altThe celebration of this year’s African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) in Bayelsa State, will remain green in the memory of most Bayelsans and members of the motion picture world, as the State Government used the occasion to treat both visitors and the members of the public to the rich cultural endowments of the state because the State Capital city, Yenagoa, was literarily ignited with all sorts of cultural activities during the duration of the week-long event.

At the Ox-Bow Lake, where most of the cultural events took place, there was colourful boat regatta display by the various Local Government Areas in the State, just as there were colourful boats sailing across the lake, wrestling competitions, masquerade display, and cultural dances by various troupes.

As part of the AMAA 2013 experience, the Bayelsa State Government, in collaboration with the organizers, also hosted an International Book and Craft Fair at Izon House in Yenagoa, as well as doing the foundation laying ceremony of the Yenagoa Film City.

The high point of the events was the Movie Award Night on Saturday, April 20, 2013, at the popular Gloryland Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, where awards were presented to outstanding movies and movie stars in the continent, an evening where Nollywood key players got 13 out of the 27 awards.

Interesting, the late Nollywood icon, Justus Esiri, emerged as the Best Actor in a leading role, in the film, “Assassins Practice,” while the Best Actress in a leading role went to South Africa’s Florence Mesaba for the film, “Elelwani.”

Other winners are Belinda Effah (Best Promising Actor), for the film, “Kokoma;” the Best Director prize went to Niyi Akanni, for his outstanding work in the film, “Heroes and Zeroes,” just as Nollywood veterans, Eddie Ugbomah, Pete Edochie, and ace film director, Tunde Kalani, were among recipients of AMAA Lifetime Achievements Awards.

Speaking at the occasion, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was represented by the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, announced a donation of N25 million for the proposed Yenagoa Film City, while also stating that the N3 billion earlier pledged by the Federal Government to the movie industry will be made available in the next few weeks.

President Jonathan assured the Bayelsa State Government of both technical and financial support in the promotion of the tourism industry and estaaltblishing an Underwater Research and Imaging Centre in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to create training opportunity for the people.

The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), a platform of the Africa Film Academy, founded on the best film tradition, is geared towards research, training and propagating film making in Africa.

Established in 2005, AMAA aims at facilitating the development and relevance of African film and cinema, by providing a rewards and recognition mechanism for filmmakers in the continent, as African films serve as a link for Africans in the Diaspora with Africans at home, recognising the fact that these films have the potential to serve as a shared collective experience, a reminder that Africa is a vibrant continent filled with colour, energy and possibilities.

AMAA is therefore conceptualized as an annual celebration of the brightest and the best in African movie, about class and style, glitz and razzmatazz, as well as the first award of its kind, the biggest gathering of movie makers across the African continent.

Stakeholders agree that AMAA has exceeded expectations of being a Nigerian dream, fast becoming a global brand, which can compete favourably with the Oscar and Grammy Awards.

Omorogbe Moses
Corporate Affairs, SSZ