February 25th 2011 marked a big history for the Kenyan Film Industry. The African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) 2011 Nomination Gala Night was held at a Nairobi hotel. The event saw the “raid” of Kenyan Film Industry by the who is who in The West African Film Industry (Ghana & Nigeria).
The “raid” saw the West African Film Stakeholders take over the Kenyan scene, with gist, pomp and color in an all red carpet event. This happened on the backdrop of Kenyan Industry’s stakeholders complains that the event’s organizers had overlooked them in the preparation to the even and that the tickets for the event had been over priced at USD 125 (Kshs. 10,000). In real sense, this locked out most players in the industry from the event.
At The Nomination Gala, Nigerian Film Industry walked away with the majority nominations bagging 50 nominations with Kenya nad South Africa sharing 9 nominations a piece.
Kenyan Nominations included: Soul Boy which bagged five nominations, Best Film, Achievement in Screen Play, Best Film in African Language with its Director Hawa Essuman Nominated for Best Director and Actors Samson Odhiambo andDayan Leila walking away with Best Young Actors Nominations.
Less known productions Zebu ni Zebu and The Photofish by budding filmmaker Zippy Nyarori also got nominations with Actor Benjamin Abemigisha of The Photofish getting nomination for Best Child Actor as well as Best Short Film which will see two Kenyan Productions battle out for the winner with Weaknesses by Wanjiru Kairu also making the cut. The other nomination went to Headlines in History, a documentary by Nation Media Group highlighting it’s journey through the history of Kenya also got the not for The Best Documentary Nomination.
Among the West African Contingent present at the event includedThe AMAA Founder Mr. Anyiam Osigwe flanked by Heads and Presidents of Guilds, Producers, Actors, Writers, Distributors, Marketers etc. and talented actors and actresses Rita Dominic, Iniobong Edo, Ramsey Nouah, Jacky Appia, Chinedu Ikedieze, Jim Iyke among others.
Things however did not end without a scene of absurdity after a serious of glitches from the organizers. Having organized a Q&A session for the Kenyan Film and Television Industry Stakeholders that saw the forum, first being postponed at the last minute, and when it was finally realized, the locals were kept waiting for close to three hours by their West African Counterparts. When the meeting finally took place, the “stars” were too “busy” to stay for more than an hour and ended up using that time to show off their phones and an attitude befitting Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Whoopie Goldberg and other Hollywood Greats.
At the end of the day, it was a group of secondary school students who were at the venue of the meeting, The Kenya National Theater, to watch setbooks, who stole the thunder and spent the better time of the ,meeting screaming and taking photos of the celebs. It is unfortunate that most of them were in civilian clothing and it might have got into the “heads” of the stars that “fellow actors” felt like they had seen some Jesus in them.