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Njoki Muhoho, new head judge of the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards

The Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, was the venue of an engaging event where representatives of M-Net West and East Africa discussed preparations for the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) with East African filmmakers and members of the press.

The panel included Regional Director for M-Net West Africa Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, Channel Head for Maisha Magic East Margaret Mathore and Public Relations Manager for MultiChoice Tanzania Barbara Kambogi. A surprise addition to the panel was respected Kenyan film producer, critic and academic Njoki Muhoho, who was also unveiled as the new Head Judge for the 2016 AMVCAs.

Opening the event, Mathore said: "The purpose of this session is to inform all stakeholders in the East African film and television industry of entries for the 2016 edition of the AMVCAs. This is particularly important, given that we have new categories for next year’s edition and have also eased the entry process so that filmmakers across the continent can send in their works. For the upcoming edition, there are three new categories, which are Best East African Movie, Best Southern African Movie and Best West African movie. All these are voting categories and will exist side by side with the best overall movie in Africa. This is indeed an exciting opportunity for East African filmmakers to not only submit their films, but also actively contribute to the retelling of the East African story through their craft."

The event also featured a lively question and answer session with participants commending the organisers while also posing questions on the AMVCAs including the entry, voting and judging processes, as well as questions on the AMVCAs’ future and the possible expansion of the event. 

On her part, Mba-Uzoukwu said: "We are delighted to be here, engaging directly with the stakeholders from East Africa. This region is an extremely important contributor to the African film and television industry and we continue to see an increase in the quantity and quality of works from here. We have come to encourage the filmmakers present to not only enter their works, but to also encourage their peers to do the same as the AMVCAs, besides being Pan African in nature, also celebrates the best of African entertainment content for the world to see."

To enter for the AMVCAs, filmmakers who have produced and broadcast, or publically exhibited their works from 1 October 2014 to 30 September 2015, should prepare a two or three minute-long showreel for an online submission. They must then log on to the Africa Magic website and click on the AMVCA submission banner, which redirects to a submission page and is then filled, with the showreel uploaded. Once successfully done, a unique reference number will be generated and allocated to each completed submission. Quoting this unique reference number, filmmakers can then send a hard drive of their submitted work to any one of three different addresses, depending on their regions.

For East African entries, filmmakers should send in their entries to the Head of Production, second floor, M-Net office, Local Productions Studio, Jamburi Grounds off Ngong Road, Nairobi Kenya.

South African submissions should be sent to the Head of Production, Magic Centre, 137 Bram Fischer Drive, Randburg, South Africa, while West African submissions should be sent to MSSL Local Productions, 1652, Olosa Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. 

Also speaking at the event, the newly announced Head Judge, Njoki Muhoho, spoke from the perspective of having participated in the judging process of the three previous editions whilst challenging East African filmmakers to take advantage of the new entry process and show the rest of Africa just how rich and exciting the region’s content is. 

"The recognition that the AMVCAs bring to nominated and winning works cannot be quantified or overstated. The quality and quantity of the works entered have improved dramatically from the first edition in 2013. When you are nominated for an AMVCA, then you know you have gained continental and global recognition. But you cannot gain this if you do not enter your work and this is why I urge all East African filmmakers who meet the criteria to enter their films and show the rest of Africa the amount of talent and creativity abundant in this region," added Muhoho.

Entries for the AMVCAs are open until 30 October 2015.