The inaugural edition of the Liberia National Movie Awards has ended with lots of surprises and talking points. From ‘Deadly Twin’ winning the Best Film category to news of E. Owusu Dahnsaw losing to Melvin G. Melvin, who was considered an underdog for the Best Actor category, shock was also the word in the mouths of many people at the Monrovia City Hall.
Like Melvin, Linda Bassie triumphed in the Best Female Comedian category by defeating film heavyweight Mamie Kamara (Dugobormor Ma). Although she was not present to pick up her award, the win was indeed a shocker.
However, like any award show, there was good and bad news. And six of them follow in no particular order:
Musa Massaquio wins Against Prediction
Prior to the awards, all talk on who will win Best Director was directed at Derrick Snyder, whose steely work with the action packed film ‘Maher,’ which brought to light a genocide that happened during the Liberian civil war, made him the clear favorite.
However, it was Musa Massaquoi who defied the odds to emerge as the winner.
Another big winner of the night was Suzzy Bright who battled Pamela Pewu to emerge as the winner of the Best Supporting Actress \category.
Van Vicker, Eddie Watson and Frank Artus made impassionate speeches about the potential of the movie industry if prioritized by the government and stakeholders.
Last to receive their awards as international actors, the trio separately opened their remarks with a plea to stakeholders and the government to see more reason to support the film industry.
In their remarks, they said the movie industry has the potential to employ more than 1,000 Liberian youth, which will help reduce poverty and create a strong middle class, but that would only happen when the sector is prioritized.
At the end of their remarks, each struck a chord with the audience by blasting at nominees and honorees that missed the ceremony.
Hazem G. Harb was the best dressed
While there were lots of big names in the house with dope and flashy swag; however, it was Hazem G. Harb, co-founder of Hott FM, who stole the night. Matter of fact, the dude was the best dressed in building seeing off competition form the likes of Frank Artus and E. Owusu Dahnsaw. That jacket over the lappa was a sure hit.
Remark turned political
In his remarks, the Vice President of the Liberia National Movie Union, Henry Johnson, lambasted government for not funding the film industry despite several appeals.
However, at the end of his statement, Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood retorted that Johnson was lying, and that the government has done well.
“Go bring a report for the over US$15,000 given to the union last year. The money was not meant to buy a car or pay the LIMU leadership, but rather to train filmmakers in the country and help government create avenues for a better film market,” said an angry Rep. Youngblood.
DJ Blue and Funnbi Henries’ Honor was bought – audience said
As a maiden award, many in the audience expected some mistakes, but the honoring of Bernard Benson, alias DJ Blue, as Best Liberian Movie Promoter, and Fubbi F. A. Henries as Best Liberian Movie Promoter also, raised red flags all over the hall.
As a matter of fact, the audience said it seems that the honor was given out on friendship or because they both sponsored the awards.
“DJ Blue and Fubbi don’t deserve this honor. They have never publicly supported, or even in secret, Liberian movies,” said several some members of the audience who spoke to LIB Life.
Veteran actresses and Actors Honored with certificates instead of statues
This was the greatest mistake of the night. Giving certificates to veteran actresses like Georgia Holders and Kadiatu Kana, among others, showed total disrespect and even undermined the sacrifice they made for the industry.
Things turned worse when the certificates given to the honorees were not sealed. In a joint statement right after the show, members of the audience who spoke to LIB Life said: “This is a total disrespect and we are demanding an apology. You cannot honor minor players in the industry like DJ Blue and Fubbi with a gold plated bronze statue and then you give veterans certificates that cost less than L$500 to print. This is totally unacceptable!”
According to a source, because of the certificate issue, Martha Arkosah, President of the Liberia National Movie Union, who was one of the honorees, arrived late at the program.
Lack of respect for other people’s religion
At a standard movie award ceremony, religious tolerance is highly respected. But at the LNMAs, it was the other way around as the event was opened with a Christina prayer in front of non-Christians.
This was one of the greatest mistakes made on the part of the organizers, which made non-Christians to describe the award as, “a Christian one!”
Below is the winner listing
Best Actor (Melvin G. Melvin)
Best Director (Musa J. Massaquoi)
Best Producer (Richard Dwumoh)
Best Supporting Actor (John P. Smith)
Best Supporting Actress (Suzzie Smart)
Best Upcoming Actor (Fadee Murad)
Best Upcoming Actress (Kezella Vanyanbah)
Best Standup Comedian (Duke Murphy Dennis)
Best Comedian (Isaac Sunday Sieh)
10. Best Supporting Comedian (Ojuku Kpui)
Fastest Growing Comedian (Jerrison Kromah)
Best Female Comedian (Linda Bassie)
Most Improved Director (Abdul Karim Sheriff)
Best D. O. P (Rubin Nyantee)
Best Marketer (Emmanuel Sorsor)
Best Child Actress (Natasha IBe)
Best Movie (deadly Twins)
Best Editor (Alex Matth)
Best Makeup Artist (James J. Quah)
Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Quincy T
Best Liberian Movie Promoter (Bernard Benson, DJ Blue)
Best Liberian Movie Promoter (Fubbi F. A. Henries)
Liberian International Actor, Eddie Watson; Liberia’s Most Outstanding International Actor, Van Vicker; and Liberia’s Most Outstanding Local and International Actor, Artus Frank.