FESPACO: Nigerian Actress Wins Best Young Actor from West Africa


Star of the award-winning Nigerian feature film EYIMOFE (This Is My Desire), Temi Ami-Williams has become the second Nigerian actor to win a prize at Africa’s biggest and most prestigious film festival, the Pan African Film and Television Festival in Ouagadougou.

Miss Ami-Williams won the FESPACO Prize for the Best Young Actor from West Africa.

Clarion Chukwurah was the first to win a FESPACO prize, winning the Best Actress prize back in 1985 for her role in Ola Balogun’s Owo L’agba (Money Power).

The award which is accompanied by a cash reward of CFA 1 million, recognises the work of young West African film actors, aged 30 or less, who has distinguished herself/himself by her/his acting in a fictional film in competition at FESPACO 2021.

Also known as Festival pan-Africain du Cinema et de la Television de Ouagadougou, or FESPACO for short, the biennial award was instituted in 1969 and is now in its 28th edition.

Nigeria’s Newton Aduaka won the grand prize – the Golden Stallion of Yennenga – for his 2007 film ‘Ezra,’ the drama, based on the decade long civil war in Sierra Leone, but it was registered as a European coproduction.

This year’s FESPACO grand prize went to ‘The Gravedigger’s Wife,’ a film by Finish-Somali director Khadar Ahmed.

FESPACO 2021 took place in the Burkinabe capital from October 16 to 23. It was initially set for February 27 to March 6 but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Miss Ami-Williams might not have had any experience with film acting prior to Eyimofe, despite being a graduate of theatre arts, but she found it easy to play the character of Rosa in the GDN Studios-produced film.

In Eyimofe, she played the role of Rosa, an everyday Nigerian trying to make ends meet through multiple sources of income. Rosa works as a hairstylist, a bartender, sells personal items to raise money, and even entertains the attention of an unwanted suitor for money.

In an earlier interview with The Guardian, Miss Ami-Williams, who has taught at a school for autistic children and was into costume designing before making her on-screen debut in Eyimofe, said she could easily connect and resonate with Rosa as she has “already lived through it.”

“Eyimofe is my first film, so I had to understand many new things.” She said at the time. “Being the person to carry the story of Eyimofe to people is something I am very proud of, so I had to do it right. I had to understand shots, how much and how little was expected of me during scenes. I am glad the directors and producers took all these into consideration and they even got Cynthia Egbijie and me a coach whom they flew in to take us through the story, how to bring it to life and the techniques needed.”





Guardian/Hauwa Abu

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