A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice

Message: Undefined offset: 1

Filename: models/SiteStats_Model.php

Line Number: 99

Backtrace:

File: /home/u964704866/domains/cinemaug.com/public_html/application/models/SiteStats_Model.php
Line: 99
Function: _error_handler

File: /home/u964704866/domains/cinemaug.com/public_html/application/models/SiteStats_Model.php
Line: 142
Function: getBrowsingData

File: /home/u964704866/domains/cinemaug.com/public_html/application/controllers/CinemaUg.php
Line: 290
Function: logVisitedPage

File: /home/u964704866/domains/cinemaug.com/public_html/index.php
Line: 315
Function: require_once

News - CinemaUg (Film and Beyond)
Bedroom Chains Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Featured
Bedroom Chains Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Bedroom Chains has debuted on Amazon Prime Video and is now available for streaming. This announcement came from the movie producers, Nisha Kalema and Hassan Mageye, through their social media platforms.The film tells the story of Natasha, an extroverted woman who faces discrimination from her father because of her gender. She is later sold to Indian traders but eventually returns to Uganda, where her presence ignites a movement for women's liberation. Her legacy and ambitions endure even after her passing.Set in mid-20th century Uganda, the movie tackles discrimination, justice, and liberation themes. The cast includes Idris Lubega, Joanah Jojo Nabakiibi, Nisha Kalema, and Jeff Walusimbi, among others. Directed by Hassan Mageye and co-produced by Nisha Kalema, the film has garnered tremendous acclaim since its premiere in 2022.The premiere took place in a vibrant event at Century Cinemax Acacia on June 1st, 2022, coinciding with the Ugandan Film Festival screenings. The film received over 11 nominations in the festival that year, including Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress in a Lead Role, and Best Costume Design nominations, winning two awards that night for Best Costume Design (Irene Sseremba) and Best Screenplay (Hassan Mageye). Nisha Kalema accepting the Award for Best Actress in Lead Role at the 2023 iKon Awards. Photo Credit: MBUSubsequently, Bedroom Chains has continued its success with additional awards, including two more at the iKon Awards 2023, where Nisha Kalema won Best Actress in a Lead Role, and Irene Sseremba secured another win for costume design.The film has also achieved success in distribution, being one of the few Ugandan films distributed by Qatar Airways in 2023. Now available on a widely accessible platform, viewers can find Bedroom Chains on Amazon Prime Video and experience its impactful storytelling.By Cinema Ug

Leonard Amanya becomes the first Ugandan to be elected a member of the Emmys.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences welcomed its first Ugandan member to its members' list. The organization, which is dedicated to recognizing excellence in television programming produced outside of the United States, elects its members once every year. It was founded in 1969 and is based in New York City. The Academy is responsible for organizing the International Emmy Awards, which honor outstanding television content from around the world.Members of The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences include television professionals, producers, directors, writers, and other industry experts who are involved in creating and promoting high-quality television programming globally. The Academy's mission is to celebrate and promote the diversity and creativity of television content across different cultures and countries.So, what does it mean to be elected a member? Being elected as a member of The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences means Amanya will have the opportunity to participate in the Academy's activities, including voting for Emmy winners, attending events, and networking with industry professionals globally.Amanya, who is the Officer for Film and Cinema at the Uganda Communications Commission, has had great success in the film industry with one film to his name and several other achievements. Leonard Amanya is a curator at the Uganda Film Festival, excelling in film curation, communication strategy, and festival execution. Internationally renowned, he serves as a juror at esteemed festivals like the Zambia International Film Festival, the Africa Magic Viewer's Choice Awards, the Durban International Film Festival and many more As an independent film producer and director, his work, including Crystal -Countless Misfortune, had great success across the globe with nominations and awards at more than 20 film festivals worldwide and Flight to Extinction, a documentary about the Crested Crane-Uganda’s famous bird. This selection is another achievement unlocked for him as an individual and for us as a country.

Read More
Unheard and Passenger Shine Bright at This Year’s iKon Awards

Ken Ssebagala and Polly Kamukama's film Unheard emerged as the standout victor at this year’s iKon Awards, held at Serena Hotel Kampala on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024. The gala was hosted by Anitah Fabiola and Ronnie MacVex, together with a lineup of presenters including Hellen Lukoma, Flavia Tumusiime, Malaika Nyanzi, Mariam Ndagire, Andrew Benon Kibuuka, Rhona Ninsima, Patriq Nkakalukanyi, Housen Mushema, and more. Unheard secured an impressive seven awards out of the eleven nominations it received.The accolades that went to Unheard included the Best Film Award, Best Director Award, and Best Sound Award, which movie sound recordist Kaz Kasozi claimed. Additionally, the movie's lead actress, Jackline Katusiime, received the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award, while the Best Makeup and Special Effects Award went to industry newcomer Rose Lily Kebirungi still from the same movie. Francis Byaruhanga's work in production design was also recognized with the Best Production Design Award. The film also won the best emerging film Award. Another notable success story of the evening was The Passenger by Meddie Sserwadda, Hadijah Nankanjako, and Usama Mukwaya, which received four awards, along with The Kitara Chronicles, which clinched two awards.In the television series, Damalie stood out by claiming two out of the three awards in this realm, winning the Best TV Series Award and Best Actress in a TV Series Award which went to Doreen Mirembe who also happens to be the series producer. The remaining Award went to Simon Base Kalema from Prestige. Nancy Isime at the iKon Awards 2024, Kampala Serena Hotel. Photo Credit. Julian/Cinema UgThe glamorous event attracted personalities from diverse entertainment sectors, particularly from the film industries of Uganda and Nigeria. Notable Nigerian attendees included legendary actor Osita Iheme, popularly known as Paw Paw, who was honored with the African iKon Award. Ramsey Nouah, a returning guest from the inaugural iKon Awards, and Nancy Isime, awarded the Best Emerging Actor in Africa, also graced the occasion alongside other esteemed Nigerian actors and producers.The event saw a diverse array of personalities, including musicians like Ykee Benda, fashion icons like Abraynz, and prominent radio and TV personalities like Keith Karuhura. Political representation was also evident, with the Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development in attendance, representing the government's support for the arts and creative industries.From Left: Mr. Joe Kigozi - Deputy CEO Next Media Group, Hon. Betty Amongi Akena - Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development at iKon Awards 2024 Serena Hotel Kampala. Photo Credit: Sauti PlusHighlights of the evening included the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Micheal Wawuyo Sr, a great moment shared with Mariam Ndagire, symbolizing their longstanding contributions to the film industry. The celebrations were further enriched by Micheal Wawuyo Jr joining his father on stage.This year's performances added a vibrant dimension to the event, featuring traditional renditions of nominated content such as the Kikiga Soundtrack from Unheard and the Guma soundtrack from the TV series Beloved, showcasing diverse rich cultural heritage through electrifying dance and music performances.Closing the night were nostalgic performances by seasoned artists like Queen Bella, Coco Finger, Young Mulo, Vampino, and Zigidi, along with dance acts from the Wembley Mo Foundation.Here is the complete list of winners from the iKon Awards: BEST FILMThe Kitara Chronicles - Yiga Sadat, Kizito Sudaisy SebbowaThe Passenger - Meddy Sserwada, Hadijah NakanjakoUnheard - Polly Kamukama, Joseph Ken Ssebaggala - WINNERAll for Love - Okurut Nego PaulBEST DIRECTORJoseph Ken Ssebaggala – Unheard - WINNERHadijah Nakanjako - The PassengerYiga Sadat - The Kitara ChroniclesPatrick Lorimo - Maid of HonorBEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLEFauziah Nakiboneka - Maid of HonorJackline Katusiime – Unheard - WINNERRehema Mutesi - GanyanaTania Shakirah Kankindi - All for LoveBEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLEKenneth Rukundo - All for LoveFernando Kamugisha - The Fallen AdvocateHenry Nathan Katongole - The Passenger - WINNERMasadde Isa Yusuf - The Kitara ChroniclesBEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLEJoseph Kahirimbanyi - UnheardMathew Kavuma - Maid of HonorBlair Koono – Enkuba - WINNERSulait Mulimira - GanyanaBEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLEEdith Baganda - Maid of HonorAllen Musumba - The Passenger - WINNERDiana Kahunde - All for LoveFlorence Naiga - GanyanaBEST DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHYThe Fallen Advocate - Benson Kamau MuigaiThe Passenger - Izaek Ekuka - WINNERUnheard - Kitsha Kyasi JosephThe Kitara Chronicles - Kizito Sudaisy SebbowaBEST SCREENPLAYThe Kitara Chronicles by Yiga Sadat, Masadde Isa YusufThe Passenger by Meddy SserwadaMaid of Honor by Patrick Lorimo - WINNERUnheard by Polly KamukamaBEST SOUNDElly Musinguzi - Nkwanzi's SlipSimon Agola, Michael Kavuma - Maid of HonorIsiko Abubaker - The PassengerKaz Kasozi – Unheard - WINNERBEST EDITOREmma Daka Waira - The Passenger - WINNERJoseph Ken Ssebaggala - UnheardDerrick Taremwa - EnkubaOkurut Nego Paul - All for LoveBEST COSTUME DESIGNNabanja Hikmah, Lukwago Paluku, Tumusiime Jackie - The Kitara Chronicles - WINNERKyosiima Ginny - UnheardMatilda Kavuma - Maid of HonorJulian Kirabo, Ali Musinguzi, Isaac Kyakoonye, Patricia Nabirye - The Tale of Our TimesBEST MAKEUP AND SPECIAL EFFECTSEsther Nakaziba - Maid of HonorRose Lily Kebirungi – Unheard - WINNERLisa Sonia, Shadia Nakaddu, Cathy Kyokunda, Joana Nabakiibi - The Tale of Our TimesHikmah Nabbanja, Patience Nakibuka Shadia - The Kitara ChroniclesBEST PRODUCTION DESIGNFrancis Byaruhanga – Unheard - WINNERRutaro Abel - The Tale of Our TimesYiga Sadat - The Kitara ChroniclesImran Musabeh - The PassengerBEST VISUAL EFFECTSCruz Abdullah, Faisal Mukalazi, Patrick Chris Black - The Tale of Our TimesTusingwire Alex - The Kitara Chronicles - WINNERWavamuno Caeser, Suuna Abubakar – EnkubaBEST SHORT FILMTaama - Arthur NsubugaZiwa - Samuel TebandekeBuilding 62 - Hakim Zziwa - WINNERThe Last Shoemaker - Ali MusokeBEST DOCUMENTARYThe Shadow Pandemic - Ssekandi Jimmy - WINNERThe Land of Peace - Ali Kibirige, Herbert Jjuuko, James TwinoDear Queen - Jamir Jamal MusenzeBEST ANIMATION FILMThe Guardian - Denis Junior DhikusookaHerderboy - Raymond Malinga - WINNERLost - Ashiraf MulimaBEST TV SERIESPrestige - Nathan MagoolaDamalie - Doreen Mirembe - WINNERBeloved - Nathan MagoolaBEST ACTOR IN A TV SERIESRaymond Rushabiro - PrestigeDennis Kinani – Damalie Symon Base Kalema – Prestige - WINNERBEST ACTRESS IN A TV SERIESDoreen Mirembe – Damalie - WINNERSally Elizabeth Bwamimpeke - PrestigeFaith Kirabo - BelovedBEST STUDENT FILMFind Me Online - Brian "Vons" MukisaI Sold Me Out - Lubeera SaphinaScold's Bridle - Ssemwogerere NurudeenSilent Scream - Otim Gerald - WINNERIKON RISING STARFaith KiraboJoseph KahirimbanyiKing Missy Ochola – WINNERIKON RISING STAR – AFRICA - Nancy IsimeLIFE ACHIEVEMENT - Michael Wawuyo Sr.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Tragic Death Occurs On Marvel Set

A tragic accident occurred at Radford Studios just outside Los Angeles on Tuesday, as confirmed by the Los Angeles Police Department. The victim, identified as 41-year-old Juan Carlos Osorio fell from a catwalk onto the stage."Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family and friends, and our support is behind the investigation into the circumstances of this accident," a spokesperson for Marvel expressed, confirming Osorio's death.Osorio, a rigger, was involved in setting up scaffolding to hold lights, cameras, and other equipment. As a result, filming and production was halted for the day.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in America has launched an investigation into the accident.Matthew D. Loeb, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, conveyed shock and sorrow, stating, "Safety on set is our highest priority, and we will assist the OSHA in their investigation in any way that we can."The incident casts a somber shadow over the entertainment industry, particularly as Radford Studios gears up for the filming of "Wonder Man," an upcoming Disney+ series starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Simon Williams, a stuntman turned superhero. Filming for these projects, previously delayed due to last year's strikes, was slated to commence in March.By Canaan Arinda

Read More
VALENTINES WEEK: A Week that could change the Ugandan film industry.

