No ‘African Oscar’ for Uganda

POLLY KAMUKAMA

Uganda walked away empty-handed at the tenth edition of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held in Nigeria last Saturday.

The country’s only representation at the prestigious awards, dubbed African Oscars, was by way of only two films – Felistas Fable and Haunted Souls – which boasted a combined total of three nominations.

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‘Of Good Report’ director, Jamil X.T Quebeka, reacts to news of his film’s last minute ban by the South African Censorship Board at last year’s Durban International Film Festival (Diff). The film has since been unbanned, and was the biggest winner at AMAA 2014 with a whooping five awards.

The local pictures, one a feature the other a short, however proved to be no match for the high grade cinematic masterpieces they were pitted against in their respective categories.

Hinged on the plight of fistula sufferers, Felistas had been touted as the frontrunner for Best Make-up award courtesy of Micheal Wawuyo’s mastery, but nonetheless lost out to South Africa’s Once Upon a Road Trip.

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There were no such jolly moments for the two Ugandan films at AMAA 2014.

The film, written and directed by Dilman Dila, also lost out to the Mauritian duo of Harrikrishna & Sharvan Anenden (The Children of Troumaron) in the Best Director First Feature Film category.

Haunted Souls, a daunting story of a runaway captive wife of a ruthless LRA commander, was on the other hand eyeing the Best Short Film accolade but couldn’t beat Dialemi, a film from Gabon, to the crest.

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Michael Wawuyo’s make-up mastery on ‘Felisatas Fable’, as seen here in a picture taken on the film’s set, was not good enough for an AMAA.

The casts and crews of the two Ugandan films however seemed to care less about winning as they took to Facebook on Sunday, a day after the glamorous awards ceremony was held in the oil-rich Nigerian state of Bayelsa, to boast about having made it to the nomination list.

“With awards, a nomination or shortlist is as good as a win. Being nominated twice itself is a major achievement,” Dila wrote, suggesting he will throw a party for his cast and crew to congratulate them on the job well done.

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‘Haunted Souls’ has won its Kenyan director Godwin Otwoma a a number of awards, including this one at Luxor Film Festival in Egypt, but not the African Oscar.

Godwin Otwoma, the Kenyan director behind Haunted Souls, also thanked his Ugandan cast and crew, and said it was an honor for his film to have been selected to compete out of the dozens of entries.

Previously, Uganda has sometimes defied odds to shine at the African Oscars. Last year for example, 13-year-old Benjamin Abemigisha was the surprise winner of Best Child Actor award courtesy of his role in The Ugandan.

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The prestigious awards ceremony dubbed ‘African Oscars’ took place in Nigeria on Saturday.

Matt Bish’s Battle of the Souls and Carol Kamya’s Imani also collected AMAAs in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

And it is such bright moments that suggest a deep-lying potential for Ugawood, and the need to nurture the budding industry through government funding, co-productions and media support among several other incentives.

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South African film ‘The Forgotten Kingdom’ won an award for its breathtaking cinematography.

Meanwhile, South Africa emerged the biggest winner at this year’s AMAA, scooping a total of ten awards, five of which came by way of the controversial film, Of Good Report.

The black-and-white film about a pervert school teacher with a penchant for young girls has emerged from an earlier government ban to become one of the most talked about African films of the year.

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A scene from ‘Haunted Souls’ featuring the film’s writer and producer Rehema Nanfuka (L) in the lead role.

It won awards for Best Film; Screenplay; Best Young/Promising Actor (Petronella Tshuma); Best Actor (Mothusi Magano); and Best Director (Jamil X.T Quebeka).

Nigeria, which as usual had a nominee in just about every category, could only managed to bag eight awards including Best Actress (Clarion Chukwurah); Best Supporting Actress (Patience Ozokwo); Best Documentary (Portraits of a Lone Farmer) and Best Film in African Language (B For Boy).

Peace Anyiam Osigwe, founder and CEO of the awards, announced that she will be stepping down as AMAA president after ten years at the helm amid romours the biggest awards establishment on the continent is headed for massive rebrand.

Click here for the full list of winners.

 kamukamapolly@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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