Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)
Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)

The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) welcomes all discussion on African film and its awards, but would like to set the record straight in response to yesterday’s article on Ghana MMA, “AMAA 2012 nominations full of errors.”


The Ghana MMA author raised a number of concerns, which Shaibu Husseini, the chair of the AMAA screening committee, will respond to in turn.


The author wrote, “Omotola Jalade did not play supporting role in the movie Ties that Bind. She played lead with other characters such as Ama K. Abebrese and Kimberly Elise. Omotola Jalade won best actress in a lead role with the movie – Ties that bind (Ghana Movie Awards, 2011) – so how can the same person become a supportingcast for another movie awards? There’s no logic in that.”


Shaibu says, “The AMAA board of jurors is not obliged to decide nominees just because one other award body has nominated a talent previously. Different juries will always see things slightly differently – that’s healthy. We disagree that there would have been ‘logic’ only if we had nominated Omotola in the leading actress category just because she won in that category in the Ghana Movie Awards. As far as we are concerned, the story of Ties that Bind revolves round the medical doctor who returns torevive the village clinic and encounters two other women with situations that bound them. The filmmaker may have intended for all three ladies to play lead, but in terms of the ‘weighting’ of the roles played by each character, Ama K is lead while the others, including Ebbe Bassey (the woman with the daughter that was defiled and infected), assist in advancing her story.”


The Ghana MMA author also wrote:  “Martha Ankomah is a female so how can you nominate her for best young/promising actor? Has Martha Ankomah now turned into a MALE?”


Shaibu says, “Until two years ago, we gave out two Most Promising awards to a male actor and a female actor. But by last year, the academy decided that the award should just go to a promising actor irrespective of whether the actor is male or female, hence the decision to have that category called ‘Best Young/Promising Actor,’ with actor being the generic name for those who perform roles in a movie/ play whether male or female. If you check, Martha was notonly the female actor nominated in that category: it was a mix of male and female actors. So she fits to be nominated as a promising actor who can take up any role with ease and who played the role of a student in Somewhere in Africa with a great aplomb.” 


The author also said, “All the other movies in this (visual effects) category have got their respective countries against them except the movie, Behind the Mask. Without attaching Ghana to it, how can someone in say Angola, Sierra Leone or any other African country who might have not watched behind the mask movie know it is a Ghanaian movie?” Similarly, he wrote, “All the other movies in this category (costume design) have got their respective countries against them, except the movies, The Captain of Nakara and Queen’s Desire. I have never watched those two movies before and don’t know which countries they represent.”


Shaibu says, “Please check the nomination list on the AMAA website again and always rely on that website. That is the most authentic. Countries wereplaced in areas they should be placed.  Please check again before you count it as an error against the academy. Behind the Mask was entered as Ghanaian production. The Captain of Nakara was entered as a Kenya movie while Queen’s Desirewas entered as a Ghanaian movie. We demand that filmmakers state the countries of production on the entry form.” 


The Ghana MMA author also wrote that the Prize for Best Film category “does not make sense. It is Prize for Best Film so the expectation is what will be given (prize) to the best film. Instead… the jury just listed names of films and their respective countries. How can Ties that Bind-Ghana or State of Violence-South Africa be a prize?”


The Prize For Best Film listed the nominees, not the prize, just as the Prizes for all the other categories did. This was consistent and is common practice.


As Shaibu says, “Even in the Oscars, you just get a plaque for Best Film. All those other prizes that should come with it, like cash or distribution deals, depend on sponsorship.”


The Ghana MMA author also wrote, “The jury has shown plain bias by creating a nomination category called Best Nigerian Film. AMAA is meant to award and to celebrate films produced in all the 52 countries in Africa. Objectivity is compromised with a category like Best Nigerian Film… No such category like BEST whatever African country must be created. Even if they had created Best Ghanaian Film, I would still have a problem with that. AMAA is for Africa. The jury should maintain that principle.”


While we agree that AMAA is for Africa, Shaibu clarifies, “We have continually explained that the award for the best Nigerian film is an endowment by the Nigerian government to identify the best films from Nigeria that areentered for the AMAA yearly. It is their own way of acknowledging and identifying with the best films from Nigeria for a given year. Because it is endowed, we cannot discontinue that category. Rather, the academy is in discussion with other governments for them to endow such prizes so that maybe next year we can have a category for the best film from Ghana or best film from Kenya. It is just a way of encouraging filmmaking and government participation in filmmaking in the continent. That’s the idea behind the award. It is notintended at giving Nigeria any undue advantage.” 


AMAA thanks the Ghana MMA author for pointing out that the correct spelling of Rahman Bande is Rahim Banda. Shaibu says, “Because our filmmakers are in a hurry to submit films and care little about submitting appropriatedocumentations for the film, it has become increasingly difficult to get certain names right. The actors name was from the form submitted for the awards. We even cross-checked with the name on the movie credit list. But we thank you for calling our attention to that and note his correct name RahimBanda. We shall effect the correction. You will do African cinema a lot of good if you use this your great platform to educate our filmmakers to be carefulabout how they spell the names of their actors.”


AMAA welcomes all feedback. For more information,


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