As the rest of the world celebrates love, for Ugandans who love Ugandan movies, it will be that one week that might change the Ugandan movie cinema-watching culture. The week of February 12th to 18th has a series of movie screenings at Ugandan cinemas in Kampala, and it’s what we'll talk about.My Love From Another LandOn Wednesday, February 14th, we have the premiere of a Ugandan movie, My Love from Another Land, produced by Pablo and Anu and directed by Kevin Johns Nabukenya. The rom-com tells the story of an American adopted in Nigeria who finds success in the Nigerian legal industry but decides to relocate to Uganda. While in Uganda, he falls in love with an Acholi woman and embarks on a journey through traditional cultural rituals and practices to marry her.The story is inspired by the real-life experiences of a Nigerian-American couple, Pablo and Anu, who left the United States of America to make Uganda their home. Now, they work as farmers in Uganda and share their experiences living in the country on their YouTube channel, Familia Pablanu. The premiere is happening at Century Cinemax Acacia, which will be busy with Ugandan films this week.A behind-the-scenes photo from the movie My Love From Another Land. Courtesy Photo.Sabotage.Another movie premiering this week in cinemas is Sabotage by Matthew Nabwiso, a production of Sauti Plus.The drama movie tells the story of a career-driven woman who finds love and is excited about her dream traditional wedding until she finds out she is carrying her father-in-law’s child. The film stars Stella Natumbwe as Vivian, Sharifa Ali as Lucia, Denid Kinan, Nampanga Pelly as Majorie, and others.A poster of the movie Sabotage. Courtesy Photo. UCC Movie Nights.But the most interesting thing about this week is the premiere of the Uganda Communications Commission-funded UCC Movie Nights, which will start on February 15th at Century Cinemax Acacia. The movies will be shown in different cinemas across the country, including Century Cinemax Cinemas in Kampala and Mbarara Country Cinema.The screenings will kick off with Nalwawo by Nana Kagga showing at Century Cinemax Acacia and "Unheard" showing at Country Cinema Mbarara on February 15th. Then, on February 16th, which is a Friday, The Kitara Chronicles will be shown at Century Cinemax Arena Mall. We close the week on Saturday with the UCC Commissioned Karamoja at Century Cinemax Metroplex. Essentially, the screenings will extend to even registered Bibanda in Uganda as an initiative to increase the Ugandan movie audience by the Ugandan Communications Commission. If it is successful, this week will be one of those weeks we’ll remember as an opener to the most significant initiative in the Uganda film industry.The schedule for the movies and where they will be showing. Courtesy Photo.So, if you’re planning an outing this week, consider one of the Ugandan movies showing in cinemas.By Martin Kabagambe 

Read More
About this year's iKon Awards Film and Television

The nominations for the second edition of iKon Awards Film and Television came out last week on Friday, 26th January. We look at those who took home the nominations, and maybe those categories to look out for. The most nominated film of the day was Ken Ssebagala's Unheard, which received over 11 nominations. The UGX 150 million budget Content Development Support Programme (CDSP) movie tells the story of a young mother played by Jackie Katusiime, who defies a deeply-rooted cultural tradition to become an unexpected hero within her community. Unheard is set in a small fishing village called Rubaya in rural South Western Uganda. This emotional drama feature was nominated for all technical award categories except for Visual Effects, showcasing the strength that went into its creation. Jackie Katusiime, the lead actress, won the nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Joseph Kahirimbanyi, another actor in the movie, also received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.Unheard Movie Poster. Courtesy Photo. Another movie that wasn't surprising but received over nine nominations is The Kitara Chronicles. Set in ancient times, the movie tells the story of Buule, a young boy attempting to rescue Nangonzi, the love of his life, who has been captured by King Bukuku. Buule seeks the help of Ndahura, the last descendant of Isaza and grandson of Ruhanga, to regain his rightful throne.The movie is competing for Best Film of the Year, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Costume, Best Makeup and Special Effects, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, and more awards.The Kitara Chronicles Movie Poster. Courtesy Photo. Passenger by Hajjat Hadijjah Nankanjako also performed well at this year’s iKon Awards Film and Television. The movie tells the story of a young man who attempts to deliver a mysterious package to the city on a bus, but another passenger suspects him of being a killer carrying a mutilated body or bomb and is determined to stop him. Passenger received nine nominations, including the iKon Award for Best Film of the Year, where it competes with Unheard, The Kitara Chronicles, and All for Love. Surprisingly, Maid of Honor, which received over eight nominations, wasn’t nominated in this category.Other categories in which Passenger is featured include Best Director, where Hadijjah Nankanjako competes with Ken Ssebagala of Unheard, Yiga Sadat, the director of The Kitara Chronicles, and Maid of Honor’s Patrick Lorimo. Henry Katongole Nathan was nominated for the Best Lead Actor for the same movie, with Allen Musumba scooping a Best Supporting Actress nomination, as well as several technical nominations like the Director of Photography Award, Best Screenplay Award, Best Editor Award, Best Sound, and Best Production Design.The Passenger Movie Poster. Courtesy Photo. Other movies that received numerous nominations include Patrick Lorimo’s Maid of Honor, which garnered eight nominations, Okurut Nego Paul’s All For Love, which scooped five nominations, and Charles Luzinda’s Ganyana, which went home with three nominations.Who performed well in Television Categories? There are only three categories in the nominations for Television, and each category features three movies: Nathan Magoola’s Prestige and Beloved, and Doreen Mirembe’s Damalie.Doreen Mirembe, who was the biggest winner in last year’s edition of the iKon Awards, dominates in this year’s TV categories, now being nominated as a producer of Damalie and for Best Lead Actress on Television.Another notable dominant figure in the Television category is Nathan Magoola, who has two television shows featured in all nomination categories: Beloved and Prestige. Prestige remains part of this lineup despite not currently airing on its original channel, as it was still being broadcast for more than half of 2023, until around July. The submission requirements called for movies and shows released in late 2022 and 2023, so Prestige more than qualifies. We might witness its proper send-off (which we thought we had gotten last year).Categories worth keeping an eye on.There weren't many good movies made last year, so only the very best made it into the Awards and dominated. However, there's one category that stood out for having great films: the short film category. Among them is Ali Musoke’s The Last Shoemaker, a well-crafted satirical drama that premiered during the Matatu Film Stage, alongside other amazing shorts that I expected to see in this category. The absence of those films suggests there were equally great shorts to consider. This leads me to other contenders in the category: Arthur Nsubuga’s Taama, a Swangz Avenue production, Ziwa by Samuel Tebandeke, and Hakim Zziwa’s action short film, Building 62. This will likely be the tightest category, and it's unclear who will come out on top.The Last Shoemaker Movie Poster. Courtesy Photo. Another category that I believe is tight is the iKon Rising Star Award, featuring Faith Kirabo from Beloved, who made her acting debut in the series, Joseph Kahirimbanyi from Unheard, who received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor on his debut, and most notable one, the 1st runner-up of the Women In Film Monologue Challenge 2023, King Missy Ochola, who was the lead actress in The Last Shoemaker. While she has appeared in other movies, The Last Shoemaker was her breakthrough. This category is competitive because I believe all three have delivered extraordinary performances despite being new to the industry. Other factors will need to be considered to determine who takes home the "new kid on the block" award.The rest of the categories have their favorites and underdogs, but as we've always witnessed in awards ceremonies, there are often surprises. So, we'll just have to wait and see how it all unfolds in March at the Serena Hotel.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
It was glamour and glitters at the Premiere of 'Borders': A TV Show Produced by Daphne Ampaire Karema

A vibrant atmosphere filled the grounds at Motiv on Saturday, January 27th, as we finally welcomed the highly anticipated premiere of the "Borders" TV series, the latest project by acclaimed filmmaker Daphne Ampire Karema. This 15-episode mini-series, commissioned by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Content Fund, promises a captivating journey of love, ambition, and culture.Daphne Ampaire Karema, a graduate of the Maisha Film School famously known for her role in the popular Ugandan series "The Hostel," has undoubtedly worn many hats throughout her film career as a writer, director, and actor. But her production company, Floating Duck Productions, allowed her to take flight with "Borders fully." This opportunity arose thanks to the UCC's call for original work which Karema seized with full determination.Ampaire Daphne Karema the producer and writer of Borders"Borders" transcends the boundaries of a typical TV series. It delves into the lives of the members of the African Jewel dance troop, showcasing their struggles and triumphs as artists and individuals. At its heart lies the immersive love story between Pearl and David, played by Ugandan stars Tania Kankindi and Quincy Ando, who chase their dreams amidst numerous challenges.The series is rich in a variety of languages such as English, Luganda, and Swahili. This linguistic telling of the story offers viewers an authentic glimpse into the diverse cultural landscape of Uganda and beyond. The sold-out premiere event buzzed with energy both online and physically as guests, including media personalities, comedians, Film industry players, and even the Honorable Harriet Ntabazi, State Minister for Trade, gathered to witness this cinematic masterpiece. Some of the guests enjoying the evening.With over 120 guests attending the prestigious event, glamor, glee, and class were a force to reckon with that evening. The cameras were kept busy as the guests spared no chance to show off their free-spirited enjoyment of the evening. The atmosphere was filled with anticipation and excitement, as Karema expressed her gratitude to the dedicated cast, crew, and collaborators of the project who brought her vision to life.The day after the premier, Daphne took to her socials to share a few words of gratitude saying “I want to express my gratitude to the incredible cast and crew, our marketing team, Gigi, cinema UG, and the media houses that collaborated with us. Your efforts have played a crucial role in bringing Borders to this point."With the premiere a resounding success, "Borders" now seeks its permanent home. Karema emphasized her desire for a platform that recognizes the series' uniqueness and the dedication poured into every frame. The search for the perfect home promises to be another exciting chapter in the journey of "Borders."

Read More
Ryan Gosling Expresses Disappointment Over Oscar Co-Star and Director missing out on Nominations for 'Barbie' Film.

In a statement shared with US media, actor Ryan Gosling expressed his gratitude for being nominated but highlighted his disappointment regarding the Oscar nominations not considering his film Co-Star Margot Robbie and movie director Greta Gerwig in the groundbreaking film 'Barbie.' Gosling, who portrayed the character of Ken in the film said, "I am extremely honored to be nominated by my colleagues alongside such remarkable artists in a year of so many great films." He emphasized the importance of key contributors, stating, "But there is no Ken without Barbie, and there is no Barbie movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, the two people most responsible for this history-making, globally celebrated film." Gosling expressed his disappointment that Gerwig and Robbie were not nominated in their respective categories, stating, "To say that I'm disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement."Actress America Ferrera also shared her disappointment, particularly for Greta Gerwig. She told Variety, "Greta has done just about everything that a director could do to deserve it, creating this world and making it a global phenomenon." Margot Robbie, who played Barbie, was praised by Ferrera as a "magician as an actress," adding, "She brings so much heart and humor and depth and joy and fun to the character. In my book, she's a master."British record producer Mark Ronson joined in championing Gerwig and Robbie, stating, "AND Margot Robbie because there is no 'just Ken, it's Barbie AND Ken, she put this whole damn thing together and then gave a tour de force ‘make you laugh one second and cry the next' performance that will go in the books."The disappointment extended to the former US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, who took to social media to express her support by saying "While it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you. You're both so much more than ​​​​​​​Kenough."The Oscars which will be hosted in March will have a lot of mixed feelings and controversy accompanying the glam and prestige.By Canaan Arinda

Read More
Unheard, Maid of Honor and The passenger dominate the IKon Awards Nomination list 2024

