In symbolism, blue ribbon is a term used to describe something of high quality. The usage came from ‘The Blue Riband,’ a prize awarded for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by passenger liners, and prior to that, from Cordon Bleu, which referred to the blue ribbon worn by a particular order of knights, and in most English-speaking countries, was altered to blue ribbon that later became awards for first place in certain athletic or other competitive endeavours, such as county and state fairs. One can therefore say that the blue riband is akin to the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), which best describes the unique place AMAA has come to occupy on the African continent and internationally, especially as events has been unfolding in the past few years in the movie industry, which will not come as a surprise if AMAA in future is recognised with the likes of Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, the two widely recognised prizes for literary achievements.
As part of its move to make next year’s awards ceremony a resounding success, AMAA gathered stakeholders and practitioners in the motion picture industry in their usual ‘town hall meeting,’ tagged: Creating the Platform of Rewards, was held at the National Theatre, Lagos, to discuss ways of charting a good course for next year’s awards and what to be on ground to avoid mistakes of the past.
In her opening address, Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima, CEO, AMAA, alleged that measures have been put in place to curtail the lapses of the past.
“We noticed that so many people come to the awards without being invited and these people ended up causing problems for us. We noticed that those we invite end up sleeping at wrong rooms because their rooms were occupied by spurious visitors. Thus, this time we’d be very strict in terms of accommodation, welfare, ticketing and transportation to the ceremonies and this is not to spite anybody but to make the event better and more enjoyable.”
She also condemned actions of invitees who do not call to confirm attendance. “As it is done all over the world, invited guests confirm their attendance days or weeks before the event to help organisers know necessary things to provide on time, but such a thing is impossible here in Nigeria.”
She however appealed to practitioners invited to confirm their attendance and also make it a point of duty to attend and rally round AMAA.
Paul Obazele, president, Association of Movie Producers, also remarked that in time past, practitioners have been lackadaisical about the importance of the awards which has helped to place Nigeria not only at the top in Africa but the world, therefore urging all concerned to be prepared to avert these recurring problems.
“The truth is Nollywood has colonised Africa. The fear is that the white man cannot understand the phenomenon, and it is left to us to make them aware the good that is available for all with AMAA. I’m not saying this because Peace is my friend, I’m saying it because this is the most important event that we have at the moment that can pilot us and reposition us as a nation that does movies…the time has come for us once again to shoot and submit our best films.
“I don’t know where AMAA is headed this time around, but I know if filmmakers submit their films on time, we can also dominate. Do you ask yourself why Mnet now has MM1 and Africa Magic plus? That’s the fear they have, they are training other nations but the truth is that we are a better story telling nation,” he stressed.
On his part, Remi Ohajianya was excited that the organisers were taking measures to ensure that the RSVP were strictly adhered to, while also recounting his past experiences. “I’m happy that the CEO of AMAA said the RSVP must be strictly adhered to as this will really help to reduce the problems we encounter.”
He gave kudos to the AMAA’s CEO and her team for past efforts, who had made several efforts to satisfy everybody but that it is practically impossible to do, he therefore urged organisers to be stricter so as to maintain the standards that is associated with AMAA.
Also speaking at the event, Segun Arinze, star actor, stated that there was no reason for AMAA to be sorry for its shortcomings because it was an award that has continued to improve yearly. According to him, problems occur all the time at major events but admitted that organisers are ready to learn, open to suggestions, and willing to improve next year’s awards.
Victor Okhai, director, International Film and Broadcast Academy, also noted that movies submitted for awards should go through rigorous screening sessions in order to meet up the standards.
On his part, top filmmaker, Ralph Nwadike, also proposed the idea of AMAA sponsoring movies of quality that meets international standard, with the help of Hollywood and the pool of directors and producers; this, he said will help improve the quality of films submitted.
In her response, Peace hinted that the Academy has put in place initiatives to help practitioners in different aspects of the movie industry, and very few have taken advantage of the schemes which are virtually free.
“We launched the Africa Film Fund and the Academy (to train our practitioners), and we ask producers for proposals. Some of the proposals we got could not even pass the first level of appraisal by either the sponsors or the banks.”