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AMVCAs… Seven years of redefining Africa’s film landscape, rewarding excellence

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Actress Dakore Egbuson (left), MD, Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe and Channel Director, African channels, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu at the AMVCAs Nominees Cocktail in Lagos

The Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, will come alive today, as celebrities, practitioners and stakeholders in the African entertainment industry will converge for the 7th edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA). The glamorous film award, which will open with a special red carpet reception, will see the return of IK Osakioduwa as host, alongside a new female co-host, Amina Abdi Rabar from Kenya.

“We are excited to present Amina Abdi Rabar as the new female co-host of the 7th edition of the AMVCAs. She is vivacious, full of wit and has a very cheerful personality. We look forward to her and IK bringing some magic on stage as we gather to celebrate the best in film and television,” Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, Channel Director, Africa Channels, said while unveiling the hosts.

On the other hand, power dressers Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Toke Makinwa will be taking charge of the ever-glittering AMVCA red carpet. The media personalities whose individual styles are just as celebrated as their talents will be live at the session, interviewing a host of other glamorous stars and guests that will grace the event.

Their announcement as hosts is even more symbolic because, for the first time since it launched seven years ago, AMVCA is introducing a new category this year – the best-dressed category, which will reward the most stylish male and female on the red carpet for their efforts. This new category is a very welcome development considering that there is no other event in the country and continent at large that sees attendees go all out with their looks as they do for the AMVCAs.
 
Toke, who has been topping best-dressed lists since she burst into the limelight years ago, is no stranger to red carpets, and neither is Big Brother Naija host, Ebuka, whose outfits have broken the internet one too many times. While fans are eagerly anticipating their slaying on the red carpet at this year’s AMVCAs, guests are even more excited to see how all the other stars and guests plan on upstaging the stylish pair.

 
Meanwhile, the countdown to this year’s AMVCA actually started on Thursday, February 27, 2020, when the organisers hosted a number of celebrities to nominees cocktail. Guests at the event all looked resplendent as they celebrated the contributions of African filmmakers, actors and industry specialists in the past year.
 
There were several memorable moments on the night, with celebrities such as Funke Akindele, Kate Henshaw, Adesua Etomi, Ramsey Nouah showing why they’re loved by millions of fans across the world. Big Brother Naija alumni, Tobi Bakare particularly got the crowd rocking when he climbed the stage to deliver smooth dance moves, while Femi Leye’s masterful handling of the guitar wowed all in attendance.
 
The nominees cocktail aims to inspire and celebrate the remarkable achievements of African stars as they continue to promote the growth of the continent’s film and TV industry with their remarkable talents. If you think that was a great outing, then watch out for a spectacular evening today, as leading African stars step out in style. Most importantly, it will be a night of reward for excellence in filmmaking.

Over the years, the entertainment and media sectors in Africa have experienced some real growth and for a country like Nigeria, a powerhouse on the African continent, a large percentage of the growth in these sectors is directly linked to the growth of its film industry, Nollywood. In concrete numbers, Nollywood went from contributing about 1.2 per cent to the country’s GDP in 2016 to now contributing over 2 per cent to the GDP. PwC’s Entertainment and Media Outlook report (2017-2021) placed Nigeria in good stead to become the world’s fastest-growing E&M market over the coming three years.

With this boom has come to a shift in the discussion about Nollywood, from predominantly being about the number of movies the industry makes in a year, a number that places it as the third-largest in the world, to bring about the quality of those films; and it isn’t just Nollywood. Across other African film industries, the shift is happening as well, and one connector that continues to drive the growth in each market awards, the standards they enforce and the brilliance they celebrate.
 
The Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards remains a leading film and television award on the African continent today. When Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice first gave them out in 2013, the goal was simple, to recognise outstanding achievement in television and film. Seven years down the line, the awards have done that job exceedingly well, but its biggest success isn’t even the recognition it sought to give.

 
A lot of creatives often talk about how unbothered they could be, whether they win an award for their work or not; and while that can be largely true, there is no denying the impact that awards have as yardsticks, especially when they have the blessings of the public and the experts.
 
Since the launch of the AMVCA in 2013, the brand brings together some of the best people in filmmaking, with the singular task of selecting the best pieces of work done in film and television in Africa, for the period in review. With strict judging criteria that has gradually evolved over the years, this team of judges pick excellent pieces of film and TV content from different regions on the continent, grouping them into different categories. 
 
Any filmmaker with a good eye for detail can look at the films, actors and production crew in each category and see why they got the nod while others didn’t; and if they look closely long enough, they might notice a pattern and uncover a secret sauce. That is the path to standardization the African film space has always needed and is now getting.
 
One of the best things about the structure of the award is how empowering it is to the end consumer of African TV content. MultiChoice understands the power the viewer holds having been in the business of serving content for many years, which is why the award categories are broadly split in two large categories, one of which is the public voting category. What this means is that the award organisers leave the judging of each piece of work selected in seven categories including Best Short Film or Online Video, Best Actor in a Comedy (Movie or TV Series), Best Actress in a Drama (Movie/TV Series), and Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or TV Series to viewers, and there isn’t a better appreciation of art than when its audience applauds it.
 
The technical categories where the public doesn’t vote, on the other hand, and in a very strong way, show what we can expect from African filmmakers. They tell a story of the potential those behind the camera hold in telling more amazing stories. 
 
The judging committee for this seventh edition is led by a globally recognised filmmaker and voting Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Femi Odugbemi, who has been Head Judge twice. With over 30 years of experience in filmmaking, which includes being a three-time Head Judge of the Uganda Film Festival, a Juror for the Emmy Awards in New York and the Academy Awards in 2018, Odugbemi returns with a knowledge of global standards that does the African film industry a lot of good. 
 
He and his team would be on the lookout for key elements such as tone matching and film score in the Best Soundtrack category, and coloring, lighting, and fluid continuity as they decide who takes this year’s Best Cinematographer award.
 
One can say that while the viewers’ category focuses on what fans enjoy now, the non-voting category focuses on the brilliance that inspires and moves the needle; brilliance that often takes an expert eye to spot. Other categories in this part include Best Costume Designer, Best Writer, Best Documentary, Best Director and the newly added, MultiChoice Talent Factor Award. 

With the internet connecting more and more people, and access to content growing rapidly, the playing field for everyone who has a story to tell is becoming more and more leveled. While MultiChoice keeps telling great African stories, its 7-year work with the AMVCAs and the standards it seeks from today’s filmmakers is the assurance of success African filmmaking has. 

So, who wins the AMVCA 2020? The answer is in a matter of hours.


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