The 2nd iKon Awards for Film and Television nominations were unveiled yesterday January 26th, 2024, in an announcement ceremony hosted by Sanyu actress Racheal Nduhukire and multifaceted talent legend John Ssegawa. The event, broadcasted on NBS Television, set the stage for a celebration of exceptional creativity and talent in the industry.In the realm of Film, standout works dominated the nominations. Noteworthy contenders include Joseph Ken Ssebagala's Unheard, Patrick Lorimo's Maid of Honor, the dynamic collaboration of Yiga Sadat and Kizito Sudaisy Sebbowa in The Kitara Chronicles, alongside entries like All For Love, The Passenger, and Ganyana.Television categories were as usual dominated by Pearl Magic Prime productions and also some common names in there. Nathan Magoola's Prestige and Beloved, alongside Doreen Mirembe's Damalie, emerged as frontrunners in most Television categories.Anticipation is high for the upcoming Award ceremony, slated for March at Serena Hotel Kampala. The organizing team pledges an evening of unparalleled glamour, promising to honor and elevate the remarkable achievements of the industry's finest.Here's the list of nominees: BEST FILMThe Kitara Chronicles - Yiga Sadat, Kizito Sudaisy SebbowaThe Passenger - Meddy Sserwada, Hadijah NakanjakoUnheard - Polly Kamukama, Joseph Ken SsebaggalaAll for Love - Okurut Nego PaulBEST DIRECTORJoseph Ken Ssebaggala - UnheardHadijah Nakanjako - The Passenger Yiga Sadat - The Kitara ChroniclesPatrick Lorimo - Maid of Honor BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLEFauziah Nakiboneka - Maid of HonorJackline Katusiime - UnheardRehema Mutesi - GanyanaTania Shakirah Kankindi - All for LoveBEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLEKenneth Rukundo - All for LoveFenando Kamugisha - The Fallen Advocate Henry Nathan Katongole - The PassengerMasadde Isa Yusuf - The Kitara ChroniclesBEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLEJoseph Kahirimbanyi - UnheardMathew Kavuma - Maid of HonorBlair Koono - EnkubaSulait Mulimira - GanyanaBEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLEEdith Baganda - Maid of HonorAllen Musumba - The Passenger Diana Kahunde - All for LoveFlorence Naiga - GanyanaBEST DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHYThe Fallen Advocate - Benson Kamau MuigaiThe Passenger - Izaek EkukaUnheard - Kitsha Kyasi JosephThe Kitara Chronicles - Kizito Sudaisy SebbowaBEST SCREENPLAYThe Kitara Chronicles by Yiga Sadat, Masadde Isa YusufThe Passenger by Meddy SserwadaMaid of Honor by Patrick Lorimo Unheard by Polly KamukamaBEST SOUNDElly Musinguzi - Nkwanzi's SlipSimon Agola, Michael Kavuma - Maid of HonorIsiko Abubaker - The PassengerKaz Kasozi - UnheardBEST EDITOREmma Daka Waira - The PassengerJoseph Ken Ssebaggala - UnheardDerrick Taremwa - EnkubaOkurut Nego Paul - All for LoveBEST COSTUME DESIGNNabanja Hikmah, Lukwago Paluku, Tumusiime Jackie - The Kitara ChroniclesKyosiima Ginny - UnheardMatilda Kavuma - Maid of HonorJulian Kirabo, Ali Musinguzi, Isaac Kyakoonye, Patricia Nabirye - The Tale of Our TimesBEST MAKEUP AND SPECIAL EFFECTSEsther Nakaziba - Maid of HonorRose Lily Kebirungi - UnheardLisa Sonia, Shadia Nakaddu, Cathy Kyokunda, Joana Nabakiibi - The Tale of Our TimesHikmah Nabbanja, Patience Nakibuka Shadia - The Kitara ChroniclesBEST PRODUCTION DESIGNFrancis Byaruhanga - UnheardRutaro Abel - The Tale of Our TimesYiga Sadat - The Kitara ChroniclesImran Musabeh - The PassengerBEST VISUAL EFFECTSCruz Abdullah, Faisal Mukalazi, Patrick Chris Black - The Tale of Our TimesTusingwire Alex - The Kitara ChroniclesWavamuno Caeser, Suuna Abubakar – EnkubaBEST SHORT FILMTaama - Arthur NsubugaZiwa - Samuel TebandekeBuilding 62 - Hakim ZziwaThe Last Shoemaker - Ali MusokeBEST DOCUMENTARYThe Shadow Pandemic - Ssekandi JimmyThe Land of Peace - Ali Kibirige, Herbert Jjuuko, James TwinoDear Queen - Jamir Jamal MusenzeBEST ANIMATION FILMThe Guardian - Denis Junior DhikusookaHerderboy - Raymond MalingaLost - Ashiraf MulimaBEST TV SERIESPrestige - Nathan MagoolaDamalie - Doreen MirembeBeloved - Nathan MagoolaBEST ACTOR IN A TV SERIESRaymond Rushabiro - PrestigeDennis Kinani - DamalieSymon Base Kalema - PrestigeBEST ACTRESS IN A TV SERIESDoreen Mirembe - DamalieSally Elizabeth Bwamimpeke - PrestigeFaith Kirabo - BelovedBEST STUDENT FILMFind Me Online - Brian "Vons" Mukisa I Sold Me Out - Lubeera Saphina Scold's Bridle - Ssemwogerere Nurudeen Silent Scream - Otim GeraldIKON RISING STARFaith KiraboJoseph KahirimbanyiKing Missy Ochola.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Alec Baldwin Requests Swift Trial After New Manslaughter Charge

In a surprising turn of events, movie actor Alec Baldwin is pushing for a speedy trial following the recent “involuntary manslaughter charge” resulting from the tragic “Rust” shooting incident. By ensuring a faster verdict process, Baldwin aims to minimize potential public bias and challenges in proving his innocence that may arise after prolonged legal proceedings.Baldwin’s legal team, led by Brian Scheck and Luke Nikas, emphasizes the urgency, asserting that a prompt trial “will serve the interests of justice and Mr. Baldwin.” They remain steadfast in their belief in Baldwin’s innocence and argue that a timely trial will enable them to present a robust defense while memories are still fresh and evidence untainted."Mr Baldwin is entitled to a fair and speedy disposition of the charges to minimize public vilification and suspicion and to avoid the hazards of proving his innocence that often arise after lengthy delays in prosecution," the official court records state.Meanwhile, the late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ family, represented by widower Matthew Hutchins, expresses the ongoing emotional toll of the legal battle. Hutchins hopes for a fair and just resolution, stating, “Halyna’s death is a tragedy that affects us every day, and we hope the outcome will bring some measure of peace and accountability.”The renewed focus on the case has intensified public scrutiny, sparking discussions on film set safety protocols and the potential need for industry-wide changes to prevent similar tragedies. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, during its ongoing investigation, is exploring the possibility of wider culpability, with a focus on potential additional charges against other crew members involved in handling the prop gun.By Canaan Arinda

Read More
Iwaju Premieres on 28th February on Disney Plus.

The long-awaited animated series, Iwaju, produced by the British animation company Kugali and Disney Animation Studios, has finally received a release date. The six-part animation series, set in Lagos, was initially announced in 2021, with a projected release date around 2022. However, it was later postponed to an unknown time in 2023. Yesterday, Disney announced that the animated series would premiere on Disney Plus on February 28, 2024. The story of Iwaju follows Tola, a young girl from a wealthy island, and her best friend, Kole, a self-taught tech expert, as they discover the secrets and dangers hidden in their respective worlds.Courtesy Photo. Disney AnimationsThe series is directed by Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, also known as Ziki Nelson, with Hamid Ibrahim serving as the production designer and Toluwalakin Olowofoyeku as the cultural consultant, ensuring the story and the series adhere to the authentic life of Lagos. The series is produced by Disney Animation’s Christina Chen, and the screenplay is crafted by Adeola and Halima Hudson.Notable cast members include Nigerian-American actor Dayo Okeniyi, renowned for his roles in The Hunger Games, Hypnotic, Terminator, and more. Joining him are Nigerian veteran actor, director, and producer Femi Branch, as well as British-Nigerian actress Weruche Opia, best known for her role in I May Destroy You, for which she received a nomination for a British Academy Television Award. Other cast members include Siji Soetan and Simisola Gbadamosi.The series will premiere concurrently with a documentary on the making of the series, shot on three different continents by ABC News Studios and supported by Walt Disney Studios. Titled "Iwájú: A Day Ahead," the documentary delves into the intricacies of the production of Iwaju and provides profound insights into the lives of the founders of Kugali Media as they navigate the challenges of creating significant animation series as new entrants in the industry. The Documentary is directed by Megan Harding and executive produced by Amy Astley and Beth Hoppe.Courtesy Photo: Disney AnimationThe Background.The series would not have happened if it weren't for the three founders of Kugali Media, who initially established it as a media company with a podcast. In these podcasts, they occasionally discussed the need for an African approach to storytelling, focusing extensively on the animation and comics landscape in Africa and its apparent void. Eventually, they made the pivotal decision to assemble a team to create animations tailored for an African audience, giving birth to Iwaju. Originally conceived as a series of shorts, it later transformed into a long-form content series when Disney entered the scene.Disney discovered Iwaju when the CEO of Disney Animation Studios, Jennifer Lee, came across a BBC story that reported Kugali's intention to challenge Disney. Intrigued, she reached out to Kugali and was impressed by the Iwaju story.About Kugali.Kugali is an African-owned and operated storytelling company based in the UK, founded in 2017 by two Nigerians, Tolu Olowofoyeku and Olufikayo Adeola, along with a Ugandan, Hamid Ibrahim. The company was established with the mission of bringing African stories to a global audience. Among their most notable achievements are record-breaking crowdfunding campaigns, multiple award-winning graphic novels, and their upcoming Disney+ series, "Iwájú," created in collaboration with Disney Animation.For the lovers of animation, this is something to look forward to. By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
In a Shocking U-Turn, Amazon Halts Original Content Production in Africa.

This Thursday, January 18th, Deadline reported that Amazon would cease content production in Africa. The Middle East & North African (MENA) market was also affected by this restructuring from Amazon, which included the doubling of the European market, now split into two (The Established and Emerging European Markets). This decision followed a company-wide "rebalancing" of resources that resulted in layoffs at Amazon subsidiaries such as Twitch, and the consolidation of MGM+, MGM Scripted, and Unscripted Television. Southeast Asia was similarly affected, with the team there downsized to just 25 staff members.The most significant impact was felt in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. In these markets, we will no longer see new original content produced by Amazon, as it no longer aligns with the company's business strategy.Amazon Prime was launched in Africa in 2016, and since then, it has licensed over 145 movies from the continent. It premiered its first original, Gangs of Lagos by Jade Osiberu, in Nigeria last year in 2023. Before this week's announcement, Amazon seemed to have future content plans in Africa, having announced movie and comedy show deals with Nigerian and South African producers. With a growing subscriber base of over 600,000 subscribers, this decision feels like a setback, as Africans will have to settle for the already contracted originals, with no new original content expected from Africa by Amazon.The reason for this decision could extend beyond Africa and reflect a broader corporate tone shift in US tech companies, which was initiated by the Twitter layoffs in October 2022. Companies are currently undergoing restructuring processes to allocate resources more effectively. The restructuring or “rebalancing” of resources as Amazon VP & General Manager, Prime Video EMEA, Barry Furlong called it means that costs that have a negative ROI will either be removed or put to other uses.Even though movies will continue to be licensed in Africa, it’s not a good sign when new film investors leave the market. It shows bad signs of a struggling market and could affect other investments from different investors. Hopefully, this doesn’t start a domino effect for other streaming giants to reduce or remove their production investments in Africa. Amazon was a great competitor with other streaming services, and its entry into the African market meant that producers would get fair deals. Disney+ released its first original series in Africa in 2023, an animated series made in South Africa titled Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, and has another animation series, Iwaju, lined up for release in 2024. With Amazon in the picture, the competition would have meant that more originals could have come from Africa for Disney+ as it tries to fight for the market. This also comes at a time when the second-biggest streaming platform in Africa, after Netflix, Showmax, is relaunching on the continent. It aims to rebrand itself into a more affordable, easily accessible alternative to the streaming giants that have been posing a threat to its success. The platform has introduced an application option that consumes less data, included football content in the app, and has restructured to reduce subscription fees for the newly rebranded application.Netflix on the other hand seems to be increasing its investment in Africa. With over 1.6 million subscribers in Africa, Netflix is the largest streaming platform on the continent and has already invested over 175 million USD as of 2022, with plans to significantly increase this investment in the coming years. So, Amazon’s departure leaves the battle for the original content market mostly between Netflix and Showmax. What Does It Mean for Uganda?In the grand scheme of things, it might not have a significant impact, but as the African film market suffers, the Ugandan film industry is also affected. There was only one Ugandan-made movie on Amazon Prime, The Imperial Blue, featuring Esteri Tebandeke, and one movie made by a Ugandan, Brotherhood by Loukman Ali, along with a few movies and documentaries about Uganda. Uganda has not benefited much from the entry of streaming giants into the African market, except for Showmax. Now, there is a need to compete with some of the most established markets in Africa, such as South Africa and Nigeria, for licensing deals from Amazon as the available opportunities reduce.What can be done by African creators and stakeholders to minimize future de-investments?To mitigate the potential domino effect resulting from such de-investments, African creators and stakeholders can focus on growing the local market of movie consumers. For instance, Nigeria has only over 200 cinema halls with a population of over 213 million, and 23% of those in the middle class. Uganda has only around five cinema halls across the country. A thin local market for films makes it challenging for foreign investment to show interest, and this could be a contributing factor to Amazon's reduction in spending on Africa.By expanding and strengthening the local audience for African films, creators and stakeholders can make the industry more appealing to investors. This can be achieved through initiatives such as promoting local cinemas and creating platforms that showcase and celebrate African content. Building a robust and thriving local market not only enhances the industry's sustainability but also makes it more attractive for both local and international investment.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
VOLUME: Tania Shakirah Kankindi shines in the currently streaming Kenyan Netflix Musical Series.

