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AMAA founder, Peace Anyiam Osigwe, is dead

THE founder of African Movie Academy Awards (AMMA), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, is dead.

She died last night at St Nicholas Hospital in Lagos.

Breaking the sad news of death of the respected and influential filmmaker, a close associate and also a filmmaker, Obi Emelonye, the producer of ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ in a short tribute on Twitter wrote: “Thank you and good night dada Peace.”

Also confirming the news,  former President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Zik Zulu Okafor said “the news is true.”

Another Nollywood icon, songwriter, and filmmaker, Mike Nliam, queried, “How can 2023 start like this? “The founder of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMMA) and president of the Association of Movie Producers of Nigeria, Peace Anyiam Osigwe, is gone to be with d Lord!

“Nollywood was everything to her! Oh, what a tragic news! Life indeed is so fickle! May her soul rest in d bosom of d Lord.”

 Revered as the ‘queen of Nollywood films’, the late filmmaker who was formerly known as Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima before her short-lived marriage, pioneered the screening of Nollywood films at international film festivals. 

 She directed the first music video of hip-hop sensation, P-Square in 2012.

Prior to her passing, the filmmaker who hails from the notable Anyiam-Osigwe family in Nkwerre, Imo State was reportedly in coma before she succumbed. 

 The late Anyiam-Osigwe, who was until her death the President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) and one of the prominent figures in Nollywood, holds a degree in Law and Politics from Oxford Brookes University. However, the allure of film making made her jettison the legal profession for the creative world of make belief.

For her immense contribution to the Nigerian entertainment industry, the movie sub-sector in particular, she was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by the federal government.

She would be remembered as one of those who shaped the face of nation’s movie industry, as her contributions to the industry can not be overemphasized.

For over 18 years, AMAA has become the biggest and most consistent platform to celebrate and recognise filmmakers from Africa and Diaspora. In 2022, the awards partnered with Lagos State Government last year to celebrate filmmakers who have excelled their craft in the last one year. 

Speaking about her journey into film making before her demise, Anyiam-Osigwe said, “the journey has been an interesting one, a learning curve, a contribution to the growth of African film industry, and a fulfillment that the academy found a void in the African film space and has, in 18 years, filled the void with a globally accepted and renowned project that continues to contribute, reward and keep up with global standard practice.”

 She noted that it was hard, to sustain it, adding that “one, I think, founding it, I got the buzz of all we needed to do this for Africa. We needed to do this, because we needed to be authentic with judging ourselves in our own way. And not just competing in one category in anything, or being seen as second-class citizens.” 

 “So we found that looking for sponsors, and then finally getting a support of certain people to start the AMAAs in 2005. It was good. We had a good run with Bayelsa state, supporting AMAA. It wasn’t smooth, and what a lot of people didn’t realise is that it wasn’t like it was so much money being given to us. But we had a lot of goodwill. And we put a lot of our own finances into it, as well. 

 “So, it did do a lot for AMAA and kept it going. But again, people didn’t realise that one of our biggest sponsors for AMAA actually was the United Bank of Africa (UBA), which had a three-major deal with us and that was the big break for AMAA. And I think that’s one of the biggest branding deals that has been signed in Nigeria, for an event at that time with Tony Elumelu.”

 She continued, “We did other countries, Rwanda, South Africa, for AMAA. We have had some interesting partnerships with different brands we had at one time, We’ve worked with different countries, in terms of building up their film industries, and having the AMAA nominations there. And I think one of our most interesting nomination parties was the one we held in Los Angeles. 

 “So sustaining AMAA is hard work, because it does cost a lot to do AMAA. You have to take up a lot of the costs of a lot of the African filmmakers, most of them struggle to make films. Some in 90 per cent of the cases, they can’t afford the cost of visa, the cost of travel, hotel accommodation. So, you have to provide that in order to have the kind of show that you want to do. 

“So we’re forever looking for support wherever, looking for sponsorship in order to be able to bring the filmmakers to the award itself.”

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