Nigeria’s Nollywood, which suffered a devastating blow at last year’s annual African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), in the hands of other African movie makers, gloriously bounced back to the front rows at this year’s grand gathering tagged: African Dreams. In fact, a total of 53 countries slugged it out in the 24 available categories, thus making the recently held sixth edition, a tension-soaked event.

The glamourous and unarguably, the biggest award and reward system for film stars and practitioners on the African continent, held over the weekend in Yenogoa, the capital of oil rich Bayelsa State. Amazingly, some Nigerian filmmakers and stars went home with most of the biggest and most prized awards in different major categories.

Nigerian-born emerging filmmaker Kunle Afolayan, was the star of the long and memorable night. The Figurine, his latest movie, carted home five awards, the highest for the night. The Figurine won in the following categories: Heart of Africa award for best film from Nigeria, best visual effect, best performance by an actor in a leading role, which went to star actor, Ramsey Noah, best cinematography and finally, the keenly contested award for best picture.

Interestingly, another movie that made Nollywood proud at the awards night, which was beautifully anchored by the duo of Basorge Tariah and Rita Dominic with support from a Kenyan colleague, was The Child. The Amstel Malta powered movie grabbed two awards in the categories of best editing and makeup, respectively. Also, top producer, Vivian Ejike’s Silent Scandal, got a joint award in the most promising actress category with Imani, a Ugandan flick. Chelsea Eze, the joint winner, was however absent at the event.

Femi Odugbemi’s work, Bariga Boys, as well as Fulani from Ifeanyi Onyeabor, further helped to raise the bar of the Nigerian motion picture industry, with plaques in the best documentary and art direction categories separately.

Even outside our shores, The Tenant, a heart wrenching movie painstakingly shot by Nigerian filmmakers living in Canada, won in the best screenplay category, while Soul Diaspora, another good film shot by a group of Nigerians residing in the US, smiled home with a trophy in the best film by an African filmmaker in Diaspora category.

The fast evolving Ghana film industry (Gollywood), was also not left out at this year’s AMAA. Three of their quality films collectively carted home a total of seven awards, in various categories.

While, The Perfect Picture clinched awards in the categories of best actress, best supporting actor and best director, another Ghanaian flick, I Sing of a Well, was victorious in the categories of best sound, costume and special jury prize.

They rounded off their memorable night with another diadem in the best original soundtrack category, courtesy of the movie, A sting in a Tale.

Surprisingly, the Kenyans, who were the stars of last year’s awards, only managed to grab two trophies, in the 26 shortlisted feature films that made it to the grand finale.

Togetherness Supreme, Kenyans only movie that made it to the finals, won awards in the categories of: best child and most promising actor categories.

Countries like: Malawi, Egypt and South Africa, also got an award each in the categories of best supporting role, animation and short film in that order.

Aside the awards presentations, musical performances from some notable acts like : Omawunmi, J- Martins, the Bayelsa cultural troupe alongside some foreign acts, further helped to add verve and vim to the event, which was well- attended.

The night climaxed with the coming on stage of the two notable Hollywood stars specially invited by the organizers, Glynn Turman and CCH Pounder. While on stage, both black US stars, paid glowing tributes to AMAA, for bringing them home to motherland, adding that it was good to be home and congregating with their black brothers and sisters.

In her extempore address, elated but visibly tired Peace Anyiam Osigwe, the CEO AMAA, immensely thanked Bayelsa State, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and all those that had hugely supported AMAA, since inception six years ago. She also urged African filmmakers to continue telling the true African stories in their productions as well as turning their dreams into realities for the world to watch and applaud. “I want African filmmakers to continue telling our own stories, because nobody can tell it better than us. We must also strive to always turn our dreams into realities; AMAA is a good example of a dream that was later turned into reality…”

Governor Sylva Timipre of Bayelsa State, who was accompanied to the awards by his wife and several top government officials, was full of praises to the organizers of AMAA, for continually placing Bayelsa on the global map, in the last six years. He further pledged his State’s continued support for AMAA. Timipre, who was swathed in all black traditional attire with a matching bowler hat, concluded by urging all to return to the riverine State next year, for another scintillating and bumper edition of AMAA.

The event, which many described as another plus for Nollywood and indeed, the African continent, also honoured King Boama Darko Ampaw, from Ghana, with a Lifetime Achievement Award, for his immense contributions to the growth of the African film and cinema industries, in the last 40 years.

All these notwithstanding, some practitioners and guests also queried the rationale behind giving three actresses with different roles in the same movie, the award for best actress. “I’ve never seen or heard that before, how can you lump three actresses together and give them a joint award?” queried a dazed guest at the event.