Frank Rajah on his ‘Best Director’ win at the 2018 African Movie Academy Awards

Movie director Frank Rajah Arase has been adjudged best director at the 2018 edition of the prestigious African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held in Kigali. He beat a long...
Movie director Frank Rajah Arase has been adjudged best director at the 2018 edition of the prestigious African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held in Kigali.
He beat a long list of other influential African directors, some of whom are Oscar nominees to win the award. They include Jade Osiberu, Michael Mathews, Safia Djama, Oluseyi Siwoku, Shemu Joyah, Darrell Roodt, Akin Omotosho, Peter Kofi Sedufia and Kenneth Gyang. Frank won with the movie, ‘In My Country’.
In a statement, he described his win as a “very loud one.”
He said he is even more honoured and proud to pick the award because of the  jury of the AMAAs which “comprises some of the most formidable film critics, curators, academics and film festival founders on the continent, nay, the world. Several of them are jurors on the boards of the most renowned film festivals in the world. They’ve written texts on African film that are veritable sources for research and have received high acclaim for their personal works in cinema.”
“It is, therefore, difficult to fault their judgment on film. More so, they have never pandered to Nigeria which is the founding and most times host nation of AMAA. As several times, filmmakers from Kenya, Congo and far-flung African countries have won in categories with Nollywood nominees,” he said.
“I’m grateful to AMAA for organising an award that adds a wonderful feather on the cap of African filmmakers. I’m grateful to Peace Anyiam-Osigwe for the vision to have found this great event and to have stayed the course through the years. I’m grateful to my team, the superb crew and indefatigable cast for bringing a hundred percent of their A-game,” he added.
Frank is currently one of Africa’s renowned directors who has directed over 50 movies both in Ghana and Nigeria. He is also known as the father of the new generation of Ghanaian actors like Majid Michel, Jackie Appiah, Yvonne Okoro, Nadia Buari, John Dumelo, Yvonne Nelson, Van Vicker, Martha Ankomah, Juliet Ibrahim and a host of others.
He has won several awards, including Best African In Drama at 2014 Africa Magic Viewers Awards (AMVCA), Best African Film Art Director (AMVCA 2016), Best African Film Director at Nollywood African Critic’s awards (NAFCA 2011) USA, Best African Film Director, Golden Icons Academy Movie Awards (GIAMA 2012) USA, Best African Film Director at Zulu African Film Awards (ZAFA 2011) London and  a host of others.
 Below is Frank’s full statement:
MY STATEMENT – AMAA 2018 WIN FOR BEST DIRECTOR.
It happened on the 21st night of October, in the quaint and enchanting city of Kigali in Rwanda.
It happened in the presence of a storied gathering, in a hall lit with the regal glitz of Africa’s finest filmmaking talent from within and beyond the continent.
It happened before millions of fans, critics, entertainment lovers, film buffs and dreamers who aspire to tread this path we’re on, who tuned in to watch the live broadcast of the AMAA 2018 awards. 
It isn’t the first time I received an AMAA nomination. I was honoured with the Best Director nomination in 2014 for Princess Tyra, and subsequently, my movies Beyonce’, Somewhere in Africa and Iyore, received multiple nominations and wins in other categories. 
In my career as a filmmaker, I have won several Best Director awards and have been nominated more times than I can count.
But this AMAA win, in Kigali, before my colleagues in the confraternity of film and many more watching across the continent, and possibly, the world, was a loud one. Considering the class and caliber of films I was competing with. It is good enough to be excited about. 
Even as I write, I’m still giddy with bone-tingling excitement. 
To start with, this is AMAA. The jury selection team comprises of some of the most formidable film critics, curators, academics and film festival founders on the continent, nay, the world. Several of them are jurors on the boards of the most renowned film festivals in the world. They’ve written texts on African film that are veritable sources for research and have received high acclaim for their personal works in cinema. 
It is therefore difficult to fault their judgment on film. More so, they have never pandered to Nigeria which is the founding and most times host nation of AMAA. As several times, filmmakers from Kenya, Congo and far-flung African countries have won in categories with Nollywood nominees. 
Ayuko Babu executive director of the Pan African Film Festival [PAFF], Keith Shiri, June Givanni, Dorothy Wenner, Hyginus Ekwuazi and Shaibu Husseini are just some of the minds who make up the jury, and have made us know truly great African movies like Otelo Burning, Viva Riva, iNumber Number, Vaya and the masterful Timbuktu, by awarding them the top accolades.
You can understand then when I say I attended the event not minding if I win or not. My category was formidable, tough to say the least. I was in competition with movies such as Michael Matthew’s “Five Fingers for Marseille”; Kenneth Gyang’s “ Lost Café”; Akin Omotoso’s “A Hotel Called Memory”; Charles Shemu Joyah’s “ The Road To Sunrise”; Darrell Roodt’s “The Lullaby”; Sofia Djama’s “Les Bienheureux”; Oluseyi Siwoku’s “Cross Road”; Jadesola Osiberu’s “Isoken” and Peter Sedufia’s “Sidechic Gang”.
Folks! Nollywood has upped its game and increased its global viability, I was shoulder to shoulder with some of Nigeria’s finest as well as some of Africa’s great minds. Forgive my lack of faith but I was content to have been nominated. My efforts on “In My Country” had been validated by the Africa movie academy awards {AMAA} with prideful nominations… Sam Dede: Best Actor in a leading role; Okawa Shaznay: Best Actress in a leading role; Austine Enabulele Best young/promising actor; Best Film, Best Nigerian Film, Best Achievement in production design and Best overall film Director and that was good enough for me, so I came to have wine, mingle with my friends and colleagues, and strike up conversations with prospective business partners. Some of these films are also nominated and are in competition for the Oscars, which is the dream of every focused filmmaker.
But then… I won. And I am grateful.
I’m grateful to AMAA for organizing an award that adds a wonderful feather on the cap of African filmmakers. I’m grateful to Peace Anyiam-Osigwe for the vision to have found this great event and to have stayed the course through the years. I’m grateful to my team, the superb crew and indefatigable cast for bringing a hundred percent of their A-game. A captain is only as good as his crew, and the reason I won is you guys. And to my family for their constant prayers and support, to my fans and lastly, to my partner, the best human I have ever met in my life, an amiable personality, a gentle soul to say the least, Mr Kwame Boadu. You have proven to me that you are not just a friend but a brother. Thank you for all the support, the technical advice and contributions to Raj and Heroes Films. You are truly the best friend I have ever met. May the almighty God continue to bless and favour your dreams and visions. Thanks a million Mr K Boadu.     
Thank you. 
Submitted. Published Unedited

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