The Kenyan Netflix musical drama series, Volume, by Josh Gitonga, started streaming on the platform on 20th December. The series follows the story of Benja, a talented young man from humble origins who, while chasing his dream of making a living through music, gets entangled in dubious dealings.The musical series of six episodes cost over 17 million Kenyan Shillings to develop, which is approximately up to 413,000,000 Ugandan Shillings.The series happens to have two Ugandan actresses in the cast: Tania Shakirah Kankindi and Natasha Sinayobye. Natasha plays Andrea, a talent manager who played a critical role in helping Benja reach musical heights through Ivy.Tania plays Tanya (close to her name, huh!), a lady who comes into the life of Benja after his stardom breakthrough, making him forego his long-term girlfriend, Lucy. Tanya later dies of a drug overdose at Benja's concert.Despite her fate in the series, Tanya is a boss in her own right. She's an enterprising student, runs her music shows around campus, is a go-getter, and goes after what she wants no matter what. She is also a free spirit who loves a good time and everything that comes with it is stylish and loves music.Tania told Azadi Ash in an MBU interview about how it was to work on the project in Kenya. “It was like a breath of fresh air to work with Primary Pictures. Tosh didn’t really direct the episodes I’m in; Abu Melita did!”“But the whole team was just so wonderful. They seemed to have put in a lot of work in pre-production so everything moved so seamlessly. There was a person for everything. The actors were treated with care and respect. I absolutely loved working with each and every person on that team. Kudos to Tosh Gitonga; he chose well.”According to the reviews online, the Ugandan actresses in the series did great in their roles. This is highly likely to increase the employability of Ugandan actors across the continent and the world if Volume is successful enough on Netflix.Tania has already had a great year in 2023, being nominated for the Best Actress category at this year’s Ugandan Film Festival, an award that went to Tracy Kababiito. She was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actress award at this year's first edition of the iKon Awards, an award that went to Rehema Nanfuka but won the Best Actress Award category at the Pearl International Film Festival. This is in addition to TV series appearances like the Kojja series on Pearl Magic Prime and multiple feature film appearances, including All for Love, My Sister's Keeper, and more.Tania will also be appearing in the TV musical series titled Borders, which will premiere on January 27th at Motiv, Industrial Area, courtesy of the Uganda Communication Commission. The series tackles cultural music in Uganda.So, after having a successful year in 2023, she is starting the new year on a high note, and hopefully, we can expect even more projects from her soon.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
THEATRE: The Golden Calabash …

I attended The Golden Calabash play at the National Theatre on December 23rd. It continued to run for three more days until the 26th. This play, written and directed by John Ssegawa, is a political satire presented in a funny and thought-provoking manner, portraying the absurdities that occur in politics, set in a place called Obuhehe.The play commenced with a portrayal of a significant event - welcoming a new bride for Chief Mukwawa. However, things became chaotic when the old bride refused to leave the house, contrary to the tradition that occurred every five years. At some point, the chief attempted to change the rules, norms, and traditions of Obuhehe to prolong his rule despite his weakened and aged state, ultimately leading to his demise. This triggered chaos, betrayals, and even deaths. The story delved into themes such as power struggles, morality, and the repercussions of deviating from traditions.The actors delivered an outstanding performance, particularly Henry Mayanja as Chief Mulambasi (who was the second in command chief of Obuhehe), and John Ssegawa who acted as Ssasi Ya Ukhali (the chief security officer). They brought their characters to life, showcasing the absurdity of the political world humorously. The entire cast, including Arinaitwe Ramathan as Gamoto, Barabra Kasamba as Lindiwe, Obed Lubega Kikongoma, Bruno Sserunkuma as Malibongwe, Shamim Mayanja as Mangalira, Ivan Ssenjovu as Mbweno, Matovu Ntanda as Zindaba, Robert Kasule as Mutwa, Nodryn Evanci and others, contributed to the success of the play.The Golden Calabash employed humor to address serious societal issues, evoking laughter while prompting contemplation about political problems. The play highlighted the importance of adhering to traditions and depicted the consequences when those in power deviate from what is right.Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine at the stage of National Theatre giving speech. Photo Credit: Heavenz PhotographThe play was graced by Opposition leader Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, who also delivered a speech. He praised the play for entertainingly addressing important issues. Bobi Wine also shared a humorous anecdote about sharing his first kiss with his wife, Barbra Kyagulanyi, on the same stage at the National Theatre during their university years.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Exploring the Vibrant January 2024 in the Ugandan Film Industry: A Promising Start to the Year.

The year 2023 was a great one for the #Ugandan film industry, continuing the success of 2022. 2024 looks promising with various projects in the pipeline from different producers. But before delving into the full details of 2024, let’s explore the major film events slated for the first month of the year.Junior’s Drama Club (JDC) Season 2 Premiere: Kicking off the year is the premiere of Junior’s Drama Club (JDC) Season 2, set to air on January 4th on Pearl Magic Prime.  The previous season concluded with the sibling rivalry between Skylar and Queen escalating, as Queen orchestrated a fight and framed Skylar, resulting in her losing her position as head prefect. How will this unfold in the new season? We can only wait and find out.Principal Gabriella is also facing legal trouble for a financial mishap, Judge Jemba is dealing with a marital meltdown as his wife faces drug-related charges, Gerald's love life is disrupted by the return of his first wife, and the visit of his mother, who seems to be here to stay, among many other dramatic twists. The new season promises to take the drama to new heights with love triangles, unexpected guests, talent, and teenage turmoil. Catch it exclusively on Pearl Magic Prime DStv Ch.148 and GOtv Ch.303.One Night Stand (2023) Premiere. Uganda Cinema Night continues with its Wednesday film screenings, commencing with One Night Stand Movie on January 10th at Uganda National Theatre. One Night Stand tells the story of Liz who is sexually harassed by her boss, chased from the house by the boss’s wife, and later ends up in sex work. Written by Kevin Cameroun Features Nantege Shana Nancy, Doreen Rwatooro, Watongola Nathaniel, Nankya Whitney, Nakatya Daisy, and Luswata Albert. Nsibambi TV Show (2023) Premiere. The Nsibambi Show by Rhonnie Nkalubo Abraham will premiere on Pearl Magic TV on January 13th. This Luganda family drama explores the chaos within a family, the journey of love, inheritance, and business, as the family becomes entangled in a fight for life, money, and legacy. The show features Eron Ntuulo, Mayanja Peter, Mbabazi Patricia, Ali Mutaka, John Mary Ssekimbi, and more.IKon Awards 2024 Nominations Announcement. On January 26th, we’ll get to the actors and filmmakers nominated in the second edition of the iKon Awards. Last year’s announcement was hosted by actor Mr. Sam Bagenda (Dr. Bossa) and actress Laura Kahunde live on NBS Television. This year's event is expected to be even more magical, but the hosts of the announcement have not been revealed. The final Award show will take place on March 23rd, 2023, at Serena Hotel Kampala.Friday Night Lights First edition. On the same January 26th, there will also be a theater play by Faridah Nabagereka at Bat Valley Theatre, courtesy of Friday Night Lights of Mariam Ndagire’s Theatre and Performing Arts. The Tickets will go for 20K UGX Ordinary, 50K UGX VIP, and 500K UGX for a Table.Borders TV series Premiere. The premiere of the Musical Series Borders is set for January 27th at Motiv, Industrial Area, courtesy of the Uganda Communication Commission. The drama series, written and directed by Ampire Daphine Karema and Daglous Karema, explores cultural music in Uganda. Borders follows a young, carefree, and aggressive dancer named Pearl and her troupe, the African Jewel. They get a chance to compete in a dance competition in Nairobi, but everything goes wrong when Pearl realizes that without her passport or national ID, she cannot cross the border. She ends up in the hands of David, who promises to help her and her troupe. Is he worth the trust?I Apologize Premiere. Closing the month on January 31st at Uganda National Theatre is I Apologize by Mulima Ashiraf.  The film tells the story of Regina, who finds herself entangled in hardships due to her decision-making and enters into an early-age relationship that later messes up her entire life. The feature film stars Shantel Immaculate, Isaac Mendez Kintu, Namatovu Margaret, and John Mary Ssekimpi. Tickets are priced at 20k UGX for ordinary and 50k UGX for VIP.All the events that are open to the public have their ticket sales listed on our site www.cinemaug.com and you can book those tickets in the Events (https://cinemaug.com/events) section.What are you most excited about?

Read More
African Video On Demand Platforms for Film.

