Rhythm of a new world
of movies As Nollywood stars storm Yenagoa for AMAA
By FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa
Friday, May 13, 2005
Dickson Iruegbu, AMAA best director
and best picture winner with Abiola Atanda (Madam Kofo)
at the awards ceremony in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
Sun News Publishing
Ordinarily, the people of Bayelsa State always retire to
bed peacefully after the day’s work. This is after they
might have had fun, relaxation and merry making.
But on Saturday April 30, they had a surfeit of fun as eminent
personalities, artistes and other indigenes of the state stormed
Yenagoa, the state capital, for the maiden edition of the
African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) ceremony.
Many hearts leapt for joy as a huge crowd besieged the fence
of the expansive Glorylands Cultural Centre. And as the giddy
crowd outside surged forward and backward trying to catch
a glimpse of the galaxy of artistes, Governor Dipriye Alamieyeseigha
captured the happy mood of the people when he broke into a
song: "You are the Lord, let your name be glorified,"
before he began his speech.
He went further to express the happiness of the people "from
the prevailing wind of joy and gladness blowing across this
magnificent auditorium of the Gloryland cultural centre. I
am convinced that it takes a crowd to make a celebration."
Indeed it was the apogee of celebration for Bayelsans as they
competed to take photographs with the likes of Ramsey Noah,
Richard Mofe Damijo, Omotola Jolade Ekeinde, Genevive Nnaji,
Jim Iyke, Bimbo Akintola, among others.
Alamieyeseigha, who could not hide his joy for hosting the
event in Yenagoa, said that AMAA "signifies a new awareness
as it is the local industry’s response to similar awards
organised by artistes, producers and marketers in America
Also Mr Oji Onoko, media consultant to AMAA, buttressed him:
"The idea of AMAA award is to reward excellence and creativity
in the film industry, which is self-financed. As we are looking
at the industry, we are also looking at people’s ability
to strive and succeed against all odds."
Mrs. Peace Anyiam Fiberesima, the brain behind the whole event,
painted a picture of the power possessed by films in relation
to the problems confronting African continent: "As I
welcome you to the celebration of African movies, I urge you
to encourage all films makers, as films have the capacity
and capability to project Africa in a positive light. Africa
as a continent, has many problems, from civil wars to genocides
to sickle cell, HIV, AIDS, Malaria, malnutrition and poverty.
Film creates a relative escape into our dream world, our world
of make-belief where good most of the time surmounts evil."
Commenting on the success of the ceremony, the Director of
the state Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. Barclays Ayakoroma
said: "Words cannot express my joy. The programme was
a success by every standard. It was an international programme
that started on a good note. Many people did not give Mrs.
Fiberesima a chance. One, they did not think the programme
should be held in Bayelsa. Why Bayelsa and not in Lagos, Port
Harcourt or Calabar?. With the presence of the stars, I am
sure there has been no gathering like this in any state. I
think in spite of all odds, credit should be given to the
state government for making this happen.’’
The programme has opened up Bayelsa. The impression people
have is that the place is restive but the stars would go and
tell the story.
Igwe added: "I am totally and completely satisfied with
the planning, the organisation, the efforts and delivery."
The duo of Segun Arinze and Stella Damascus Aboderin as comperes
added colour to the ceremony which was however punctured by
the jury’s verdict of poor quality of Nigerian films/movies.
The Jury which was made up of three foreigners and two Nigerians
scored the films low in the areas of scripting, sound, lighting,
editing and sound track, thus tasking film makers to work
towards significant improvements.
Amaka Igwe, who incidentally was a member of the jury, amplified
the verdict: "If people follow what the judges said,
we would know it is time for improvement. We have to work
harder and give our best to the world because the world is
watching. People have to understand that they have to work
harder. Our sound is very bad. Story wise, we have a problem.
The best film we saw ended badly and that was why the jury
said we had a problem with story resolution."
To most Bayelsans, it was as if the day should not end. But
the end came as the crowd rushed outside to lay ambush and
touch their favourite artistes who were led into a waiting
luxury bus by mobile policemen. As the people watched and
waved as the bus moved towards the gate, Governor Alamieyeseigha’s
words that "this day will leave a lasting impression
in our collective memory", reverberated through the night.