#AMVCA8: Honouring the Legends, Embracing the Now and Celebrating the Future

Moments are meant to be lived; there are indeed multiple factors that make them worthwhile. In making moments meaningful, there are prodigies that offer great hope for the future, trendsetters that spice up the present, and achievers that remind of yesterday’s brilliance.

For anyone inside the packed Lagos venue for the 8th Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) to celebrate movie industry’s high-fliers, the joy of living moments couldn’t have come as a more complete package.

On the night, a perfect mix of the entertainment industry’s past, present and future at the event brought the week-long celebration of African creative juggernauts to a climax. A testament to MultiChoice’s decades of dedication to promoting African content, the AMVCA yet again reminded the world about the continent’s wealth of talent in the creative space.

Quite fittingly, this year’s AMVCA acknowledged the significant impact of the pandemic on the movie and arts industry, which necessitated the incorporation of new art forms that kept people engaged and involved during the lockdown.

A notable contributor to the significance of the 8th AMVCA is its celebration of African superstars in the month of May. The month is widely recognised as Africa month, and organisers of the awards ceremony made it a duty to showcase the continent’s rich cultural diversity. This was on full display through the choice of key contributors to the event’s success. South Africa’s Bonang Matheba and Ghana’s Sika Osei served as the awards night co-host and red-carpet co-host, respectively. Talented Zulu dancers were part of a lineup of entertainers that thrilled the audience, while several journalists, bloggers and influencers from Uganda, Tanzania, Namibia, Ghana and Kenya contributed immensely to the event.

Just a week before the film industry’s biggest night, the AMVCA set the ball in motion on its first 8-day celebration of African creatives in the last year with the Open Night Gala, a unique fashion experience where attendees were offered a taste of what to expect from this year’s event.

Attendees of the fashion event will not forget in a hurry the creative brilliance on show, as a first-ever AMVCA runway parade, hosted by top fashion designer, Mai Atafo, saw Sophie Nwabunike and Obinna Omeruo emerge as winners – each taking home a N1 million cash prize. The two talents had participated in the ‘confam fashion’ competition, designing a Pepsi-inspired collection with a central theme of authenticity, passion, and youth to the delight of fashion connoisseurs in attendance.

In true AMVCA fashion, events on the days that followed the opening day fashion show reflected a similar theme – artistic brilliance, culture progression, and entertainment.

The Young Filmmakers’ Day featured movie screenings and panel discussions by students of the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy, while Africa Magic also hosted industry stakeholders to a special Content Market Workshop. The workshop focused on the current state of the Nigerian movie industry, as well as opportunities and challenges facing content creators in Nigeria. It also featured speakers from different sectors who shared their experiences and strategies to collaborate with other stakeholders in the industry to achieve business success.

These events were subsequently followed by the Digital Content Creators’ brunch. At the event, talented content creator Jacktone emerged winner of the first-ever Digital Content Creation competition, winning the ‘Overall best in technical skill, lighting, and performance’ award.

Next was the pan-African food festival and cultural day where the beauty of diverse African cultures was on full display. Afrobeat musician Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 band thrilled the audience with a bevy of hit songs and masterful performances.

A day before D-day, actress Adesua Etomi-Wellington hosted the Nominee Gala alongside Daniel Etim Effiong. Attendees at the Gala were thrown into wild euphoria by a special performance by Asa, as she set the tone perfectly for what was to come on the main award night.

Moments oftentimes have a climax and attendees of the 8th AMVCA certainly got one.

The variety of rich and exciting events culminated in the crowning event – the awards ceremony – offering the audience yet another satisfying night of glitz and glamour.

With over 30 extensive award categories and several deserving stars, actors, actresses, and filmmakers walked away with honours for their stellar performances in the year in review.

Ramsey Nouah received the gong for ‘Best Director’ for the movie Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story. Stan Nze and Osas Ighodaro, the leading man and lady in Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story, also won the ‘Best Actor in a Drama’ and ‘Best Actress in a Drama’ awards, respectively.

Funke Akindele, yet again, scooped up the award for ‘Best Actress in a Comedy’. Fan favourite, Oga Sabinus, was awarded the ‘Best Online Social Content Creator’ while Amina by Izu Ojukwu and Okey Ogunjiofor was awarded the ‘Best Movie Overall’.

The perfect blend of past, present, and future that make moments wholesome came to the fore on the night as iconic Nigerian musician, Lagbaja performed alongside new music sensation Rema, 40 long decades separating them in age. Both fan favourites served a heavy mix of nostalgia and contagious high energy with their performance of a bevvy of hit songs such as ‘Konko Below’ and ‘Are You There?’

Yemi Alade and D’banj also delivered amazing performances to open and close the event, respectively. While legendary Nigerian broadcaster and actress, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett was a sight to behold as she received the AMVCA ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ with a moving speech.

Yet again, the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards has proven its relevance and staying power. The awards show has grown in breadth and scope in honouring achievers and legends in the film industry who continue to contribute greatly to the preservation and promotion of African culture.

The 8th AMVCA was a magnificent event of many firsts – the first time the ceremony had a grand 8-day lineup; the first time a runway fashion show was held; the first time a digital content creators competition was held and; the first time content creators were given a dedicated award category.

And such is the bar that has been raised that it would be ill-advised for African movie industry stakeholders, players, and audiences to not have high anticipation for the next AMVCA event.

Moments, certainly, can get no better than this.

See a few pictures from #AMVCA8 below:

Nike Davies-Okundaye
Nancy Isime

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