United Bank for Africa Plc has restated its commitment to help grow and develop the African film industry with financial support. Speaking at the just concluded 2009 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) ceremony held at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Group Director, Marketing and Corporate Relations, UBA, Martin Anyanwu said besides it current support of AMAA, the Nigerian-based bank will supply further support to African filmmakers.

“Financing is a critical problem faced by the industry not just in Nigeria but across Africa. Apart from this, there are other challenges too, for instance – many filmmakers require coaching and support when it comes to business planning and writing”, he noted.

Commenting on the modalities for the partnership, Anyanwu said that UBA-AMAA will in the present arrangement collaborate with various sectoral groups including the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) and EMPRETEC Nigeria Foundation for training platforms through workshops/seminars aimed at enhancing the entrepreneurial and business planning skills of industry practitioners.

“We have already taken 20 such filmmakers in Nigeria through such programmes and they have in turn submitted proposals which are currently being evaluated by our Entertainment Desk, he said”

In her comment, President African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) Peace Anyiam-Osigwe said African films have the potentials of changing the negative perception of the continent based largely from images fed to the world over the years through the conventional news media.

She said that there is therefore the need to produce the right films and at the same time reward and celebrate practitioners so they can be encouraged to do more. She praised the Bayelsa state government and UBA for supporting AMAA which celebrates African movies.

The 2009 UBA-AMAA would go down as one of the biggest gathering of movie makers across the African continent and Diaspora. Hollywood star, Forest Whitaker who won the Oscar for his portrayal of the former Ugandan Head of State Idi Amin Dada in the film ‘The last King of Scotland’ and Danny Glover, another Hollywood legend, witnessed the handing over of the UBA-AMAA plaque to deserving winners.

Forest Whitaker said coming for the ceremony was a home coming of sorts for him, given that it has given him the opportunity of connecting with his ancestral roots. He pointed out that experience and imagination are the essential ingredients in film making and therefore urged contemporary story tellers in the continent to exploit these, to tell the African story positively.

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