On July 31, 2020, Cinema Ug hosted Agnes Aistleitner on their Facebook Live for their online discussion series, where they discussed the video-on-demand platform Eebo World in Uganda. Agnes Aistleitner, the CEO of this streaming platform, had pledged to revolutionize the streaming of movies and other video content in Uganda and eventually across Africa.As of November 20, 2023, Eebo World's social media platforms last posted on July 9, 2021. The website they used, www.eeboworld.com, is no longer active. However, www.eebomedia.com is operational and prompts users to enter their email to be on the mailing list for an upcoming release, indicating that they are likely developing something new to be shared soon.Eebo is among the many African startups in the video streaming sector struggling to gain traction with the African audience.Why are start-ups failing? One of the most significant reasons is the low internet penetration in Africa. According to Statistica, only 39% of Africans in Sub-Saharan countries had access to the Internet by 2022. This is compounded by high poverty rates in contrast to the higher prices of data. For instance, on average, one gigabyte of mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa amounted to 4.47 U.S. dollars in 2022, ranking among the highest globally, according to the source. In Uganda, as of November 20, 2023, it's around 0.8 USD, which is still a considerable amount compared to the poverty rate of Ugandans, with close to 30% still living below the poverty line.In Northern Africa, the price for mobile data was significantly lower, averaging 1.05 U.S. dollars. Several factors contribute to the elevated prices of mobile data in Africa, such as high taxation by African governments and a lack of infrastructure. In June 2021, approximately 57% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa lived within a range of 25 kilometers from fiber networks, leaving the other 43% unable to access the internet or requiring relocation to access it.Eebo World aimed to address this problem by introducing Wi-Fi hotspots that people could use to download movies within the app at a set price (2000 Uganda shillings at the time). We can only hope that this proves to be a viable business model for survival.State of Africa’s Video on Demand Sector.As of June 2023, Netflix leads the African streaming service providers with over 2.6 million subscribers, who are mostly in South Africa. Showmax, owned by Multichoice, follows with about 900,000 subscribers, trailed by Amazon Prime and Apple Plus TV. However, these numbers are still modest compared to Africa's 600 million-plus internet users.Netflix, like many international streaming giants, has more advantages over African streaming platforms. One of these advantages is the international market. With over 247 million worldwide subscribers, Africa contributes only 2.7 million, which is just about 1% of their total subscribers. This allows Netflix to balance losses in Africa with profits in other parts of the world. Additionally, it can distribute content from Africa across the globe, creating a bigger market for its African content. This is evident in its recently released viewership report where all the top ten most viewed African content was available globally.  According to another Netflix report released this year, the streaming giant has invested over USD 175 million in Africa for content acquisitions (licensing) and commissioning between 2016 and 2022.This is a significant amount but still lower than what Showmax has invested, which is over USD 330 million. This includes the production of African originals like Shaka Ilembe, which itself cost over USD 65 million to make and market. Despite high investment, 12% year-on-year subscriber growth, and launching a year earlier than international streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, Showmax hasn’t benefited much compared to Netflix. It lags in the number of subscribers and suffered a significant loss of over USD 64 million last year (2022) alone.With a strong streaming giant like Showmax struggling to keep up with the competition from international giants that have entered Africa, small upcoming streaming platforms face even bigger challenges in attracting and retaining new audiences. Retaining an audience is an even bigger challenge due to the lack of variety and consistently good quality content. This is mainly because producing and marketing good content to the right audience is expensive.International platforms have it easier as they use existing structures to produce and market their content. They also pay better for their originals compared to African streaming platforms. To add salt to the wound, most African creators prefer international platforms due to the reputation and market they offer, even though most of their licensing deals may not be as lucrative. This complexity adds to the challenges faced by local platforms in acquiring high-quality content, a crucial factor in determining a platform's success.Some of the failed platforms include Kwese TV streaming platform by Zimbabwean company Econet, and Telkom One, a South African streaming service that also closed last year, following Vodacom in the same year.African Content.Nigeria holds the distinction of being the second-largest film-producing country globally, following India. Despite this prolific output, much of Nigeria's modern film content remains relatively unknown to many Africans. This lack of widespread recognition can be attributed to a combination of factors. Firstly, local streaming platforms in Nigeria have not actively expanded to other African markets for content distribution. Additionally, the strong cultural preference for local cinema plays a role in limiting the reach of Nigerian films beyond their borders since most income for producers is earned in local Cinemas.The Nigerian content that gains visibility across the continent often does so on international platforms like Netflix (featuring titles such as Blood Sister (2022), The Origin: Madam Koi Koi (2023), Shanty Town, and more) and Amazon Prime (showcasing films like Brotherhood, Battle of Buka Street, Gangs of Lagos, and more). Consequently, local streaming platforms in Nigeria find themselves with a relatively small market to distribute their content—primarily confined to their own country.A similar scenario exists in South Africa, where despite being a significant contributor to the African film landscape, the reach of local streaming platforms is constrained. Instead, South African content gains prominence on global platforms such as Netflix (e.g., Blood and Water), Showmax (e.g., Shaka Ilembe), and Disney+ (e.g., Kizazi Moto Generation Fire). This trend underscores the challenge local streaming platforms face in expanding their market beyond their national borders. Other countries have it even worse.Situation in Uganda.Despite the inherent challenges in the business landscape, Africans, including those in Uganda, remain undeterred in their efforts to develop new streaming platforms. In Uganda, numerous streaming services have emerged, although many have faced difficulties gaining widespread popularity. Telecom companies streaming services like Airtel Uganda-backed Airtel TV and MTN Uganda-backed Yo TV have struggled to curate compelling content for their subscribers. Media companies, too, have encountered their share of obstacles with their streaming platforms. In 2014, NTV Uganda introduced NTV Mobi, a streaming app focused on news consumption, although its impact on the media landscape remains uncertain. In 2021, Next Media launched Afro Mobile, an app designed for Entertainment and News, offering access to various television and radio stations. They reported having over 500,000 subscribers by 2022, although the status of their paying subscribers remains unclear. Afro Mobile has expanded its offerings to include a film section in collaboration with Pearl Wood.The streaming landscape in Uganda also includes small startups like Pearl Movies, Watufy, and Eebo World, among others. These startups face additional challenges in scaling, given limited marketing budgets and reluctance from content producers to share their content. Despite these hurdles, the drive to establish and grow streaming platforms persists in Uganda.Conclusion.The Video on Demand market in Africa appears to be viable mainly for companies with substantial budgets that can absorb losses in Africa through gains in other parts of the world. These large companies also possess the financial resources to produce high-quality content and effectively market it to diverse audiences. Currently, this model is more successful in specific markets such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt. However, many other countries, including Uganda, have a considerable distance to cover in establishing a sustainable Video on Demand market. The challenge is exacerbated by economic factors, as the prevalence of poverty hinders widespread adoption of paid content consumption, impacting both Video on Demand services and traditional cinema culture.To foster a thriving Video on Demand industry, there is a pressing need to find effective ways to encourage creators to produce compelling content based on African stories. Elevating the standards of quality required will likely lead to an increase in high-quality content production. Streaming giants will naturally gravitate towards the best content, leaving room for other platforms to thrive with quality offerings. Let's continue to cheer for small companies like Eebo, adapting to the African market with innovative business models. Their contributions diversify the Video on Demand landscape, adding unique perspectives that may in the long run help Africa control the narrative in Africa and at a global scale. By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Navigating Cultural Narratives: How Ugandan Films Preserve and Promote Heritage

At the Ngalabi Short Film Festival of 2022, I watched a movie titled Nyama (Meat) by Asher Rosen that depicted the life of the Batwa of the Kisoro Mountains. The film won multiple awards on the continent and in Uganda, including the prestigious Short Film of the Year Award at the African Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria. The film showcased the lives of a Batwa family, exploring their interactions with tourists and the struggles they face as a community in the hills of Kisoro. Currently, the film is being remade as a feature film titled Small Gods and is set to screen early next year.One aspect that resonated with most viewers was how effectively the movie portrayed the story of the indigenous people, dispelling stereotypes and offering an intriguing perspective on the lives of a community often misunderstood.This sentiment can be extended to numerous other films such as Karamoja (2023), Foot Wine (2022), Nambi (2023), and The Kitara Chronicles (2023) among others. Thus, the question arises: How do films genuinely contribute to the preservation and promotion of heritage?One significant way is through the documentation of culture and history:Movies often portray historical events, as exemplified by The Last King Of Scotland, which tells the partly fictional story of Idi Amin. Cultural practices are vividly depicted in films like The Kitara Chronicles, Tecora (2021), Nambi (2023), and more. Traditional customs are showcased, serving as a visual documentation of a society's heritage. Such films have the capacity to capture the essence of a particular time period, highlighting elements such as clothing, architecture, language, and social norms. In essence, they become invaluable visual records that contribute to the preservation and understanding of cultural heritage.Cultural Representation: Movies serve as a platform for the portrayal and celebration of underrepresented cultures. A notable example is the short film that I already talked about Nyama, which highlights the life of the Kisoro Indigenous tribe, Batwa. By showcasing these diverse perspectives and traditions, films contribute to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Uganda's cultural heritage.Preservation of Language: An issue raised by the audience watching the movie Foot Wine was its missed opportunity to tell the story in the local language, which could have provided a unique and authentic feel to the brewing culture in Uganda. The fact that many Ugandans who watched the film expressed a desire to see themselves reflected in the language used by the actors speaks volumes about the power of language representation and preservation through visual storytelling. It emphasizes the importance of capturing and preserving local languages as an integral part of cultural identity within the context of film narratives.Architectural Preservation: Ugandan filmmakers often overlook showcasing some of our finest cultural architecture in movies, opting instead for depictions of contemporary housing. However, there has been commendable attention to preserving an older cultural way of housing in films such as Hats in The Kitara Chronicles, Nambi, and The Lions of Buganda (scheduled for release on December 31, 2023). Katera of the Punishment Island also portrays Manyatta housing, offering a glimpse into the living arrangements of the Karimojong. These movies are set in the pre-colonial and colonial era of Uganda, we need to see more movies set in current Uganda do the same. Screengrab from the recent Trailer of The Lions of Buganda movie by Jerry Ssesanga premiering on Pearl Magic Prime on 31st Dec. 2023. Courtesy Photo. Filmmakers frequently utilize real historical locations or meticulously recreate historically accurate settings. This practice serves a dual purpose of preserving and showcasing architectural heritage, enabling audiences to visually experience and appreciate the beauty and significance of various architectural styles. Through this visual medium, architectural elements become integral components of storytelling, contributing to a richer portrayal of cultural identity and history.Educational Value: Many young Ugandans may be unaware of historical practices such as using calabashes for drinking water or employing banana leaves in daily life. When movies portray these traditional practices, they offer the younger generation insights into the lives of their ancestors and even recent grandparents. This visual representation becomes a powerful means of passing down cultural knowledge and traditions from one generation to the next.Movies also have the potential to shed light on practices that are still ongoing in different parts of the country but may be unknown to other regions. For instance, issues like female genital mutilation in certain areas or male circumcision in the Bugisu region are examples of cultural practices that, if depicted in films, could spark conversations and serve as educational tools. By addressing these topics through cinema, there is an opportunity to promote understanding, dialogue, and awareness throughout the country, fostering a more comprehensive knowledge of Uganda's diverse cultural landscape.Cultural Tourism: Movies that feature picturesque landscapes, historical landmarks, or culturally rich destinations can significantly contribute to cultural tourism. By showcasing these attractions, filmmakers not only offer viewers a visual feast but also inspire them to explore these places in person. This, in turn, contributes to these locations' preservation and economic development.For instance, I highly recommend watching Small Gods when it is released next year, as it beautifully captures the scenic beauty of Lake Bunyonyi, Mutanda, and the mountain ranges of Mufumbiro in Kisoro. Films like The Girl in the Yellow Jumper, Katera of The Punishment Island, and Tembele also provided a splendid showcase of the Karamoja terrain and Sipi Falls. These cinematic depictions not only entertain but also serve as invitations to Ugandans, encouraging them to explore and appreciate the diverse and stunning landscapes within their own country. In essence, movies become powerful promoters of cultural tourism, fostering a sense of pride and curiosity about the beauty that Uganda has to offer.Behind-the-scene photo of the making of the movie Small Gods on Lake Mutanda in Kisoro. Photo by Isha ImagesGlobal Awareness and Understanding: Movies possess a global reach, providing people from diverse corners of the world with the opportunity to learn about and appreciate each other's heritage. This capacity of cinema can foster cross-cultural understanding and mutual respect. By featuring discussions about our cultures in films, we create a seamless and effective means of disseminating this cultural information to the rest of the world. It serves as a subtle yet powerful way to inform the global audience about who we are without having to shout about it.If you decide to attend a Ugandan movie screening today or tomorrow, pay special attention to the cultural references embedded in the narrative and appreciate the effort to preserve our rich culture and heritage. Recognize that movies produced today, depicting contemporary life, will serve as a window into the Uganda of our time for future generations. These films will tell a real and authentic story about our society.For filmmakers, consider the long-lasting impact of your work. Be intentional in how you tell stories, as they may become reference points for discussions about Uganda in the future. Your narratives have the potential to shape perceptions and contribute to a collective understanding of our culture, traditions, and way of life. Embrace the responsibility to authentically capture the essence of Uganda, ensuring that your work becomes a meaningful part of the cultural legacy passed down to generations to come.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Bobi Wine: The People’s President Documentary Shortlisted for Oscars.

The documentary, now streaming on Disney+ and Hulu, follows the life of Uganda’s opposition leader, then-presidential candidate Bobi Wine (Robert Kyagulanyi), and his family through the struggle to become the president of Uganda. The documentary has been shortlisted among the top fifteen Best Documentary Award finalists for the nominations in the 96th Academy Awards, scheduled for Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Ovation Hollywood.The documentary has experienced incredible success recently, being nominated over fourteen times and winning five awards so far.The film received three nominations at the 2023 British Independent Film Awards: Best Debut Director - Feature Documentary, Best Feature Documentary, and Best Editing.Additionally, it earned a nomination at the Hamptons International Film Festival, where it scooped the Documentary Feature of 2022 award.The film secured two awards at the Independent Film Festival of Boston 2023 and the DocAviv Film Festival 2023. It also received a nomination at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards (HMMA) 2023 and two nominations each at the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival 2023 and the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards 2023.The film was nominated at the Cinema Eye Honors Awards 2024 in the U.S. It competed for the Cinema Eye Honors Audience Choice Prize and Outstanding Production Award, and it received nominations for Outstanding Debut. It was also recognized as part of the 2023 Unforgettable Honorees.The most recent accomplishment is winning the Best Feature Documentary Award at the recently concluded International Documentary Association Awards.In this category, the documentary competes with several other outstanding documentaries, including:American SymphonyApolonia, ApoloniaBeyond UtopiaBobi Wine: The People’s PresidentDesperate Souls, Dark City, and the Legend of Midnight CowboyThe Eternal MemoryFour DaughtersGoing to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni ProjectIn the RearviewStamped from the BeginningStill: A Michael J. Fox MovieA Still Small Voice32 SoundsTo Kill a Tiger20 Days in MariupolWhile the final list of nominations is yet to be announced, we can only hope it makes it to the final nomination list. By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
OPINION: Make November National Arts and Culture Month.

