The African Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) has emerged as a cultural phenomenon within the vibrant Nigerian film industry, widely known as Nollywood. Since its inception in 2013, the AMVCA has steadily gained prominence, transforming the landscape of Nigerian cinema and influencing the trajectory of African storytelling.
With this year’s coveted award done and dusted and filmmakers and fans seem to move on to the next best thing, this article delves into the cultural impact of the AMVCA, examining its contributions to the Nollywood industry, the elevation of Nigerian talent, and the fostering of a distinct African cinematic identity.
Celebrating talents and building capacity in Nollywood
The AMVCA serves as a platform to recognize and honour exceptional talent in Nollywood. By establishing a prestigious award ceremony, it celebrates the dedication and craftsmanship of filmmakers, actors, directors, and other industry professionals who have made significant contributions to not only the Nigerian film landscape but Africa as well.
The recognition bestowed upon these actors and filmmakers not only boosts their personal careers but also provides inspiration and encouragement to emerging talents. Loukman Ali the Ugandan filmmaker has seen a positive trajectory to his career after his short film ‘The girl in the yellow jumpsuit’ which was Ugandans first ever Netflix film got AMVCA nod in 2022 and took home the award for ‘Best Feature film East Africa’.
The filmmaker has since been sought after by Nollywood film studios and his work on films like ‘Brotherhood’ has seen him pick up two awards this year for ‘Best Cinematographer’ and ‘Best Director’. The award also saw back to back wins for Osas Ighodaro for ‘Best Actress in a drama’ and Samuel Perry popularity known as Broda Shaggy for ‘Best Actor in a comedy’ further proving the AMVCA’s capacity to create new wave of household names in the industry.
Encouraging Quality Productions
With the emergence of new film technologies and the rise of streaming platforms in the Nollywood market, the standard for getting an AMVCA nomination has levelled up.
Films and television series must meet stringent criteria, including technical proficiency, storytelling prowess, and production quality. This has had a profound impact on the Nollywood industry, leading to a rise in the overall standard of filmmaking.
With the AMVCA acting as a barometer for excellence, filmmakers are compelled to invest in higher production values, as well as partner with streaming services to improve the visual and technical aspects of their projects. Consequently, this has resulted in more refined storytelling and a more immersive cinematic experience for viewers.
Anikulapo by Kunle Afolayan as well as Brotherhood which took home five awards each are both found on international streaming platforms which proves that our movies have global viewership standards.
Read also: Full list of winners at the 9th AMVCA 2023
Amplifying Nigerian Stories
One of AMVCA’s most significant cultural influences is its role in elevating Nigerian stories and presenting the diversity of Nigerian culture to a global audience. Sponsored by Multichoice, which has previously worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest companies, the awards leverages the glitz and glamour of the event to showcase Nigerian and African fashion and film culture.
Speaking during the award campaign, . Busola Tejumola, Head of Content and West Africa Channels, said “As a brand, we’ve always been committed to telling authentic African stories, sharing the complexities of what makes us unique. The 55 movies that aired in March Madness do that – telling stories about different facets of us as Africans and our culture. Every single film exposed viewers to a new point of view. We know the producers created the movies with the best standards, and we believe that viewers enjoyed watching them.”
Nollywood has long been a force in African storytelling and the AMVCA is serving as a catalyst for spreading these stories beyond Nigeria’s borders. With its international reach, AMVCA helps reduce stereotypes and misconceptions about Africa by presenting a rich collection of stories that highlight the continent’s complexities, struggles, triumphs and cultural heritage.
Fostering Industry Collaboration and Networking
Every year, the AMVCA acts as a gathering point for industry professionals, providing a conducive environment for networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. Filmmakers, actors, directors, journalists and other creatives converge at this prestigious event, fostering an atmosphere of creativity and partnership.
Tejumola during the Multichoice Film and Tv Stakeholders engagement, said, the programme was aimed at strengthening our communication with film and TV stakeholders to continue to empower, promote, and support the film industry in Nigeria as they look to mark the companies 2oth year of operations in Nigeria.
“It will also give industry stakeholders the chance to learn about our processes, our expectations in terms of quality, how pitches get chosen, and how to stand out regarding acquisitions and commissioning. Most importantly, they will get to meet the team responsible for creating the magic on our Africa Magic channels,” Tejumola said.
The AMVCA serves as a meeting ground for industry players, facilitating connections that lead to future collaborations, co-productions, and skill exchanges. This culture of collaboration has helped propel the growth of Nollywood and the African film industry as a whole.
Elevating African Fashion and Style
Beyond the realm of cinema, the AMVCA has also had a profound impact on African fashion and style. In previous award years, the red carpet at the AMVCA has become a showcase for African designers, promoting indigenous fashion talent and encouraging the consumption of locally-made garments with fashion styles almost mirroring the glitz and glamour seen at international events like the Met Gala.
Femi Odugbemi, the head of the voting members at the AMVCA, told our correspondent that celebrities and actors are bodies of stories as they keep up with their celebrity lifestyle, and that when they walk down the red carpet, their clothes and sense of style—from the designer who created their outfit to the number of hours it took to make it—tell a story about the celebrity.
With the eyes of the continent and the world fixed on the AMVCA, fashion designers seize the opportunity to display their creativity, infusing African aesthetics with contemporary trends and global appeal. This spotlight on African fashion has led to increased recognition and marketability of African designers on a global scale.
Inspiring the Next Generation
The AMVCA has inspired a new generation of filmmakers, actors, and creatives who aspire to make their mark in the Nollywood industry. By recognizing and celebrating achievements, the AMVCA provides a platform for emerging talents to showcase their abilities, thereby motivating others to pursue their dreams.
Speaking with Olabode Izzy, a young filmmaker who attended the event he said seeing his idols like Kunle Afolayan winning the Best Overall movie is an inspiration for him to perform at the highest level to climb the same stage his predecessors have been.
As young Africans witness the success stories and the transformative power of cinema through the AMVCA, it ignites their passion, encouraging them to tell their own stories and contribute to the growth.