He Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) for the Best International Film (IFF) category of the Oscars has announced the decision of its founder and president, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi, to pass the baton of leadership, while moving on to other opportunities in life.
His decision comes days after he won the NOSC’s new nod at the Oscars, just as Nigeria and the rest of the world gear up for the 96th Academy Awards next year.
The new NOSC leadership, they said, will be announced in due course.
The NOSC in a statement on Tuesday said that under the strong two-term leadership of Ms Anyaene-Abonyi, the committee has become a beacon of hope and a befitting standard for Nigerian filmmakers aspiring to compete in the IFF category. of the Oscars.
The outgoing president recalls the pivotal moment when, as a young filmmaker, she tried to submit her film for Oscar consideration in 2012, only to discover that Nigeria had no constituted committee for film submissions.
She said: “This discovery fueled my determination to create and personally fund a committee for Nigerian films to compete at this prestigious level of international cinema.”
As Anyaene-Abonyi hands over command to a new team, the NOSC sees the transition as the end of an era characterized by unwavering dedication to standards, professionalism and a remarkable legacy.
“In recent years, NOSC’s mission has evolved from merely introducing films to promoting and encouraging the creation of high-quality Nigerian film entries. The focus shifted towards fostering a collaborative effort within the industry, where personal interests were put aside for the greater good of the Nigerian film industry,” he stated.
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As she takes this bold step out, the filmmaker-turned-entrepreneur expressed her confidence in the upcoming team’s ability to carry on the legacy and ensure that the quality and excellence of Nigerian films are prioritized.
She said: “The Nigerian film industry possesses immense potential and talent, and I believe that with continued dedication and cooperation, it will undoubtedly reach new heights.”
Remember that in 2012, Anyaene-Abonyi constituted the NOSC and received approval from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as the organization to collect, judge and vote for entries that would represent Nigeria in the IFF category.
The committee she was chair of was approved again in 2019. That year, the NOSC featured Genevieve Nnaji’s “Lionheart”, which was ultimately disqualified for failing to meet the criteria for dialogue in languages other than English.
Later, the Academy would succumb to Anyaene-Abonyi’s persistent demand to recognize pidgin as a local language. Therefore, on October 16, 2020, it recognized pidgin English as a non-English language eligible for the IFF category.
In 2021, Desmond Ovbiagele’s “The Milkmaid” made history as the first Academy-approved Nigerian film to compete in the IFF category of the 93rd Academy Awards, but failed to make the final shortlist.