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How filmmaker Leonard Amanya bagged jury role at AMVCAs

by Editorial Team
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By Hussein Kiganda

Film producer and director Leonard Amanya recently revealed that he had the privilege of serving as a jury member at the esteemed African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) in 2023, during which Loukman Ali emerged victorious in two categories.

In an interview with The Kampala Sun, Amanya shared that he received an email informing him of his jury nomination just a week after Multichoice Nigeria unveiled the nominees for the ninth edition of the AMVCAs.

He attributed his selection to his extensive background in the film industry and his experience judging various African film competitions.

“It is likely that my work experience in film, serving as a juror on numerous African film competitions, coupled with my role as a film producer and director, along with networking with other film professionals, contributed to my appointment as a jury member,” Amanya explained.

He expressed immense gratitude for being chosen to represent his country on such a prestigious platform, emphasising the significance it held for him personally and for Uganda as a whole.

When asked about his experience in Nigeria, Amanya described it as an amazing opportunity to collaborate with film professionals from diverse countries, where knowledge sharing was paramount.

Amanya acknowledged that he gleaned invaluable insights and lessons from his peers, appreciating the transparency in the selection process, team composition, and the supporting systems that facilitated the overall proceedings.

Addressing concerns about Uganda’s modest two award wins during his tenure, he revealed that the jury’s role was to view all the films and exercise utmost honesty throughout the deliberation process. He firmly believed that the recipients of the awards deserved their accolades, emphasising the absence of favouritism.

“Our selection as jury members was not to exhibit favouritism toward any particular film or filmmaker. Every nominated film had to be evaluated by all of us. While I cannot divulge much about the process, I can confidently say that every winner was deserving,” Amanya stated.

Leonard Amanya (left) poses for a photo with the AMVCA jury. Courtesy photo

Views on Ugandan filmmakers

Amanya confirmed that Loukman Ali’s outstanding performance in the film Brotherhood propelled him to win the coveted awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography at the AMVCAs.

He highlighted the fact that several other Ugandan movies had received nominations, indicating their commendable quality. Nevertheless, Amanya advised Ugandan filmmakers to strive harder and adopt a more strategic approach.

“We had several Ugandan films vying for the same awards, including Tembele by Morris Mugisha and others. To be candid, Ugandan films are making significant strides, but if we desire more awards, we must work diligently and intelligently,” he advised.

“Ugandan films have everything and have the potential to do great, not only at AMVCA but in the global space. We need to produce more quality films, more co-productions with each other, and more capacity-building initiatives to increase the skill sets in the film industry. The more professional creatives we have, the more the quality and number of films we shall produce,” he added.

Amanya has served as a jury member on several international festivals such as; Durban International Film Festival, Zambia International Film Festival, Mashariki African Film Festival, Eko International Film Festival, and many more. He is the producer of the movie Crystal, which has won several international awards.

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