Most nominated films include South Africa’s Otelo Burning and How to 2 Steal 2 Million; Nigeria’s Adesuwa; Ghana’s Somewhere in Africa; The Nigerian-South African co-production Man on Ground; and Kenya’s Rugged Priest. Nigeria received 52 nominations on 17 March 2012 in Banjul, Gambia for the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Africa’s most prestigious awards for filmmakers. South Africa was a close second with 45 nominations, followed by Ghana with 17, Kenya with 14, Uganda with 5, Tanzania with 3, and Algeria, Cameroon, Guinea, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. There were also nominations for films linked to the Diaspora in America, Canada, France, Germany, Guadalupe, Italy, Jamaica, and the UK.
AMAA received 328 entries from across Africa, up from 220 in 2011. This includes 134 feature films, 88 short films, 57 documentaries and six animations. 43 entries came from Africans in the Diaspora, with the other entries coming from 23 countries across the continent. South African surfing film Otelo Burning, directed by Sara Blecher, scooped the most nominees (13), followed closely by South African film noir How 2 Steal 2 Million (11) and Nigeria’s Benin-set historical epic Adesuwa (10). Ghana’s civil war film Somewhere in Africa has seven nominations, as does the Nigerian-South African xenophobia-themedcoproduction Man on Ground, whileKenya’s Rugged Priest has six.
Dr. 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-chiefof The Daily Mirror; Ayoko Babu, executive director of The Pan African Film Festival; Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi, a film scholar and critic; and directors Berni Goldblat and John Akomfrah, OBE. Only films produced and released between December 2010 and December 2011 were eligible.
The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony on 22 April 2012, hosted by Heroes star Jimmy Jean-Louis. For the first time, the awards will be held in Lagos rather than Bayelsa in Nigeria. “Our theme this year is Africa Rising,” says founder Peace Anyiam-Osigwe. “Africa’s economies are consistently growing faster than those of almost any other region of the world and our film industries are following suit. With the success of last year’s AMAA winner, Viva Riva!, all of a sudden there’s this great excitement about the potential of the African film industry, which isclearly demonstrated in this year’s diverse nominees.”
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