of 11 years of AMAA, many of our nominees could not attend because of the difficulty process and delays in getting South Africa visas issued whereas Britons, Americans, French and Germans do not require visas to enter South Africa. Why should any African need a visa to enter any country in Africa? The Europeans that gave us borders have removed theirs for free movement.”