Congo's Viva Riva rule Africa in AMAA 2011

The Congolese film Viva Riva has been named the best film in Africa at the just concluded African Movie Academy Awards which took place in at the Gloryland Centre, Yenogoa Bayelsa state, Nigeria on Sunday.

The film won six out of the seven categories in which was nominated, namely: best production design, best cinematography, best actor in supporting role, best actress in supporting role, best director and best film.

Viva Riva is the first film made in Congo's native Ngala Language in twenty years and it took the crew five years of hard work to complete.

Another film from Congo, After the Mine also won the best short documentary, making it seven awards in all for Congo. In addition, South Africa also trail Congo by winning in six categories. The South African film, Shirley Adams won the highly coveted Special Jury Awards. Other films from South Africa which won in different categories are:A Small Town Called Descent, best visual effects, Shirley Adams, AMAA Achievement in Sound, Izulu Lami,Best Film in African Language and Best Child Actor, Hopeville, Best Actor in Leading Role.

The film Sinking Sand, which starred the Haitian born Hollywood actor, Jimmy Jean Louis from Ghana also won many awards such as: Best Make up, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress in Leading Role. Kenya only won in one category Best Editing with the film Soul Boy by Ng'ethe Gitungo.

Nigeria struggled to win on two competitive categories in Best Sound and Best Costume with Inale directed by Jeta Amata and Niji Akanji’s film Aramotu while the third prize won also by Aramotu in Best Nigerian film category was an endowed prize by the Nigerian government.

In her welcome address, Chief Executive Officer of the award body, Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe challenged film makers in Africa and in the Diaspora to explore more stories that truly and positively project the continent. “Our films must not validate some of the negative stereotypes of the Europeans and Americans have about us. We have our challenges but good things are happening in Africa too.”

She noted that governments in Africa must support the creative industry- film, music, visual and audio-visual etc as the entire art and culture sector have become the best cultural exports for the continent.

“Our writers, filmmakers and other professionals within the creative sector continue to bring glory and honour to Africa and providing jobs for millions of people. Our governments must take this sector seriously and provide the necessary structures and funding that will help the sector grow.”

In his welcome speech, the Governor of the host state, Chief Timiprye Sylva expressed his happiness with the award scheme and promised the state will continue to put in place infrastructure that will support the tourism and creative sectors of the state economy adding that he is working to make Bayelsa the film location of choice for filmmakers in Africa.“We will continue to work to empower our people most especially the young ones with talents. We are happy to see the movie stars from Africa and in Diaspora in

Bayelsa State the glory of all land. Am sure since you have been around some of you in the last four to five days you would have seen that our state is a beautiful and peaceful state. We are working to make Bayelsa the best film location in Africa.”

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