There is a widely held belief that Kampala never sleeps, and many across the world who have visited have crowned it as the night city of East Africa. Uganda, particularly Kampala, has arguably been the launchpad for many popular African artists, including Wiz Kid, Davido, Burnaboy, Rema, Tems, and more. Some even joke that success on the continent requires the blessings of Ugandans in Kampala. However, for some reason, we seem not to be exploiting this unique aspect of the city for larger economic gains.I have a proposal—why not create an entire month dedicated to enjoyment? Hear me out; there is actually a lot to gain with a well-planned and organized National Arts and Culture Month. Imagine a month marketed as hosting the Nyege Nyege Festival, Kampala International Theatre Festival, Uganda Film Festival, and Kampala City Carnival.This is already happening, but in a more disorganized manner than it could be if there were a higher planning entity responsible for making it more successful. For instance, at the beginning of November, we had Nyege Nyege in Jinja. In the same month, we had the Euro Uganda Film Festival (which was later canceled), the Kampala International Theatre Festival, and performances by numerous continental and international music artists in Uganda.That's just November; as I mentioned earlier, Kampala never sleeps, with artists performing every week, and concerts are frequently successful.Here’s my plan:Bring Back Kampala City Festival:According to Sebata Emmanuel’s report the Festival before it was stopped had “helped Uganda meet the current-trend needs of tourism diversification and desire for stronger fresh businesses and markets. This has acted as an economic engine for organizations to grow, network, and prosper. It has also boosted a gracious-rapid development of tourism.” He also noted that since 2011 when the festival began, the period around September and October had seen an increase in the number of inbound tourists in Uganda’s capital of Kampala. That was according to the data by the Uganda Tourism Board (2013This is not surprising, as festivals worldwide have had a positive economic impact on hosting communities. A simple example is the Caribbean festivals that attract tourists from around the world during the summer, contributing significantly to the economies of Caribbean countries.The Coachella festival, which happens every April in Indio, California, creates about $704 million in economic activity, including consumer spending, with $106 million in Indio alone. This brings me to the next part of the plan.Back and Support Nyege Nyege Festival:The Nyege Nyege Festival has encountered numerous challenges from various government administrators, religious leaders, and moralists in the country, accusing it of being a satanic event. The festival was even banned in 2018 by the late then Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo, for allegedly "promoting homosexuality". This witch hunt has created a negative perception of Nyege Nyege. Even now, attending the event is considered a sin by moralists and many Ugandans, supported by the president. This has not halted the event, but it has significantly impacted attendance. The 2023 edition was one of the least attended, partly due to other factors such as “security concerns” leading the American and British embassies to warn their citizens against attending, the establishment of another Nyege Nyege festival in Kenya, organizational mistakes, and more.It appears that the festival is facing a slow death, and reviving it will require considerable effort. The public sector needs to spearhead this effort, as it is the largest tourist-attracting event in the Busoga Region. Restoring the festival would not only boost the regional economy but also contribute to the country's foreign exchange earnings, given the yearly influx of over 5,000+ international attendees.Fund and Improve Hosting Spaces.Regarding the Nyege Nyege Festival, there is a need to enhance the venue where this event takes place. I know individuals who attended Nyege Nyege last year but chose not to attend this year due to the poor condition of roads, inadequate shelter, and various other factors that made the overall experience uncomfortable. Unless the challenging conditions become a unique selling point, similar to the Burning Man Festival, attracting more people could be achieved by providing better facilities at Itanda. Maybe the funds earmarked for the Formula One track can do something.The National Theatre also requires some enhancements to make it a more appealing venue for film screenings or theatrical performances. For many, the current atmosphere feels akin to watching a movie at home or seeing your child perform in front of you. The ambiance is an essential aspect that should be highlighted in promoting the arts. Several other artistic venues can be upgraded, including Bat Valley Theatre, Theatre Labonita, Ndere Centre, and more. An arena is also needed for larger events, with the proposed Lugogo Arena on the way, we can hope it will fill that void.Finally, with the necessary infrastructure in place, the remaining efforts should focus on effectively marketing the month. Introduce a dedicated portal (website) that consolidates all the activities of the month, complete with schedules, allowing the private sector to take charge of the organization. The public sector can contribute by allocating funds for marketing, such as running ads on airplanes, online platforms, TV commercials, and more.Promoting a month filled with diverse events can be more efficiently accomplished through centralized marketing efforts than if private entities were to market independently. Private entities can then actively compete for a share of the already available audience, comprising both Ugandans and non-Ugandans. This will;a) Foster the growth of the creative and arts sector. Ugandans will become more engaged with the work of local creatives, spanning across theatre, film, music, poetry, fashion, culture, fine arts, and more. The same theme will resonate with foreign audiences attending events throughout the month.b) Contribute to the generation of foreign exchange for the government, as the influx of foreigners attending the festivities will boost the local economy through spending on various goods and services, including accommodations, transportation, and entertainment.c) Lead to increased tax revenue for the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). There has been a notable plea from the URA regarding the limited contributions from the creative sector. This improvement will facilitate the taxation of creatives by enabling easier tracking of performances and creative output during the specified month.What might be the financial cost of this initiative, one may ask? The Kampala City Festival, before its discontinuation, incurred costs of close to 900 million Uganda shillings for the organization. In this idea, the government's major expenditure will be on the singular large-scale event – the Kampala City Festival (excluding the initial investment in improving art infrastructure). All other events will be privately organized.Another expenditure will be allocated to marketing, constituting the most substantial spending on this idea. To put it in perspective, the supplementary budget for the financial year 2023/2024 included a 13 billion Uganda shillings allocation for the artists' SACCO. In the same budget, 1 billion was earmarked for the rehabilitation of the Uganda Museum. This implies that the 13 billion could be utilized to enhance more than 10 art structures. Considering the considerable funds allocated by the government to some dubious stuff every financial year, like the recent 3 billion Uganda shillings purchase of cars for the former Speakers, a yearly allocation of 20 billion could be designated for the National Arts and Culture Month, and it could have an even bigger return on investment. As a nation known for our partying spirit, it would only be fair if we (with the help of the government) capitalized on that to grow our arts sector and tourism. November should be the month. This choice is strategic, as the month already hosts several events that the initiative can leverage to enhance its appeal. Additionally, data indicates that a significant number of Europeans, part of the target audience for this initiative, tend to travel more between November and February. They could first party in Uganda before heading to other destinations. “In 2022, nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the USA and their audiences generated $151.7 billion in economic activity—$73.3 billion in spending by the organizations, which leveraged an additional $78.4 billion in event-related spending by their audiences supporting 2.6 million jobs, generating $29.1 billion in tax revenue, and providing $101 billion in personal income to residents.” This is of course, minus the for-profit companies in the arts business that generated over $1.02 trillion accounting for 4.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the US in 2021 alone.  I would say the government is sleeping on Uganda's potential as a party country and I believe a National Arts and Culture Month could be an accelerator to get the best out of it.   By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Sssekukulu Premiere: When Time Stood Still and 2 Hours Felt Like Mere Minutes.

What comes to your mind when you think of a Christmas Film? Well, on the 8th of December, 2023, we got served a Ugandan movie, the first of its kind; Ssekukkulu; A Ugandan Christmas, and it was everything we imagined and perhaps, so much more. Producer Sharon Ishimwe, who doubles as the director, and co-director Gerald Namanya managed to take us on a nostalgic journey to relive our Christmas experiences from when we were younger. From the excitement of drinking festive soda to that one drunkard uncle who is always causing a scene, a lot of what most of us would term as “Christmas those days” was featured in this movie. However, before we walk into the dark cinema hall and glue our eyes to the bright huge screen, let me lend you an eye at what we found waiting for us just outside, on the Acacia Mall rooftop. As you turned the corner from the lift to the night breeze of the rooftop, the merry tunes of an excellent DJ and energetic MCee welcomed your ears. The red carpet was graced with style and Glamour from the cast, crew, and fans who were all here for the experience. Camera lights flattered the attendees and loud adoring murmurs from the fans brushed through the air, there was a cocktail booth that never stopped giving…ho ho ho! Santa was in a refreshing mood that day, you could say! 1hr into the merry-making and the vibrant Producer Sharon Ishimwe clad in a bright yellow dress officially welcomed us all to the event and prepared our hearts, eyes, and ears for what was about to go down inside...” She expressed gratitude and acknowledged the industry's pioneers. "We stand on the shoulders of those who built this for generations. Their hard work, often unseen, paves the way for cinema premieres. Thanks to the media for their love – TV, radio, newspapers. Your constant support means the world to us."Excited audience members taking a self.With bright smiles and eager eyes, revelers waltzed into the cinema hall, most of them in pairs like a scene from Noah's Ark! Those of us who didn't have a plus one were still cheered up by the fact that it was a full house in attendance and the warmth of the audience’s festive smiles and laughs were more than enough to make everyone feel at home inside the 195 seater hall. When the film finally started, it was one big name after the other as a plethora of amazing actors were present before us on the big screen. The best part is, that none of them were disappointed. Kudos to the casting director because every role felt, not just like a paid performer, but rather, like a relative you know delivering to you a memory from your own experience. The comedic submissions were top notch and the drama was well balanced with light moments that would have the audience laughing, wincing, and grinning in perfect synchrony like an orchestra band. Picture moment with Bwanika Felix one of the actors in the film.Well, you know how they say that even in paradise there will be snakes! Similarly, there were a few hiccups here and there in the film. For example, there were scenes where the background music was playing and the actors were speaking but the voice of the words was not present which was a technical issue from the Cinema that was later fixed.  However, it was a chance to highlight the preparedness of the editing team and good forward thinking to make sure that captions were present in the film so such moments did not cause a glitch to the storyline since the audience was still able to follow along through the captions. 2hrs and a few minutes after we walked in, what felt like just 5 minutes because of the excellence in storytelling came to an end and the standing ovation and loud handclaps of appreciation were deafeningly pleasant. A proud cast and crew made their way to the front of the cinema hall to rightfully and deservingly receive their flowers from the satisfied and mesmerized audience. The best part is that the same feeling of amazement carried on even outside the cinema hall as small groups cocooned around to go over the nostalgia and joy they felt in their hearts and minds as a result of the film. A few days before the film premiere, Sharon had shared with us on the CinemaUG X Spaces how she hoped that people would walk away from the movie feeling a sense of revived love for the festivities and it is fair to say that she and her entire crew have fully achieved this wonderfully in what is set to be a Ugandan festive film that will stand the state of time and, hopefully, become a staple forever household for decades to come. If you missed a chance to watch the trailer of the film, catch it here: Ssekukkulu official trailer.Story by Cinema UG.

Read More
Nabwiso films and Savannah moon productions win big at the The 10th Edition of Pearl International Film Festival.

