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By Tony Ogaga
Forget what you heard or read elsewhere, this is authoritative. The nomination party of Africa Movies Academy Awards (AMAA), which was held in Kigali, Rwanda penultimate Saturday, was a monumental flop!
According to The New Times of Kigali, Rwanda’s leading English daily, the nominations party turned out to be an anti-climax despite its being hyped as one of the biggest events of the year.
But then the same old logistics problems, bad planning, scanty publicity, inability to connect with the local industry stakeholders that had over the years plagued AMAA, reared their ugly heads again, culminating in one of the biggest catastrophes of the year.
The newspaper reports that the planning was so bad; an event that was supposed to kick off by 6pm did not start until 10:30pm. “It had been touted as one of the events to make it on the list of the social events of the year. But the 2017 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs) nominees’ gala in Kigali was a flop. Even the presence of prominent African actors could not help. At one point, organisers had to waive the entrance fee to allow people into the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, formerly Camp Kigali, the venue that was dotted with empty seats.
“The turn up was very low and the event started very late. Many blamed it on poor planning, while others cited the high entrance fee. But the gala also coincided with the popular Primus Guma Guma Super Star Season 7 (PGGSS7) finale.
“Before the gala, the nominees visited Kigali Genocide Memorial, where they paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It was expected that the nominees would arrive at Camp Kigali at 6pm for a dinner with their fans, but by that time the venue had only empty seats. It was not until 10:30pm that the event finally started,” the report says.
A member of the organising team, who spoke on condition of anonymity, blamed the low turn out on poor organisation and failure to coordinate with local partners.
“We didn’t work with the right people while organising the dinner. There was no adequate advertisement and marketing of the event,” the official said.
TS Weekend, however, learnt that several members of the Rwanda film industry boycotted the event because they were not involved in the planning process.
A popular Nollywood practitioner, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, was full of lamentation. Hear him: “Indeed, it was a huge waste of time and resources. Had I known, I would have stayed back in Lagos and concentrated on other meaningful activities.”
However, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of AAMA, thanked the people of Rwanda for the “warm reception” they were given. She explained that the nominee’s party was a precursor to the main awards taking place on Saturday July 15, 2017 at Eko Hotel Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, and is being hosted by the Lagos State government as part of the Lagos at 50 Celebration.
From the outset, TS Weekend had decried the move, describing the Rwandan trip as a jamboree but critics felt a dog was being given a bad name in order to hang it. But like a recurring decimal, AMAA’s planning was inept. “Imagine the millions of naira that went into packaging this failed show. If the nomination party had held in Lagos, perhaps the situation would have been a bit better. Too bad, the leopard can never change its spots,” the Nollywood star said.
Meanwhile, among 29 different categories, there is only one Rwandan nominee. He is Clementine Dusabejambo whose film, A Place for Myself, is shortlisted in the Best Short Film Category.