Tonight’s events in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital in Nigeria can rewrite history of the hitherto obscure Malawi’s movie industry as the continent marks the ninth edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
Designed to celebrate and honour filmmakers and other professionals in the industry across Africa and in the diaspora, the AMAA has come to be known as Africa’s most prestigious motion picture award ceremony.
And for the second time, a local movie got nominated for several honours at the awards that acknowledge hard work and excellence in film productions.
Shemu Joyah’s The Last Fishing Boat received five out of the 25 AMAA nominations at a ceremony that took place in Lilongwe.
In 2010, another of Joyah film, Seasons of a Life, received eight nominations, but only won one award for the best performance by an actress in a supporting role played by Tapiwa Gwaza.
The Last Fishing Boat
was nominated for best movie made in Mother/African language, best picture and best sound track.
It also received a nomination for the best sound track, best director for Joyah’s role and best leading actress for Flora Suya’s role as Abiti Anifa in the movie.
“I am very excited that for the second time I have been nominated for AMAA leading actress. This means I am growing as an actress and I must say, having missed the same honour in 2010, I am sure of getting it right this time,” said Suya.
She is battling it out with one of Nollywood’s superstars, Rita Dominic and other A-list actresses nominated in the same category are Yvonne Okoro, Florence Masebe, Mariam Ouedraogo and Mbutung Seikeh. But Suya is unfazed by the stellar names.
“I know I did a good job in The Last Fishing Boat as such, I am sure of getting an award. I might have missed it in 2010 to Ghana’s Jackie Appiah, but not this time around because I am much better,” she said. Joyah believes Malawi’s nominations at AMAA are a step in the right direction for the budding film industry.
“I am happy and impressed with the nominations which I must admit, was unexpected. Malawi is slowly getting there. I am looking forward to the awards,” said Joyah.
Also attending AMAA awards presentation are some cast members of The Last Fishing Boat, including Joyce Chavula and Lloyd ‘Agorosso’ Phaundi.
Musicians Joseph Tembo and Groove Magic Band are also there. Tembo is set to raise the Malawi flag with the band when he performs at the awards presentation alongside several Nigerian and international stars.
“I have not been active in the music circles due to my joining politics but that does not mean that I have lost touch with my musical side. I will truly represent Malawi through my Mbira music,” he said before leaving on Thursday.
Many people now agree that AMAA has exceeded expectations of being a Nigerian dream to a global brand which can compete with the Oscars and Grammys.
The first three editions were rightfully tagged ‘Nollywood’ award by some critics, but the awards have since become a most sought after piece of honour on the continent.
The judges include seasoned film journalists, veterans in cinematography, experts in acting and production from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Nigeria.
Today, the AMAA train has moved across over 40 African countries, Malawi inclusive.
The wide acceptance of the brand across the globe testifies to its unprecedented number of entries recorded this year. Over 671 entries were received for this edition.