It has been a time since the Pearl International Film Festival (PIFF) was held, and this was due to the disruption of COVID-19. The festival always gathered the giants of the film industry of Uganda since its inauguration in 2011, making it a calendar event for filmmakers and lovers who come to celebrate the achievements in the film industry. Since its inauguration in 2011, the Pearl International Film Festival has been eagerly watched and drove expectations from different devoted filmmakers, over the years, it has become one of the most celebrated film awards in the film industry. Pearl International Film Festival started in 2011 to develop and promote film and other cultural industries as catalysts for regional social and economic growth. The first edition of PIFF happened at the National Theatre and this edition happened at Theatre La Bonita.This year, PIFF celebrated 10 years, and the award ceremony was held at Theatre La Bonita. The turnout was low during the screening due to the rains and traffic jams, but there was a surge in attendance during the award show. The festival Director Moses Magezi was not around instead Eng. Bonny M. Kasujja represented and shared their continued support to promote the Uganda Film Industry through the festival. Kafacho a feature film produced by Doreen Mirembe won 3 awards, Best Director, Best Feature Film, and Best Screenplay. The film is a Uganda legal drama directed by Gilbert K. Lukalia, and produced by Doreen Mirembe under Amani House Productions. The film stars Nigerian actor Kalu Ikeagwu, Doreen Mirembe, Mariam Ndagire, Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, Rehema Nanfuka, Vladimir Stefanov, and Oyenbot. It premiered in Kampala on October 8, 2022, and was shown in the cinema up to October 13 of the same year.Karamoja a feature film by Nabwiso Productions and Uganda National Communications Commission took home 2 Awards, Best Makeup, and Best Costumes both won by Joan Nantege a make and costumes specialist in Uganda. Here is the full list of the winners:1. Best Short film - Block by Dean Mani2. Best Documentary - Ateker by Edmond3. Best Editor - Katumwa Paul (Mukisa)4. Best Makeup - Joan Nantege (Karamoja)5. Best Costumes - Joan Nantege  (Karamoja)6. Best Production Design - Nana Kagga (Pieces of Me)7. Best Sound - Pieces of Me (Kasozi Geofrey 8. Best Screenplay - Luswata Musa & Mirembe Doreen (Kafacoh)9. Best Cinematography - Izaek Ekuka (The Passenger)10. Best Supporting Actress…Gemin Dushime  (The Fallen Advocate)11. Best Supporting Actor - Mulokozi (24 Hours)12. Best Actress - Tania Shakirah Kankindi (Sister’s Keeper)13. Best Actor - Nathan Katongole (The Passenger)14. Best Director…Mirembe Doreen & Gilbert Lukalia (Kafacoh)15. Best Feature - KafacohWritten by Jesca Ahimbisibwe

Read More
Breaking Barriers: Uganda's Delegates Make History at Rwanda's First Film Market - MashaRket

What is a film market?A film market is an event where filmmakers showcase their films, network with industry insiders, and explore potential distribution and collaboration opportunities.​​​​​​​Over 35 delegates from Uganda led by Tyaba Charles the general secretary of the Uganda Film Association are in Rwanda attending the first film market organized by Masahriki Africa Film Festival under the umbrella name Masaharkt.​​​​​​​Selling a film or any other intellectual property like a script, an original composition or a soundtrack is one of the hardest things in Uganda and whenever such opportunities arise, filmmakers and other creatives are at the forefront to make the opportunities count.MashaRket,' the first film market in Rwanda, aims to connect local writers, filmmakers, and other stakeholders in the sector with investors, content buyers, and distributors, who are willing to collaborate with different filmmakers to produce and distribute content on major platforms such as Dstv, Azam Tv, Netflix, Amazon and so much more.The festival kicked off Saturday, November 25, at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (KCEV) and attracted key players in the film industry in the country and international guests from different countries.State Minister at the Ministry of Youth Sandrine Umutoni, was among the many dignitaries who attended the screening of EONII a science fiction film shot in Dar es Salam - Tanzania. The screenplay is written by Razaq Mzale. With cinematography by Eddie Mzale & Adam Juma. It's produced by Power Brush Studios and Azam Media.Giving her remarks at the film market, Minister for Youth and ICT, Paula Ingabire shared the importance of networking, collaboration, and the use of technology in this era. She expressed the willingness of Rwanda as a country to collaborate, tax fee incentives, and open opportunities for partnerships with other creatives in other countries.A total of 72 films were selected for screening at this year's festival. They were selected in three main categories namely long feature, best documentary, and best short film, and a Ugandan film titled “ The Passenger” was among them.The film tells the story of a young man who tries to deliver a mysterious package to the city on a bus but another passenger thinks he is a killer carrying a mutilated body or bomb and is determined to stop him.Filmmakers need more of such opportunities to network, collaborate, and sign partnership deals.

Read More
Ssekukkulu: A Movie About the Ugandan Style of Christmas to Premiere Next Month.

We have had many local Ugandan stories told, from cannibals (Basezi) to family dramas, but we have yet to see a film about Christmas in Uganda. If you're old, you remember the Christmas period differently from how it is now. If you grew up in a wealthy family, your experience of Christmas is different from those of us who grew up in poor villages.Many stories can be told about Christmas in Uganda, from the festivities in town to the abundance of meat prepared in the villages and the traditional fireside gatherings with the grannies. Sharon Ishimwe, a Canadian-based Ugandan filmmaker, has decided to tell this story from her perspective.Behind the Scenes, a photo taken during the church scene, in the middle is the Ssekukulu film director Dir. Sharon Ishimwe. Courtesy Photo. So, what do we know about Ssekukulu as of now? The film tells the story of three siblings who reunite to celebrate Christmas at their family home in a picturesque town in rural Uganda. However, past and present conflicts threaten to tear them apart, despite their strong family bonds.Synopsis:Mirembe, a single mother and breadwinner, celebrates Christmas with her siblings: Mato, a dreamer living in the village who has taken to drinking, and Mukisa, a headteacher in Kampala. They gather with their mother and children in their ancestral home. The joy of their family reunion is threatened by their past and present clashes, fueled by Mato's resentment towards his siblings. Mukisa's wife, Malia, dislikes spending Christmas in the village, and their son Patrick is heartbroken after learning about his girlfriend Alina's upcoming marriage to an older, wealthier man. As the family navigates their differences, they must also confront their painful past. Despite their struggles, they eventually come together to celebrate Christmas, realizing their love for each other is stronger than their conflicts.The film will premiere on December 8, 2023, at Century Cinemax Acacia Mall. Here is the link to the producer discussing how the idea came to life: hereThe film is directed and produced by Sharon Ishimwe under Engero Productions, and co-directed by Geral Namanya, with Samuel Kizito Saviour serving as the director of photography and editor. The screenplay was written by Josephine Kabahuma, the sound was by Elly Musinguzi, the sound design was by Wabwire Samuel, also known as Sammy Tin and the Original Score and Music were by Kaz Kasozi.The movie features legendary actresses such as Sarah Kisauzi and Cleopatra Koheirwe, as well as actors like Agume Mark, Ngobi Marvin Innocent, Nakitende Hasifah, Bwanika Baale Felix, Patience Kihunde Akiiki, Edson Keith Abitegeka, and Byaruhanga Douglas. Behind-the-scenes photo captured during the shooting of Ssekukkulu in the Western District of Kabarole. Courtesy PhotoThe movie's timing is perfect, as it will be premiered just as the Christmas frenzy begins, evoking nostalgic feelings for many Ugandans. If the tickets are fully booked and exceed the cinema's capacity, additional screenings are possible, which could reignite the enthusiasm for Ugandan films.On November 9, the first teaser trailer was released, giving a glimpse of what to expect from the film. The teaser captures the Christmas mood and showcases how Ugandans prioritize food, family, and church during Christmas. We hope the final cut of the film will execute these aspects well.Is this something you should watch? Absolutely! It's a film that will kickstart the Christmas season before you embark on your Christmas shopping. As the creators say, it's the first of its kind, so hop on board and be among the first to experience Uganda's first-ever Christmas movie. Get your tickets here By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
My Love From Another Land: The Ugandan-Nigerian Crossover We've Longed For

Imagine the tale of an American adopted in Nigeria who finds success in the Nigerian legal industry but decides to relocate to Uganda. While in Uganda, he falls in love with an Acholi woman and embarks on a journey through traditional cultural rituals and practices to marry her.This is the narrative of Olushegun Achebe, affectionately known as Shegun, and it's brought to life in the upcoming movie "My Love from Another Land," directed by Kevin Johns Nabukenya. The film will hit cinemas on Valentine's Day in 2024 at Century Cinemax Acacia.The story is inspired by the real-life experiences of a Nigerian-American couple, Pablo and Anu, who left the United States of America to make Uganda their home. Now, they work as farmers in Uganda and share their experiences living in this East African country on their YouTube channel, Familia Pablanu. (https://www.youtube.com/@familiapablanu). You can listen to their story and find out why they decided to relocate to Uganda here  In the movie, as Shegun's relationship with his Acholi love deepens, they face numerous challenges from their diverse cultural backgrounds. Shegun, a Nigerian, immerses himself in Ugandan customs, constantly discovering and enjoying the cultural quirks he encounters. Despite these differences, their love remains unwavering as they tackle each obstacle together.My Love from Another Land is a film that not only showcases the power of love but also explores the cultural diversity in the world. It portrays the transition from American humor to Nigerian culture, and most importantly, the intricacies of Ugandan life and marriage customs.The movie is making history not only as the first Ugandan-Nigerian-American collaboration but also as a unique story. It delves into various themes close to people's hearts: romance, comedy, parent-child relationships, adoption, cultural clashes, and the challenges of dealing with stereotypes. This movie has something for everyone and promises to entertain you from start to finish. The producers of the film express their hope that it will leave a lasting impact, not only on the Ugandan cinema but also become a Pan-African classic, captivating viewers across the continent and around the world.The concept for this story began as a simple phone camera idea by Anu and Pablo, intended for social media. It has now grown into a professional feature-length film destined for cinemas. Anu and Pablo take on the leading roles, serving as executive producers, storywriters, and screenwriters. They are a Nigerian-American couple who did, indeed, relocate to the Pearl of Africa to pursue a career in farming, leaving behind prestigious jobs and are currently residing in Uganda with their four children."My Love from Another Land" promises to be a heartwarming and culturally enriching cinematic experience, highlighting the power of love and the beauty of diversity. By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Off Shoot: A Collaborative Action Film from Uganda and Nigeria, Coming Soon.

Nigerian-produced action feature film 'Off Shoot' unveiled its inaugural trailer today, helmed by Ugandan director Steve T Ayeny, known for his work in 'Kony: Order from the Above.' Ayeny assembles a crew with Ugandan talents, including renowned cinematographer behind Ugandan hits like 'Tembele,' '24 Hours,' and 'Izaek Ekuka,' alongside first assistant director Achura E Fredrick.The entire film was shot and produced in Nigeria, with Oluwatoyin Adewumi and Benjamin Abejide Adeniran taking the reins as producers.The official Poster for the Off Shoot FilmThe cast of 'Off Shoot' boasts notable figures such as Kehinde Bankole from 'Blood Sisters' and Kelechi Udegbe, whose recent film, 'Mami Wata,' earned the title of Best Film in Nigeria at the African Movie Academy Awards on October 29th. Another prominent actor in the ensemble is Ibrahim Suleiman, recognized for his role in the 2020 Bollywood-Nollywood crossover 'Namaste Wahala.'The script for the film, originating from Oluwatoyin Adewumi's story, was written by Temitope Bolade Akin-Bode. Adewumi has a track record of producing successful films, including 'Strain' (2020), a Sickle Cell-themed movie currently available on Netflix. His 2021 release, 'Ayinla,' also saw significant success, premiering on Netflix on May 20th, 2022, and raking in N91.30 million naira at the Nollywood Box Office, equivalent to about 438,670,000 Ugandan shillings, securing a place in the top 15 on the overall 2021 box office chart. Adewumi's portfolio extends to 'Charmed' (2018) and more.Following the triumph of 'Brotherhood,' a Nigerian film directed and filmed by Ugandan talent Loukman Ali, 'Off Shoot' takes a similar approach with a fresh narrative, aiming to replicate the earlier success. The film boasts a lineup of notable industry figures, including an esteemed executive producer, accomplished director, and skilled cinematographer, alongside accomplished actors. The prospect of this film achieving success seems quite promising, with hopes that it might find its way to major streaming platforms.Ugandan creators have showcased their potential, as exemplified by Loukman's 'Brotherhood.' With 'Off Shoot' and several other films on the horizon, it's clear that collaborations are on the rise. This collaborative approach enables Ugandan filmmakers to leverage the exposure that the Nollywood industry enjoys, creating opportunities for future projects and broader recognition.Watch the trailer here By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Uganda Misses Out on AMA Award This Year

