Naija Stars ‘Own’ Nairobi
– It matters not if they are on stage, in a film or out on the street,
Nigerians are known for their boisterous nature. Over the last five
years, Nigerian movies market has moved from a minuscule one to topping
over American and European movies in demand among the locals.
This past week, Nairobi has been home to some of the Naija Stars who were in the country courtesy of Africa Movie Academy Awards. The 14 plus entourage of stars were in the country to promote the movie awards nomination gala gearing up to the main Awards night in April.
The eclectic gang made up of Ini Edo, Rita Dominic, Ramsey Nouah, Joke Silva, Jackie Appiah Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Mike Ezuruonye, Chinedu Ikiedze, singers Edge, J Martins and P Square caused quite a stir from the time they touched down at the airport.
Thursday night when the first lot arrived, the international arrivals lounge at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport came to a halt with most of their fans trying to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars. Ever gracious, the stars did not disappoint; they took time out to speak to the press and pose for photos.
Celebrated Nigerian actress Joke Silva who is considered the Meryl Streep of Nigerian Film shared, “When Peace Anyiam-Osigwe started the African Movie Academy Awards, I thought it was a fantastic idea. It’s a great way system of rewarding practitioners in the industry just the way Oscars are done. It’s also a way for people to learn like if your peers are saying to you, this is a good film, this is a bad film, it helps you to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate. The beauty of AMAA is not that it’s not just about Nigeria but it’s about Africa and I love that.”
The stars kicked of their tour with an intimate press cocktail at the Vineyard on their first night. The low- key event gave them a chance to share their experiences in film and otherwise. The one major point that came up when asked about how to achieve success in film like Nollywood, they all concurred that ‘commitment and the willingness to take risks are key.’
Their second night in town, dressed to the nines in lovely cocktail and evening dresses, flagged by their male- counterparts looking quite dapper in their suits, the stars were given the red carpet treatment as they were ushered into Ole Sereni for dinner. The shs.10, 000 a head dinner attracted a number of Nairobi’s high profile guests as well.
The guests were treated to a sumptuous dinner and entertainment without losing sight of the evening’s purpose, supporting the AMAA’s now dubbed Africa’s Oscars. Rita Dominic and Ken Ambani did a marvelous job as the evening’s emcees.
On the night of the much anticipated P-Square and J-Martins concert, they braved another evening of partying at the Carnivore Grounds. Despite the fact that the main acts didn’t get on stage until after midnight, the fans were not deterred. They sang word for word for all their favourite jams including ‘No one but you’, ‘No Easy’ and Ifunanya among others. Some lucky fans even got to keep their sweat stained t-shirts that threw into the crowd during their performance.
Nominations announced in Nairobi for this year’s AMAA awards sets the stage for a much broader contention by films from across the continent than in previous years.
Nominated for BEST FILM are six movies from Congo (Viva Riva), Ghana (Sinking Sands), Nigeria (Aramotu), Kenya (Soul Boy) and South Africa, with the latter having two nominations out of the six for Hopeville and A Small Town Called Descent.
Not surprisingly, nominations for Best Actor and Actress and Cinematography  and many other categories have come from the movies nominated for BEST FILM.
Now all attention is focused on Lagos for official AMAA night in April.
Apart from it being the 7th year running with amazing success, this year the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), also got support from the European Film Academy (EFA). According to reports, The Academy, ‘Beatwaves’ has joined the AMAA jury for this year’s event. It has also endorsed AMAA as a credible awards ceremony, hence the decision to be part of it.
Founded in 1988, the European Film Academy unites more than 2,300 European film professionals with the common aim of promoting Europe’s film culture. An AMAA insider said the Academy was impressed by the kind of movies that were awarded at AMAAs every year. Anytime those movies make it into international film festivals, they prove to be very good movies, as they don’t just win other recognitions but rub shoulders with other recognized international movies.
Movies such as ‘From A Whisper’ (Kenya), ‘Run Baby Run’ (Ghana), ‘The Figurine’ (Nigeria), ‘The Tenant’ (Nigeria) are a few of the movies that went through AMAA and caused a stir at international film festivals including the Rotterdam Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and more.
That, for the Academy, was enough evidence that the awards ceremony did not just honour any kind of movie. The award’s jury, which is made up of selected high movie intellectuals across Africa, is working without any interference from the organizers of the event. The jury has received over 300 entries from various African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and more.