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Dani Kouyaté. Foto: James Holm

While We Live wins African Movie Academy Award

Dani Kouyaté's While We Live, won best feature with Josette Bushell-Mingo and Adam Kanyama in leading roles, has received nominations in seven different categories at the 2017Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). The award ceremony will be held on 15 July in Lagos, Nigeria, with many members of the film team in attendance.

Since its Swedish premiere last autumn, While We Live has been praised by international festival audiences around the world, including in Montreal, New York and Los Angeles. In February the film won the critic's award at FESPACO, Africa's largest film festival held in Burkina Faso, director Dani Kouyaté's birthplace. A few weeks ago, the film went on to win Best Film at FESTICAB in Burundi.

– It has been interesting to travel the world with this film. Many people are surprised that a film based around this theme comes from Sweden. The search for identity, however, is a universal theme – an individual's intrinsic roots essentially have little to do with one's birthplace, and are rather much more connected to the community in which those roots are nourished, Dani Kouyaté explained.

– We are very pleased with and proud of all the nominations and praise this film have received. The fact that a Swedish film has made such a meaningful impact in Africa is absolutely fantastic. Dani set out to make a universal film, and based on the film's reception, he has accomplished his goal, noted producers Maria Larsson Guerpillon and Julien Siri.

While We Live had the following nominations at the 2017 Africa Movie Academy Awards:

Best Film by an African Living Abroad – Maria Larsson Guerpillon and Julien Siri, both from production company DFM, which has produced many festival award-winning films.

Best Actress in a Leading Role - Josette Bushell-Mingo, for her role as Kandia. The actress, director and artistic director, Josette Bushell-Mingo is recently known for her impersonation of Nina Simone in the highly acclaimed play Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone.

Best Young Promising Actor - Adam Kanyama, for his role as Ibbe. Adam is a successful Swedish hip-hop artist and this role was his acting debut.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Richard Sseruwagi, for his role as Sekou. Richard Sseruwagi recently featured in the Swedish TV series Spring Tide.

Achievement in Screenplay - Dani Kouyaté and Olivier Guerpillon. Other films by Dani Kouyaté include Keïta! Voice of the Griot (1995), Sia, The Dream of the Python (2001) and Ouaga Saga (2004). Olivier Guerpillon is a director, producer (Broken Hill Blues, Sound of Noise, etc) and scriptwriter.

Achievement in Soundtrack - Andreas Unge, who also composed the soundtrack for the Guldbagge Award-winning documentary Martha & Niki. The soundtrack to While We Live is available on various music services online.

Achievement in Editing - Philip Bergström, who also edited Broken Hill Blues, in addition to several award-winning short films.

While We Live is produced by Maria Larsson Guerpillon and Julien Siri of DFM. The film received funding from the Swedish Film Institute's former feature-film commissioner Baker Karim.

Quick facts:

• The Africa Movie Academy Awards was founded in 2005, and is the largest film awards ceremony in Africa.
• Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry headquartered in Lagos, is the world's second most productive film industry, after Indian Bollywood.
• Director Dani Kouyaté, who lives and works in Uppsala, Sweden, is the son of internationally acclaimed actor Sotigui Kouyaté, who featured in films including Dirty Pretty Things and London River.
While We Live is Dani Kouyaté's fifth feature film, and the first he has made in Sweden.
• Dani Kouyaté is currently working on both theatre and film productions in Sweden, including a new adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which will be filmed on the Swedish island of Fårö.
•  Following AMAA, While We Live will feature as the opening film at the Festival International du Film Amateur de Kélibia in Tunisia, held in August.

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