As film makers and stars from across Africa gather at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, this evening for this year’s AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards, AMVCA, it’s pertinent that guests will be looking forward to the film that will eventually emerge Best Film of the Year among other awards.
While there are other interesting awards including Best Actor and Actress in a Drama and Comedy categories; Best Sound Editor, Best Director, Best Writer among others, the Best film award usually hit up prestige and sometimes, it’s referred as the soul of every movie award.
With six films nominated for Best Film in a Drama category, anxiety has continued to mount over which of the film will clinch the prize. Pundits are tipping AY ‘s “30 Days in Atlanta” for Best Film in a Comedy category, while they are yet to come up with the film that will clinch the prize in a Drama category, given the quality of the entries that were nominated for the award.
However, Kunle Afolayan’s “October 1” which tops this year’s AMVCA with 13 nominations is up against five other films in the Drama category. They are, Lancelot Imasuen’s historical film, “Invasion 1897” which got 3 nominations. “A Place in the Stars”, “Devil in the Detail”, “Secret Room” and “Make a Move.”
But of a truth, apart from meeting the international standard, these films are bar raisers in Nollywood. One would not be surprised to see joint winners emerging in this category. At this juncture, a critical look at the individual films, their merits and strengths, will help to throw more light on their chances of clinching the prize.
Kunle Afolayan’s “October 1” which carted away three awards at last year’s Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF,explores the history of the people. The film, set in 1960, against the backdrop of Nigeria’s independence, is said to be of the serial killer genre.
Written by Tunde Babalola and directed by Kunle Afolayan, the film was premiered on “October 1” last year, to commemorate the Nigeria’s 54th independence anniversary. It has mostly been commended for its production design, cinematography and its exploration of powerful themes which include tribalism, western imperialism, homosexuality, Nigeria’s unification, establishing a strong connection between western culture and the cause of prevailing Boko Haram insurgency.
Those who have seen the film are still talking about it till date. According to Afolayan, “ October 1’is not just a film for entertainment, but also, informative.” But can the film rewrite history to night? Your guess is as good as mine.
Like “October 1”, Lancelot Imasuen’s “Invasion 1897” equally explores the history of the Benin kingdom. The big-budget film, which is unique for its historical values, has become a reference point for many historians, scholars and students of African studies across the world.
Currently being premiered in most great cities across the world, “Invasion 1897” depicts the story of the invasion of the Benin Empire by the British Forces in 1897, culminating in the looting of priceless ancient artifacts of the kingdom, including the famous commemorative head and pendant of the ivory mask representing Queen Idia, who was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550.
Since the film which is currently receiving global accolades, premiered in Nigeria early December, last year, it has initiated a movement, resulting in the reparation of stolen Benin artifacts from Britain. The epic film also was recently adopted by Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C, to indicate that African films are beginning to break new ground at the international market.
Chances are there that “Invasion 1897” will not definitely be a film to beat to night. As Lancelot, who is still in America notes, “ I am confidently expecting the best for me and my film…every day for confidence for the film as it moves round the world increases…winning a special founders recognition at the PAN African film festival in Los Angeles, wining the best African /UK collaboration film at the screen Nation award, and reactions it a getting around the globe..I am looking forward to winning big at AMVCA.”
A Place in the Stars
“A Place in the Stars” which premiered in Lagos, last November may not have enjoyed rave reviews as “October 1” and “Invasion 1897”, but the film is strong in its thematic concerns. Being a 2014 Nigerian crime thriller, the film written by Ita Hozaife and J.K. Amalou, co-produced and directed by Steve Gukas dwells on social issues, inspired by the tenure of late Professor Dora Akunyili as the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control,NAFDAC. Starring likes of Gideon Okeke, Segun Arinze, Matilda Obaseki, Yemi Blaq, Femi Branch and Dejumo Lewis, it’s uncertain whether this film will be able to clinch the prize to night.
30 Days in Atlanta
Everybody is talking about AY’s “30 Days in Atlanta” which is presently Nollywood’s highest-grossing movie, grossing N140 million in the box office, beating the record set by “Ije: The Journey.”The romantic comedy which premiered in Nigeria on the 31st of October, last year, is noted for its technical quality and comic-relief. According to a critic, “ In “30 Days in Atlanta, AY tries to balance a sketchy tripod comprising comedy, film making and business, but the scales tip generously towards the business. It won’t be a surprise to see this film win and cart away awards to night.