FabAfriq Magazine

Nollywood & African Film Critics' Awards (NAFCA)

It is very refreshing to find that Africans are making large strides in several aspects of life. The Nollywood & African Film Critics' Awards, also known as NAFCA, is an accolade bestowed by the Nollywood Film Critics USA ,the official movie review organization for Nollywood and Africa. NAFCA recognizes the excellence of professionals in the African film industry, including directors, actors, writers and humanitarians. The formal ceremony will be held annually every second weekend in September from September 16, 2011, in beautiful Raleigh, the capital city of the state of North Carolina, USA. 

The Nollywood & African Film Critics' Awards is one of the most prominent award ceremonies in North America for the African film industry and the only awards ceremony able to pull a host of African movie stars and filmmakers from around the world under one roof. Designed to help improve the African film industry’s image and promote African culture through films worldwide, these are awards "of merit for distinctive achievement" in the African film industry and are considered the highest U.S. A based awards honouring excellence in African film-making. A percentage of the funds raised through sponsorship and ticket sales will be donated to charitable organizations.

Dr Victor O. Olatoye, President and CEO, tells Fabafriq Magazine what NAFCA really is all about.

FAM: You’re a Doctor; tell us a little bit about this.

Dr Olatoye: Sure, I get that all the time. I hope you are ready for what I am about to tell you. I am not a doctor of letters,but a trained Veterinarian and a microbiologyist. I specialized in hydrogen peroxide sterilization... enough about that. I am sure you are more interested in the fun stuff like movies, right?

FAM: okay! What triggered the idea of Film Critic Awards?

Dr Olatoye: We have been reviewing films for a while now and as are responsible for rating African films. We figured no one else was better qualified to choose the best of the best films and actors than the film critics.

FAM: How did you get others to trust and invest in your idea?

Dr Olatoye: Actually, we have had a following over the last few years through the film reviews we started with Nollywood Film Critics USA. Some of our predictions for other awards have been accurate. When we recommend a movie, the DVDs fly off the shelves. We are very credible and people trust our judgement. When your opinion is trusted and respected, it’s not so difficult to get others to rally round an idea.

FAM: How do you think this project will make a difference in the movie industry?

Dr Olatoye: Apart from an obvious sense of pride, it will create more awareness of the African film industry. We have some of the best natural environments in which to shoot films. We are a friendly people and smart with a rich cultural heritage. People need to see that and that is what NAFCA will bring to North America in the hope it will benefit Africa. Like GE, we bring good things to life. More foreign investment will create more employment. It’s a no-brainer and our governments should be helping more.
FAM: Tell us a little bit about the Nollywood Summit.

Dr Olatoye: The Nollywood Summit is an annual round table discussion between the filmmakers, film critics, talent agencies, various guilds, film distributors, retailers and some fans. The summit addresses the problems facing the African film industry and how to find solutions. At this year's summit we are going to have Mr. Jammie M. Brown from Hollywood, a talent agent and acting coach who has worked with stars like Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker and Michael Jackson. He will be helping some talented Nollywood stars find roles in Hollywood. Dr. Clarice Kulah will be talking about the importance of The African Film Practitioners Guild. The African Film Practitioners Guild is an association formed by the various AFROWOOD enterprises to implement a high level of professionalism through an Industry Code of Practices, to provide a platform for universal motion-picture productions, to facilitate the legal process of fiscal investment, collaboration & distribution procedures and to structure a systematic initiative for industry-recognized talent acquisition promoted through membership. 

FAM: What would you say was the most difficult part of putting the event together?

Dr Olatoye: Sourcing funding and sponsorship and getting people to submit films on time.

FAM: How did you get nominations?

Dr Olatoye: The best films, Actors in Films and filmmakers get nominated. Most nominated films earned NFC

FAM: How do you ensure every country in Africa is equally represented?

