South African Charlie Vundla scooped Best Director and his debut, film noir thriller “How 2 Steal 2 Million” has emerged the Best Film at the eighth Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) which took place at The Expo Centre, Eko Hotel & Suite in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday night.
Also, South African actress - Terry Pheto is the Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, which also won Best Achievement in Editing (Garreth Fradgely). With four awards, How 2 Steal 2 Million was the most awarded film on the night.
While Nigeria’s Benin-set historical epic Adesuwa was a close second with three awards, for Costume Design, Visual Effects, and Best Nigerian Film, South Africa’s crime drama, State of Violence won Best Film in an African Language and Best Achievement in Sound.
Man on Ground, a Nigerian/South African xenophobia-themed co-production, won the Special Jury Award – given for only the third time since the inception of AMAA – and Best Supporting Actor for South African Fana Mokoena.
Nigeria’s Rita Dominic was named Best Actress for her role in Kenyan film Shattered, while Ghanaian Majid Michel won Best Actor for his role in Somewhere in Africa. Danny Glover’s Toussaint Louverture was named Best Diaspora Film.
Nigeria was the most awarded country on the night, receiving 12 awards, followed closely by South Africa with 10. AMAA received 328 entries from across Africa in 2012, up from 220 in 2011. Asantewa Olantunji, director of programming of The Pan African Film Festival, headed this year’s jury, which included June Giavanni, programmer for Planet Africa at The Toronto International Film Festival; Keith Shiri, founder and film curator at the London festival, Africa at The Pictures; Dorothee Wenner, a curator at The Berlin Film Festival; Shaibu Husseini, an actor, dancer and The Nigerian Guardian arts journalist; Steve Ayorinde, editor-in-chief of The Daily Mirror; Ayoko Babu, executive director of The Pan African Film Festival; Hyginus Ekwuazi, a film scholar and critic, and directors Berni Goldblat and John Akomfrah, OBE.
According to the jury statement, “This year may prove to be the beginning of a new era for AMAA. Not only did AMAA witness an unprecedented number of film submissions, from more countries throughout the African continent and its Diaspora, it also witnessed a remarkable increase in the quality of the films submitted. From their technical qualities to the acting and directing, the 2012 film slate is most impressive. Indeed, for the jury, the task of selecting the “Best” in each category has been challenging.
“The competition in most categories was very strong and our decisions reflect much thought and debate. The jury is also impressed by the quality and diversity of the storylines of the films presented. The decolonisation of African films and images is well underway. As never before, we see films that tell real stories: inspired by, reflective of and crafted by the people, by whom and for whom they were made.”
Some of the biggest names from black Hollywood were at The AMAAs, including Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Lynn Whitfield (The Josephine Baker Story and Without a Trace); Morris Chestnut (American Horror Story, Boyz in the Hood); Rockmond Dunbar (Prison Break, Sons of Anarchy) and Maya Gilbert (General Hospital, Days of Our Lives).
The AMAA 2012 was sponsored by Airtel Nigeria, the leading pan-africa GSM telecom company. Among personalities that added glamour to the awards which has been described as Africa’s Oscar were business mogul, Sunny Odogwu, chairman of Airtel Nigeria, Oba Otudeko, socialite, Grace Egbagbe, outstanding woman politician and former senator, Florence Ita Giwa, former minister of state defence, Demola Seriki, former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, Ovation publisher, Dele Momodu, and other captains of industry from the banking, insurance, oil and gas and representatives of Lagos State government.