‘Why corporate Nigeria need to support us’
By Benjamin Njoku
AHEAD of the hosting of this year’s edition of the prestigious Africa Movie Academy awards,AMAA, founder of the body, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, went down memory lane during the week, declaring that the transparency and integrity of AMAA jury members are the rare qualities that set the brand apart from other award organizations in Nigeria.
Peace,made this clarification during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos. This year’s AMAA awards is scheduled to hold on Saturday, July 15, at the National Theatre complex, Iganmu , Lagos.
According to her, although, the uncompromising firm stand of AMAA jury members has earned the brand a bad name than it has given it a good name, the past 13 years has seen AMAA moved away from being an African brand to a global brand.
Reviewing the activities of AMAA in the past 13 years, Peace said, apart from rewarding movie stars in Africa, AMAA has trained over 5000 youths in film making. Besides, “Toronto Film Festival did not just happen. We invested by ensuring that jury members of these international film festivals are part of AMAA. It’s important we begin to make that evaluation between what is a sustainable event and event that survive on its own.”
On competing with the organizers of Africamagic Viewers Choice Awards, AMVCA, Peace noted that they are not in competition with any award organization. “Dstv gives AMAA major support in terms of coverage. So, we don’t see them as our competitors. We are not in competition with AMVCA. We have Best of Nollywood Awards,BON, and other award bodies. For me, the more the merrier. You should look at what makes you different. What makes AMAA different is the transparency in our selection process and the fact that it’s totally based on merit. The transparency and integrity of our jury members are part of the things that our critics are using to give us a bad name,” she said.
Speaking further, Peace said, “AMAA is more respected by AMVCA. AMAA is not a voting awards. I heard some people were questioning why films like ‘’76′ which got many nominations, including in the Best Director of Cinematography at AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards couldn’t get nominations at AMAA. I replied them, saying they should evaluate the quality of the films in competition this year.”
Peace believes that after 13 years of existence, AMAA supposed to be a strong brand that corporate Nigeria should be willing to do business with. “I can’t understand why we can’t have major sponsorship. I’m trying to move away from government support for AMAA. But Government need to feel the value of tourism. And we understand the valuation of tourism and what AMAA brings to the table. It’s not just an award that brings a lot of people into the country, but how do you know make use of those people to impact on your economy through tourism.”
“That’s what I think Bayelsa State missed it when the state was hosting the awards ceremony. There has never been an evaluation of the movie industry and there has never been an evaluation of what AMAA has brought into the nation’s economy in the past 13 years. AMAA has ensured that our films break into the international film circuit.”
Peace, however, revealed that part of the reasons she technically stepped aside in 2014, was to make the AMAA brand self-sustainable. “I didn’t want it to be about Peace,” she enthused.