Industry colleagues and family members alike have been in mourning since the death of Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the film industry icon, became public knowledge.


The kin of the deceased, who founded the much-acclaimed film ceremony, the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), confirmed her death on Tuesday.

Prior to her demise, associates of the filmmaker had revealed she was critically ill and in a coma. The nature of her ailment, however, remained undisclosed.

As AMAA founder, Anyiam-Osigwe’s influence allowed her to pioneer the screening of Nollywood entries at international film festivals.


Created prominent African film award AMAA

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe

AMAA is notable for recognising excellence in Africa’s film space; thanks to the work of Anyiam-Osigwe.


Founded in 2005 and run by the Africa Film Academy (AFA), the award now outlives its creator.

AMAA exists to platform African movies as well as unite the African continent through arts and culture.

The annual presentation is attended by celebrities, politicians, journalists, and actors from all across the world.

The AMAA presentation is widely considered to be one of the most important film events in Africa.


Speaking on why she created the award, Anyiam-Osigwe told TheCable Lifestyle in November 2021: “[The idea was] to start something that separates the best of our filmmakers from the pool.

“[To create a platform] where we can communicate, network, talk about our achievements, and really just have fun with black filmmakers around the world.”

Reputed to have directed one of P-square’s first videos

Beyond filmmaking, Anyiam-Osigwe had a career in TV and directing, which began with her discussion show ‘Piece Of My Mind’, which focused on people’s reactions to societal issues not regularly seen in the mainstream media.


Her talk show was centered on issues of advocacy for marginalised and neglected groups in society.

There, she broached talks about the African caste system, child trafficking, and gender equality.

At the early stage of the music duo P-square’s career, Anyiam-Osigwe was responsible for managing them.

The Guardian reports that the filmmaker is credited to have directed the group’s first music video.


Upheld jury-based award system in African film

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe

Some film awards are based on public voting, where viewers are made to decide what entry wins a category.

This predisposes the most popular, which might not be the best, to winning, and Anyiam-Osigwe is opposed to this.

On one occasion, she said a jury-based system shows “professionalism”, and anything otherwise is an “anomaly”.

She once explained how winners in AMAA are decided by independent jurists based on technical composition.

“AMAA strictly operates a jury system. The academy has six stages to the award proper during which entries are critically assessed before selecting the best in the last stage,” she said.

“The movies are assessed by curators of cinema, critics, professors, and renowned film make. I always tell people not to be emotionally swayed when results are announced.

“The most popular films don’t go to The Academy Awards. What appeals, in general, may not appeal to the jurists.

“They are looking for quality control and other things such as sound, picture quality, scripting, and sometimes relevance. So, a lot of times, there are popular movies out there that don’t win.”

Advocated development agenda for Nollywood

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe

Anyiam-Osigwe’s name has frequently appeared among those driving increased representation for Nollywood in the global film while also advocating an agenda for the development of critical infrastructure to enable its growth.

In 2016, she was reported to be among a Nigerian delegation at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The deceased also participated in numerous conversations around creating more distribution platforms as a partial solution to the then-prevailing menace of piracy, the signing of international film treaties, and talent scouting.

Anyiam-Osigwe also spoke in panels about the need for collaboration to capture other markets, tax incentives to filmmakers shooting in Nigeria, and the need for more functional film and culture industry agencies in Nigeria.

In 2020, she was named the national president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP).

Anyiam-Osigwe initiated a 100-film project aimed at improving the quality of Nigerian productions.

As the president, she worked on building the capacity of producers in the country through seminars and training.

Osigwe received the award “Officer of the Order of the Niger” from President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government.

A tomboy raised as her family’s only female child


Anyiam-Osigwe hailed from the notable Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe family in Nkwerre, Imo. She was the only girl in a family of eight children. She had a degree in Law and Political Science from Oxford Brookes University in the UK.

In an archived interview, the deceased filmmaker had no trouble admitting to growing up as a tomboy.

“I have only brothers, and that makes me independent. I would not have wanted it any other way,” she said.

“When I turned eight, [my mother] decided it was time for me to go to boarding school. She sent me to an all-girls school in London so that I could learn to be a lady. I was a tomboy and still think I am.

“I have a father who made me believe there is no difference between a male and a female child. My dad built a house for me in the village and people queried that, if I got married, does it mean I will come back to the village.

“But he felt I should not look for where to sleep whenever I visit. He made me believe in myself and I think it is one of the best things I had growing up, not being told I couldn’t do something because I am a girl.”

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