Kenya scoops two AMAA awards, amid drama

Kenya only scooped two awards from a total eight nominations at Sunday’s Africa Movie Academy Awards, in Lagos, Nigeria.

Kwame Nyongo’s animation The Legend of Ngong Hills beat competition from Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana to take the gong, received on his behalf by animator Alfred Muchilwa.

“Kwame could not be here to receive the award, but he sent to say that he is deeply honoured to be feted,” said Alfred, revealing also that Kwame’s wife was expecting a baby any time soon.

Sarah Wanjiru was awarded for Achievement in Make-Up for Kenyan film Shattered.

Jimmy Louis from TV series Heroes was the host for the evening, and he was accompanied to venue by Rockmond Dunbar (Soul Food, Prison Break), Morris Chestnut, Maya Gilbert and Lynn Whitfield (Thin Line between Love and Hate). The stars each presented an award much to the delight of the audience.

But despite the Hollywood muscle it is Nigerian actress Rita Dominic who completely stole the show. From the moment she set foot on the star-studded red carpet to her eventual victory, she struck one pose after the other for photographers.

Rita bagged the best actress award for her performance in the film Shattered, and she received it in a stunning pink dress with a black bow at midriff. Popular Ghanaian actor Majid Michael scored top marks for his double role in comedy Somewhere in Africa.

“I must say I didn’t see it coming,” he said fawning over the wooden black AMAA statuette. “I have been nominated four times! Now I finally have it!”

Michael, whose mother and sister accompanied him to the awards, looked suave in a navy blue tuxedo when he went up on stage.

Musicians Asa and 2 Face also performed at the arena, a neatly decked out auditorium at the Eko Hotel and Suites at Victoria Island, Lagos.

Kenya was represented at the event by Rugged Priest Director Bob Nyanja, Rugged Priest Actor Lwanda Jawar, Cinematographer Martin Munyua, Costume Designer Sophie Oprisanu and Wanjiku Njendu for short film Look Again, which was put together in the US.

“The industry is growing and for me it’s a booster. Being nominated shows me that I am getting better and better. Now we’re waiting for the Oscars,” he told Capital Lifestyle.

But the event also proved to be a logistical nightmare. Guests and journalists complained that the organization of the event was poorly done.

“The communication was not very good. By the time the event started the Kenyan team was still standing, waiting for a table. It’s like they had forgotten us,” stated Munyua.

The team was also not served or given dinner until the four-hour event came to a close. Tickets were also handed to the team with just hours left to the trip.

Kenya’s AMAA representative Ogova Ondego promised to look into the matter saying all the mishaps experienced in the trip including lack of food, transportation and communication were a first.

The event was sponsored by Airtel, whose top officials hailed the African movie industry as having ‘grown so big’.

The rest of the winners for the evening were: Best Short Film, Braids on a Bald Head; Best Documentary: African Election – Germany/Nigeria; Best Diaspora Feature: Toussaint Loventure – France and Best Diaspora Documentary: The Education of Auma Obama – Nigeria/Germany.

The Best Short Film in Diaspora was: White Sugar in a Black Pot; Best Film by An African Living Abroad: Mystery of Birds – US/Nigeria; Best Achievement in Production Design: Kunle Afolayan’s Phone Swap; Achievement in Costume Design: Adesuwa; and Best Achievement in Soundtrack: Alero’s Symphony (soundtrack done by ex-Plantashun Boiz star, Faze).

Prize for Achievement in Visual Effects: Adesuwa; Best Achievement in Sound: State of Violence – South Africa; Achievement in Cinematography: Othello Burning – South Africa; Achievement in Editing: How to Steal 2 Million; Best Child Actor: Tshepang Mohlomi (South Africa);Achievement In Screenplay: Ties That Bind – Ghana and Best Actress In A Supporting Role: Terry Phetto – How To Steal 2 Million.

Best Actor in A Supporting Role: Fano Mokoena – Man on Ground; Best Film: How to Steal 2 Million (South Africa); Best Nigerian Film: Adesuwa; Best Promising Actor: Ivie Okujaye; Best Film In An African Language: State of Violence; Best Director: Charlie Vundla For How to Steal 2 Million and Special jury Award: Akin Omotosho.

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