Dr Olatoye: Awards are not based on equal representation; that is just not the goal. The awards are based on merits. For example, if a Gambian film is good, then it might get nominated for the best film category. We make sure we review movies from interesting producers from various countries. Since there are more films produced in Nigeria and Ghana it should not surprise you when you see more Nigerian and Ghanaian films more than films from Nollywood USA/Canada, Cameroon, Liberia, Kenya and South Africa.

FAM: Tell us about the NAFCA Trophy.

Dr Olatoye: Each NAFCA trophy is individually numbered and lovely piece of art designed by me. We are a little tired of the Oscar variations. NAFCA trophies are made of bronze, then plated in 24K gold. Each weighs about 7.88 pounds and handmade. Cost per trophy is approximately $408 but will retail for about $3000 in the first year. (Not that anyone would want to sell them). Every part of the trophy means something. You can probably guess what the black base signifies. Each trophy has a serial number registered in the winner's name. We plan to have a piece donated to the Smithsonian in Washington DC because we are making history in North America.

FAM: How do you set the criteria for what constitutes a good movie?

Dr Olatoye: We actually designed and recently registered with the United States Trademark and Patent office the movie rating system for African films (NFC- At Nollywood Critics critiquing a movie professionally is not simply a matter of voting YES or NO on newly released movies. Our professional film critics have to do a significant amount of research in order to judge each movie in the proper context. We understand that a very complex movie may need to be critiqued on psychological, dramatic and sociological levels, which means our film critics also possess very strong analytical and literary skills.. A strong African cultural background allows them to better understand the movies they review. Critics’ Recommendations are as follows: BUY IT: {NFC 2½
Films are screened for: story lines, picture quality, sound, special effects, actors' performances, screenwriting, producing and directing.

FAM: How do you choose members of the panel/judges?

Dr Olatoye: The panel is made up of qualified individuals who must have seen and written reviews on the films being voted on. We don't nominate films based on trailers.

FAM: How will you ensure there is a good relationship between your organisation and other Africans films organisations in future?

Dr Olatoye: I am assuming you are talking about other awards. NAFCA organizers will attend and offer support to the other awards, like AMAA (Nigeria) and ZAAFA (London). We feel like we have good relationship already. We cover North America, so I don't think we are in any competition because we are not going to have the NAFCAs anywhere else. AMAA and ZAAFA are both nominated for the NAFCA's most influential organizations of 2010.

FAM: Have you begun making plans for next year?

Dr Olatoye: Sure, we already have a location for NFCA 2012. It is a very beautiful location and will accommodate 3000 guests. We hope that will be the permanent home of NAFCA Awards. We are also working on increasing our sponsorship in 2012. 

FAM: How will you create greater awareness next year for more participants?

Dr Olatoye: Networking with various organizations, news media, online newsletters, online advertisement, various producers guilds and through various embassies. We are already working with Lady Kate and Miss Linda of Miss Africa USA. They have been very helpful in getting the word out through their networks. Miss Fifi Soumah will be co-hosting with Actor Majid Michel. The Miss Africa USA pageant put us in touch with African American Lifestyle publishers to publish our advert. That is the kind of networking between NAFCA and other organizations we intend to build on. 
FAM: When will collection of contributions for the 2012 event begin?

Dr Olatoye: September 18 2011, the day after the awards.

FAM: How can your fans buy tickets to NAFCA awards, reserve hotels & get more information about the event ?

Dr. Olatoye: We would like our fans to visit the NAFCA Awards official website, www.nafcawards.com for most recent updates. Standard tickets cost $50. There are also platinum and VIP tickets available. For hotel information on the Sheraton, see the website for huge discounts. They can follow us on twitter ( www.twitter.com/nollywoodc) and finally they can like us on Facebook (Nollywood Critics)

FAM: Thank you for agreeing to talk with us. It’s been a pleasure get ting some insight into how the Nollywood & African Film Critics' Awardswork. The very best wishes for the future.

Dr. Victor: You are very welcome.

FabAfriq Magazine would like to wish all the nominees the very best of luck!!

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