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Posts Tagged ‘Aramotu’

Director Andrew Donsunmu (in red) with the crew of 'Restless CIty' at the NYC premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. © Bic Leu and FindingNollywood.com, 2011

After missing the Restless City screening at FESPACO in March, I was pleased to be invited by New York African Film Festival director, Mahen Bonetti, to view the film at its New York premiere on May 29.

First-time director Andrew Dosunmu premiered the film at Sundance this year.  The movie follows Djibril, a young Senegalese immigrant, as he navigates the urban jungles of New York City. Per Dosunmu during the Q&A session, he wanted to portray the nuances of “universal displacement” in Djibril’s self-exile.

A film still from 'Restless City'. © Jenny Baptiste, 2011

As a New Yorker, I found the film exquisite. Director of Photography Bradford Young captured images of Manhattan in ways that I had never seen during the 18-day shoot. There is a scene in which the M1 bus (my former preferred commute) repeatedly threatens to overtake Djibril on his moped – an apt visual metaphor for the City’s voracious appetite to swallow you whole.

As a Lagosian, I was bored. After spending the past nine months watching Nollywood films, Restless City’s sparse dialogue and silent close-ups didn’t resonate with the “aesthetics of outrage” that media anthropologist Brian Larkin (2008) coined to describe the melodramatic plot lines and overwrought acting that characterize Nigerian cinema.  While there was plenty of drama in Restless City’s storyline, I thought its visual language was too “nuanced” to capture a popular African audience.

Dosunmu mentioned that after taking the film on the international festival circuit, he planned to release the film in Nigerian cinemas. I couldn’t help wondering how Restless City would be received by Lagosian movie-goers next to the current Silverbird offerings like Aramotu and The Hangover, Part II.

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Banner welcoming AMAA guests to the Bayelsa Tourism Development and Publicity Bureau. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Chairman of AMAA Selection Committee Shaibu Husseini with the AMAA Jury at the March 26 press briefing at the Bayelsa State Tourism Development & Publicity Bureau. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

On March 26-27th, I was fortunate to be invited to the 7th annual African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) hosted in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The event is promoted by AMAA CEO Peace Anyiam-Osigwe as the “first and only award system for African cinema“. According to Chairman of the AMAA Selection Committee Shaibu Husseini, 320 films (consisting of 180 features and 140 shorts) were submitted all over the world for consideration in 25 categories. These submissions were narrowed down to the 30 nominated works, which Shaibu felt were “truly representative of African cinema in 2010“.

With Best Diaspora Short nominee Temi Ojo and Carmen McCain at the Bayelsa State Tourism Development & Publicity Bureau. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

With Best Diaspora Short Film nominee Sowande Tichawonna and Best Diaspora Feature winner Laquita Cleare at the Bayelsa State Tourism Development & Publicity Bureau. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

Best Diaspora Feature double-nominee Wayne Saunders getting interviewed at the Bayelsa State Tourism Development & Publicity Bureau. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

With Best Short Film nominee Mak Kusare at the Bayelsa State Tourism Development & Publicity Bureau. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Along with Hausa cultural advocate Carmen McCain, I was part of the 500 guests that were flown in from three different continents for the ceremony, which included 154 nominees and 45 members of the press. As the event’s major sponsor, the Bayelsa State Government hosted many of the pre-ceremony activities–including the press briefing and meals for invited guests–at the Bayelsa State Tourism Development & Publicity Bureau.

[Update April 3] To read Carmen McCain‘s detailed account of the awards in her Weekly Trust column, please click here.

Best Young Actor winner Edward Kagutuzi and 'Inale' actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

With actor Razaaq Adoti, Carmen McCain, and 'Inale' actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim pre-ceremony. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

With Carmen McCain, Best Short Film nominee Zipporah Nyaruri, Best Diaspora Short nominee Temi Ojo, and Best Diaspora Feature winner Laquita Cleare on the AMAA red carpet. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

With Chairman of the AMAA Selection Committee Shaibu Husseini on the AMAA red carpet. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

AMAA CEO Peace Anyiam-Osigwe on the red carpet. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

Majid Michel on the AMAA red carpet. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

Carmen McCain and Kunle Afolayan. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

AMAA co-hosts Jim Iyke and Nse Ikpe-Etim (in Wanger Ayu) on-stage at the Gloryland Cultural Centre. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

At the March 27 ceremony at Gloryland Cultural Centre, the Congolese gangster movie, Viva Riva!, swept the awards by winning 6 statuettes, including Best Film, Best Actress In Supporting Role (Marlene Longage), Best Actor In Supporting Role (Hoji Fortuna), Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Director (Djo Tunda Wa Munga). The Nigerian productions that received awards were Aramotu (Best Costume Design and Best Nigerian Film), Inale (Best Soundtrack), and Mirror Boy (Best Young Actor). Click here for the complete list of nominees and winners.

The event also featured performances from Wande Coal and Dr. Sid.

Best Diaspora Feature winner Laquita Cleare with Olu Jacobs post-ceremony. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

After the six-hour long ceremony culminated at 2AM, Bayelsa State Governor Chief Timipre Sylva and his wife, Mrs. Alanyingi Sylva, hosted invited guests at an opulent after-party at the Governor’s Mansion.

AMAA After-party at the Governor's Mansion. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

Our table at the AMAA After-party boasted 2 awards. Photo © 2011 Carmen McCain

 

 

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