The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), the continent's most prestigious awards for filmmakers, has 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.
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-chief of 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.
Husseini, chair of AMAA's College of Screeners, said, "‘The growing awareness of AMAA, the integrity of its screening process, the global recognition that comes with winning and the opportunities afforded winners has given rise to an increase in entries. Among other benefits, winning at The AMAAs enhances the reputation and visibility of any filmmaker in Africa and helps their marketing and financial drives."
The nominees will be announced this Saturday, 17 March 2012, in Banjul, the capital of Gambia, at an exclusive ceremony attended by celebrities, top government officials and capitals of industry from Gambia and other African countries. Naomi Lucas, head of AMAA's Business Development Unit, says, ""One of AMAA's key objectives is to unite Africa through film, so the choice of Gambia affirms AMAA's positioning as a pan-African event. It also offers guests an exotic experience to explore the beauty and splendor of a West African country that has become one of the most important tourist destinations in the world."
The winners will be announced at a glittering awards night to be hosted by Heroes star Jimmy Jean-Louis on 22 April 2012 in Lagos, Nigeria.
For more information, keep an eye on http://www.ama-awards.com/.