Film-Maker Shemu Joyah saved Malawi’s face during the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) nomination gala which had so many hitches.
The Friday night event, attended by President Joyce Banda at Bingu Conference Centre in Lilongwe, saw Joyah’s latest movie The Last Fishing Boat earn five nominations.
Joyah, who was on cloud nine, later posed for photographs with Banda and AMAA CEO Peace Aniyam- Osigwe and said he is now looking at going all the way by winning all the categories at the awards ceremony to be held in the Nigerian state of Bayelsa on April 25.
The gala night, which also brought on board several high profile personalities from government, politics and the business community as well as Nollywood actors including Kanayo O Kanayo and Chouma Chukwuka, was broadcast live on MBC TV and GOtv.
But the biggest disappointment on the night was the way the presenters put up a sub-standard performance.
However, Joyah lifted the gloom when his Seasons of a Life received five nominations for Best Prize for Achievement in Soundtrack, Best Film in an African Language, Best Actress an a Leading Role, Best Director and Best Film.
This is not the first time for Joyah to be nominated as in 2010 his debut movie Seasons of a Life, received eight nominations with only actress Tapiwa Gwaza winning the Best Actress accolade.
In the Best Film in an African Language category, The Last Fishing Boat which delves into the clash of cultures but also reveals the beauty of Malawi, will battle it out with Moi Zaphira (Burkina Faso), Elelwani (South Africa), Nairobi Half Life (Kenya), Blood and Henna and Kokomma (both Nigeria) and Sherifa (Togo).
Flora Suya, was over the moon following her nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, has to shrug off competition from among others Nigeria’s Rita Dominic.
For Best Film, The Last Fishing Boat has to stand competition from movies from Mozambique, South Africa, Cameroon and Nigeria.
“I am excited to get five nominations which is not a simple achievement. There were over 600 entries and to get a nomination in my country and in the presence of the President is something special. We are looking forward to the awards ceremony,” said Joyah.
The awards aside, South Africa gospel singer Rebecca Malope showed her class when she gave out a spirited performance, offering lifeline to the poorly organised event.
The celebrated songbird even went further to drag President Banda from her seat and jived with her as the first gentleman, vice president Khumbo Kachali and his wife and Aniam-Osigwe joined the party.
“I am happy to be here. I love my songs because they draw me closer to God. I am not ashamed of what I do,” said Malope, who has released over 30 albums in a music career spanning over 27 years.
The 2003 Kora Award Best Gospel Singer, performed several songs spicing up her performance with dancing which was strengthened by her dancers and backing vocalists.
Some of the songs she offered include ‘Umoya Wami,’ and ‘Ngiyikeleni,’ before she dished out ‘Njalo’ as a remembrance to departed musician Vuyo Mokoena.