The Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) for the Best International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Oscars has announced the decision of its Founder and Chairperson, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi, to pass the baton of leadership, as she moves on to other opportunities in life.
Her decision comes days after she secured the Oscars’ re-approval of the NOSC, just as Nigeria and the rest of the world prepare for the 96th edition of the Academy Awards held next year.
The new leadership of the NOSC, they said, will be announced in due course.
The NOSC in a statement on Tuesday said that under Mrs Anyaene-Abonyi’s two-term steadfast leadership, the committee has transformed into a beacon of hope and standard befitting of Nigerian filmmakers aspiring to compete in the IFF category of the Oscars.
The outgoing chairperson recalls the pivotal moment when, as a young filmmaker, she attempted to submit her film for Oscars’ 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 finance a committee for Nigerian films to compete at this prestigious level of international cinema.”
As Anyaene-Abonyi hands over to a new team, the NOSC considers the transition the end of an era characterised by an unwavering dedication to standards, professionalism and remarkable legacies.
“In recent years, NOSC’s mission evolved from merely submitting films to promoting and fostering the creation of high-quality Nigerian film entries. The focus shifted towards encouraging a collaborative effort within the industry, where personal interests were set aside for the greater good of the Nigerian Film Industry,” she stated.
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As she takes this bold exit step, the filmmaker-cum-entrepreneur expressed her confidence in the next team’s ability to carry on the legacy and ensure that the quality and excellence of Nigerian films are prioritised.
She said: “The Nigerian film industry possesses immense potential and talents, and I believe that with continued dedication and cooperation, it will undoubtedly reach new heights.”
Recall that in 2012, Anyaene-Abonyi constituted the NOSC and received approval from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as the organisation to collect, screen and vote entries that would represent Nigeria in the IFF category.
The committee for which she was Chairperson was re-approved in 2019. That year, the NOSC submitted Genevieve Nnaji’s “Lionheart”, which was eventually disqualified for not meeting the non-English dialogue criteria.
The Academy would later succumb to Anyaene-Abonyi’s persistent demand for recognising Pidgin as a local language. Hence, on 16, October 2020, it acknowledged Pidgin English as a non-English language fit for the IFF category.
In 2021, Desmond Ovbiagele’s “The Milkmaid” made history as the first Nigerian film to be approved by the Academy to compete in the IFF category of the 93rd Academy Awards but did not make the final shortlist.
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