It had been touted as one of the events to make it on the list of the social events of the year. But the 2017 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs) nominees’ gala in Kigali was a flop. Even the presence of prominent African actors could not help. At one point, organisers had to waive the entrance fee to allow people into the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, formerly Camp Kigali, the venue that was dotted with empty seats.
The turn up was very low and the event started very late.
Many blamed it on poor planning, while others cited the high entrance fee. But the gala also coincided with the popular Primus Guma Guma Super Star Season 7 (PGGSS7) finale.
Before the gala, the nominees visited Kigali Genocide Memorial, where they paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
It was expected that the nominees would arrive at Camp Kigali at 6p.m for a dinner with their fans, but by that time the venue had only empty seats. It was not until 10:30p.m that the event finally started.
Disappointed revelers who spoke to The New Times blamed the low turn on the entrance fee which was Rwf50, 000 for Platinum, Rwf30,000 for Diamond and Rwf15,000 for ordinary seats.
“If the entrance fee was Rwf5, 000 and Rwf10, 000, maybe they would have got more people. Given the time of the month, the entrance fee was a lot of money,” Josiane Umubyeyi, a reveler said.
Nevertheless, the few people who turned up were able to enjoy every moment.
Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of AAMA thanked Rwanda and the Rwandan people for the warm reception they were given.
The night was graced by prominent Nigerian actors and actresses including the nominees Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze, Nwokobia Chidi, Doris Simeon, Lydia Forson, Emem Isong, Olu Jacobs and his wife Joke Jacobs, Bolane and Tony Anih. Others included Victor Osuagwu and Paul Ibazere.
Other notable guests included the Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Belise Kariza and the founder and CEO of Kwetu Film Institute, Eric Kabera.
The nomination was done on Sunday, May 14 at Kigali Convention Centre (KCC). Among 29 different categories, there is only one Rwandan nominee, Clementine Dusabejambo’s film A Place for Myself in the Best Short Film Category.
One of the members on the organising team who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed the poor turn up on poor organisation and failure to coordinate with local partners.
“We didn’t work with the right people while organising the dinner. There was no adequate advertisement and marketing of the event,” the official said.
There were reports that some members of the local film industry boycotted the event because they were not involved in the planning process.
Ugandan sensation Ykee Benda of Munakampala fame performed and mesmerised the few who attended, particularly the duo of Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze, commonly known as Aki and Paw Paw. The duo got on their feet and danced.