Written By: Ekine Stronghold
As the world gears itself for the 10th edition of the Africa movie academy awards (AMAA) it is worth the while to appreciate the work that has gone into building the brand. I insist that we have only experienced the tip of the iceberg as far as this brand is concerned and we really have not completely grasped the full potential and relevance of the awards. Let me share with you my personal bias for AMAA.
1. AMAA is truly the most recognized recognition platform for film makers in the African clime. Now this is important because AMAA has succeeded in the unification of all Africa and even Diaspora film-makers. In doing that it has brought about cultural exchange (I find it funny when a Kenyan greets me saying “ogbuefi” simply because I told him I am a Nigerian and he had seen some nollywood flicks), continental and cross continental work relationships, business affiliations, technical exchange in film-making and the many other benefits that come with networking at such level.
2. AMAA has opened Africa to the world and the world to Africa and this has materialized in an increase of grants, festivals and travel opportunities, professional enrichment courses abroad, access to world renowned trainers in film related fields and many more that has flowed into the continent.
3. AMAA has contributed more than any other organization to the development of African cinema by building a healthy competitive spirit among film practitioners all over Africa.The drastic improvement in our films is not really a direct result of the breakthroughs in technology as it is a direct dividend of the consciousness in the minds of film makers that the game has changed. Film-makers now make films knowing that other people are making good films and consciously commit to excellence when making films. No country in today's African cinema clime can boast of complete dominance anymore. We have seen movies from Kenya snatch awards from their Nigerian counter-parts, we have seen Ghana batter south-Africa. AMAA have moved the stakes higher.
4. AMAA has proven the world wrong in the notion that nothing can be consistent in Africa and in spite of all odds the awards have survived a gruesome ten years. Many awards have come and gone, the awards is still here and firing on all cylinders.
5. AMAA more than any individual effort have buoyed our home ground acts to international circuits. Testimonies are plentiful of filmmakers who were brought to international eyes because they won an AMAA. Films that could have died within our shores have traveled the world over because they won an AMAA and went on to do well in international circuits.
6. Now this is very personal to me. AMAA is not a Nigerian brand per say but it is a Nigerian grown brand and for that reason I am very glad to support it and it makes me very proud.
7. Also very personal to me, AMAA has been very open to the press. To a very large extent they are press friendly, always giving out relevant information as at when due. Every now and then if there is anything that needs clarification they go out of their way to have press briefings to lay everything bare.
8. African believes in AMAA. The organizers of the awards have not performed optimally in the area of logistics, i will be ready to admit.. But year after year we all come out to support them. Why? Simple! because we believe. Why? Year after year for the last decade AMAA has been the only recognition platform to fly, lodge and feed all the over two hundred invitees. Sourcing funds to pay for both local and international flights, state of the art hotel lodging, feeding, intrastate transportation e.t.c. with all the mistakes and criticisms they have not stopped, why? Simply because they are brave and willing to try and retry and retry until they get there, haba!! This is a big plus for them. my people una weli-done.
9. AMAA through the parent company and other initiatives have supported and invested in the discovering, training and positioning the younger generation of film-makers for the future.
10.Now this is also very personal to me, it is a yearly reunion for me and my friends from other countries. Also it is an exploring opportunity to enjoy the best mama Africa has to offer (silly right?).
Anyway these are some of the reasons why I will always support the AMAA idea. AMAA is our own and it is important we come all out to support in anyway we can. This is a happy time for all of Africa and its not a time to begin to throw stones because one staff didn’t smile at you the last time you visited the office or there was no helicopter to drop you on the roof of the venue. This 10th anniversary, I plead with everyone to do this not for themselves, not for the AMAA team, not even for the show but for Africa and what is 100% African.