'Viva Riva!' Sweeps African Academy Awards

Viva Riva! Berlin Film Still 2011
Formosa Productions

Congolese crime film takes 6 awards, including best film, best director.

COLOGNE, Germany - Djo Tunda Wa Munga's Viva Riva!, a crime thriller set among Congolese gas gangsters, was the big winner at the 2011 African Movie Academy Awards, taking six trophies including best film.

The feature also scooped the best directing prize, took supporting actor and actress honors for Hoji Fortuna and Marlene Longage respectively, and won best cinematography and best production design.

Viva Riva! has been generating buzz -  and international sales - since it's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year. German sales outfit Beta Cinema has locked down multiple territories for the drama, including sales to Music Box Films in the U.S. and Metrodome Distribution in the U.K..

You can read our review of Viva Riva! here.

Director Djo Munga's next project is another crime thriller, this time set both in China and Congo and billed as the first-ever Sino-African co-production.

Another big winner at the "African Oscars" was Leila Djansi's domestic abuse drama Sinking Sands, which took three trophies, including best actress for star Amake Abebrese as well as best screenplay and make-up honors.

The best actor award went to Themba Ndaba for his role as the reformed alcoholic Amos in John Trengrove's  Hopeville. Newcomer Edward Kagutuzi took the best young actor award for his starring role in Obi Emelonye's Mirror Boy.

Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky) , a fictional look at South African street kids by veteran documentary film maker Madoda Ncayiyana, won the African Academy's trophy for best film in an African language.

The 2011 African Movie Academy Awards were held this week in Yenagoa, Nigeria.