The 19th edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards took place on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at the Balmoral Convention Centre in Ikeja, Lagos. The event was hosted by Nancy Isime, Rahama Sadau, and Richard Ato Turkson. Despite receiving three nominations in various categories, Uganda failed to secure a win in any of them.In the Jubril Malaifia Award for Best Animation, Mulima Ashiraf's "Lost Animation" lost to Ghana's "Jabari." In the Best Film In An African Language category, Yiga Sadat's The Kitara Chronicles failed to win in a category won by Nigeria's "Anukalupo." Furthermore, Fernando Kamugisha was nominated in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category for "The Fallen Advocate," but the Award went to Nigeria's Tobi Bakre, who starred in "Brotherhood."As we predicted in our previous article, Senegal's Xalé, Nigeria's Mami Wata, and Nigeria's Anikulapo emerged as big winners in this year's edition of the AMAs.Just as we had anticipated, Senegal's Moussa Sene Absa's Xalé claimed four awards, including the overall Best Film, surpassing several other outstanding films that also secured other awards. Mami Wata, who had been nominated in 12 categories, walked away with three awards, including Best Film in Nigeria. 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) received one award, and Anikulapo secured two.Here is the complete list of winners:Efere Ozaka Award For Best Short Film•              Lions (Ethiopia) – Winner•              Riel (Namibia)•              Enmity Djin (Mauritania)Jubril Malaifia Award For Best AnimationLost (Uganda)Azania Rises (South Africa)Jabari (Ghana) –  WinnerBashorum Gaa (Nigeria)Best Documentary•              Africa Cradle of Humanity and Modern Civilization (Senegal/Canada)•              Nightlife in Lasgidi (Nigeria)•              Maayo Wonaa Keerol – The River is not a Border (Senegal)•              Ifine (Beauty) (Sierra Leone)•              Le Spectre de Boko Haram (Cameroon) – WinnerOusmane Sembene Award For Best Film In An African Language•              Pusha Pressa Phanda (South Africa)•              Anikulapo (Nigeria) – Winner•              The Kitera Chronicle (Uganda)•              Four Walls (South Africa)•              Mami Wata (Nigeria)Michael Anyiam Osigwe Award For Best Film By An African-born Director Living Abroad•              Talia’s Journey (Senegal/Belgium) – Christophe Rolin•              Golden Stripes (Nigeria/UK) – Peace Osigbe•              KOFA (Nigeria/Canada) – Jude Idada – WinnerBest Diaspora Short Film•              We Were Meant To (United States) – directed by Tari Wariebi•              The Ballad of Olive Morris (United Kingdom) – directed by Alex Kayode-Kay•              Fifty-Four Days (United Kingdom) – directed by Cat White and Phoebe Torrance•              Raw Materials (Jamaica) – Directed by Sosiessia Nixon – WinnerBest Diaspora Documentary•              Sound of the Police (United States) – Directed by Stanley Nelson – Winner•              Fantastico Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet (United States) – directed by Yvan Iturriaga and Francisco Nuñez•              Black Rio (Brazil) – directed by Fernando Sousa and Gabriel BarbosaBest Diaspora Narrative Feature•              Cheese (Trinidad & Tobago) – directed by Damian Marcano•              Our Father, The Devil (United States) – Directed by Ellie Foumbi – Winner•              The Pastor and the Revolutionary (Brazil) – directed by José Eduardo BelmonteBest Achievement in Production Design•              Pat Nebo – Anikulapo – Nigeria – Winner•              Eve Martin – Omen – DRC•              Sira – Burkina Faso•              Antoine Nshimiyimana – Fight Like a Girl – Rwanda•              Chantel Carter – Gereza – South AfricaBest Achievement in Costume Design•              Bunmi Demilola Fashina – Mami Wata – Nigeria•              Toyin Bifarin Ogundeji – Anikulapo – Nigeria•              Millicent Jack – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – Nigeria•              Djibril Drame – Xalé – Senegal – Winner•              Elkehoste and Baloji Omen – DRC•              Sidi Ouedraogo Sira – Burkina FasoUganda's representatives at the Award Ceremony. R-L Fernando Kamugisha, Ashiraf Mulima, Kevin Johns Nabukenya, Yiga Sadat and Kizito SudaisyBest Achievement in Make-Up•              Campell Precious Arebamen – Mami Wata – Nigeria – Winner•              Hakeem Effect and Toyin Bifarin Ogundeji – Anikulapo – Nigeria•              Lila Vander Elst – Omen – DRC•              Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – Angola•              Omowunmi Okungbure – Gangs of Lagos – NigeriaBest Achievement in Soundtrack•              Fight Like a Girl – Rwanda – Winner•              L’Axe Lourd (The Highway) – Cameroon•              Gereza – South Africa•              Omen – DRC•              Obinna Arua – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – NigeriaBest Achievement in Visual Effects•              Andrej Gregori, Voranc Kumar, Ziga Radulji -Omen – DRC•              Alexandre Dachkevitch – Mami Wata – Nigeria•              Josh Borrill – The Trade – Nigeria•              Emmanuel Bassey – Gangs of Lagos – Nigeria – WinnerBest Achievement in Sound•              Juliana Oswald – Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – Angola•              Vianney Aube – Sira – Burkina Faso – Winner•              Erik Griekspoor – Omen – DRC•              Samy Bardet – Mami Wata – Nigeria•              Michel Tsagli – Xalé – SenegalBest Achievement in Cinematography•              Lilis Soares – Mami Wata – Nigeria – Winner•              Joachim Philippe – Omen – DRC•              Richard Henkels – Fight Like a Girl – Rwanda•              Thomas Wilski – Talia’s Journey – Senegal/Belgium•              Eduardo Kropotkine – Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – AngolaBest Achievement in Editing•              Nathan Delannoy – Mami Wata – Nigeria•              Bertrand Conard – Omen – DRC – Winner•              Sylvie Gadner – Sira – Burkina Faso•              Layla Swart – Gereza•              Madhew Leutwyler – Fight Like a GirlBest Achievement in Screenplay•              C.J. ‘Fiery’ Obasi – Mami Wata – Nigeria•              Ufuoma MeHHri – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – Nigeria•              Moussa Sene Absa, Pierre Magny, Ben Diogay Beye – Xalé – Senegal – Winner•              Madhew Leutwyler – Fight Like a Girl – RwandaNational Film and Video Censors Board (NFVB) Award for Best Nigerian Film•              Mami Wata – Winner•              Anikulapo•              4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four)•              Gangs of Lagos•              The Trade•              L.I.F.E.•              BrotherhoodBest Young/Promising Actor•              Maleek Sanni – Gangs of Lagos – Winner•              Ewube -L’axe Lourd (The Highway•              Darisimi Nadi – Obara’m•              Sanou Titiama – Le chant des fusils (The Song of the Rifle•              Eyiyemi Afolyan – AnikulapoBest Actor in a Supporting Role•              Francis Onwuchei – The Trade – Nigeria•              Jeff Jackson – Four Walls – South Africa•              Hakeem Kae-Kazim – Fight Like a Girl – Rwanda•              Jimmy-Jean Louis – Rise – WinnerBest Actress in a Supporting Role•              Uzoamaka Aniunoh – Mami Wata – Nigeria•              Rokhaya Niang – Xalé – Senegal – Winner•              Clarck Natmbwe – Fight Like a Girl – RwandaBest Actor in a Leading Role•              Richard Mofe Demalo – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – Nigeria•              Marc Zunga – Omen – DRC•              Fenando Kamugisha – The Fallen Advocate –Uganda•              Tobi Bakre – Brotherhood – Nigeria – Winner•              Justine Murichii – Shimoni – Kenya•              Mike Danon – Sira – Burkina FasoBest Actress in a Leading Role•              Lucie Debay – Omen – DRC•              Ehle Mbali Mlotshwa – 4 Walls – South Africa•              Nafissatou Sisse – Sira – Burkina Faso•              Adesua Etomi – Guns of Lagos – Nigeria•              Nse Ikpe Etim – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – Nigeria – Winner•              Bimbo Ademoye – Anikulapo – Nigeria•              Ama Qamata – Fight Like a Girl – RwandaFirst Debut Feature by a Director•              Baloji – Omen – DRC – Winner•              Ery Claver – Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – Angola•              Jean Elliot Ilboudo (le Chant des fusils)The Song of the Riffle – CameronBest Director•              Moussa Sene Absa – Xalé•              C.J. ‘Fiery’ Obasi – Mami Wata•              Baloji – Omen•              Apolline Traore – Sira – Winner•              Izu Ojukwu – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four)•              Kunle Afolayan – Anikulapo•              Kgosana Monchusi, Menzi Mzimela, Juvaiś Dunn – 4 WallsBest Film•              Xalé- Senegal – Winner•              Mami Wata – Nigeria•              4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) Nigeria•              Omen – DRC•              4 Walls – South Africa•              Sira – Burkina Faso•              Anikulapo – Nigeria.By Martin Kabagambe 

Read More
Bobi Wine: People’s President Documentary Film Shortlisted for Cinema Eye Honors’ Audience Choice Award Long List

On October 19, 2023, Cinema Eye Honors, the organization that recognizes achievement in nonfiction and documentary films and series, announced its 17th season's first awards for 2024. Among the announcements were the nominees in five Broadcast categories, the annual Shorts List — spotlighting 10 of the year’s top documentary short films — the 20 films on the Audience Choice Prize Long List, and this year’s Unforgettables Honorees.Bobi Wine: People’s President Documentary, a documentary that follows Ugandan opposition leader, activist, and musical star Robert Kyagulanyi, Bobi Wine, was shortlisted and nominated for Audience Choice Prize Long List and Unforgettables Honorees, respectively.Bobi Wine: People’s President Documentary is co-directed by Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp and produced by John Battsek. The documentary follows Bobi Wine and his wife Barbie Kyagulanyi from the ghettos of Kamwokya to challenging Uganda’s long-serving President, Museveni. The story of Bobi Wine is one that has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world. His meteoric rise from a musician to a political force has not only symbolized hope but also the power of individuals to inspire change. The documentary delves deep into the personal and political struggles of this dynamic couple, portraying the courage and determination they display in their quest for a better Uganda.The recognition of "Bobi Wine: People's President Documentary" by Cinema Eye Honors is a testament to the power of storytelling in documenting the human experience and the impact of political activism. The film shines a spotlight on the challenges faced by those who dare to challenge the status quo and the relentless pursuit of justice and democracy. Bobi Wine's journey serves as a beacon of hope for those who believe in the power of their voices to bring about change.One of the exciting aspects of this recognition is that the documentary is now available for streaming on popular platforms such as Hulu and Disney Plus, making it accessible to a global audience. It provides viewers with an opportunity to connect with the inspiring story of Bobi Wine and the issues he and his wife, Barbie Kyagulanyi, are fighting for.For those who have been moved by the story of Bobi Wine and the struggles of the Ugandan opposition, there is an opportunity to have their voices heard. The Audience Choice Prize Long List, which includes "Bobi Wine: People's President Documentary," is currently open for voting. The top 10 films will be selected based on audience votes, and one will be crowned the winner. You can cast your vote for your favorite documentary at Cinema Eye Honors' official website here and help elevate the message of hope and change that "Bobi Wine: People's President Documentary" conveys.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Nyama Short-Film redone as a feature length film titled Small Gods.

In the heart of Uganda's South Western District of Kisoro lies the untold story of the Batwa people, a community that has lived in the region for centuries. Their story was brought to the limelight in a captivating short film titled Nyama, directed by Asher Rosen. The film explored the lives of a Batwa family and their interactions with tourists and the struggles they go through as a community, in the hills of Kisoro. Nyama was not just any ordinary short film; it told the story so beautifully that it managed to win numerous awards and accolades at prestigious film festivals in Africa. The movie was named Best Short Film at the African Movie Academy Awards and was selected for numerous festivals, including the Ngalabi Short Film Festival and the Uganda Film Festival.The success of Nyama has paved the way for a feature film adaptation, entitled Small Gods, which is currently in post-production. The longer version of the film will delve deeper into the lives of the Batwa family, exploring their daily struggles and triumphs. The feature film is also directed by Asher Rosen. Ezra Mugisha is the Assistant Director and co-produced by Shema Faustin. The production of the film has been a collaborative effort between filmmakers from Poland, the UK, and Uganda. The team has been working closely with the Batwa community to ensure that the film is authentic and represents their culture accurately.Behind-the-scenes photos for the Small Gods  film shooting in Kisoro. Photo by Isha ImagesThe feature film stars Turinayo Josam as the son character, who is the winner of an IKON Rising Star Award, Florence Malesena as the mother character, and Bizimana Huseni as the father character. Interestingly, Florence and Turinayo are related in real life, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the film.The feature film has been in production since last year with shooting taking place in and around the Kisoro region and Kampala. The feature film promises to be an emotional rollercoaster, exploring themes of family, culture, and identity. The local team’s unique perspective on the region adds a layer of depth to the film, ensuring that it accurately captures the beauty and struggles of the Batwa people.The film doesn’t stop at exploring culture but also intends to beautifully share the physical feel of living in Kisoro by showcasing the physical landscape with amazing cinematography. The capture of the beautiful terrain of Kisoro in the behind-the-scenes shooting of Small Gods film. Photo by Isha ImagesFor those who watched the first one, you will definitely like this feature-length version of it. You can watch the Q&A about the first short hereBy Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Men In Suits Returns to the Theatre: A Tale of Crime and Redemption

Men In Suits, directed by Kevin Johns Nabukenya, is set to return to the theatre next month. This crime drama, originally released in 2021, tells the story of a group of unemployed youth who turn to fraudulent activities, including scamming university students, with devastating consequences. The film will be featured at Uganda Cinema Night on November 1st and 8th, offering the audience an opportunity to watch it on the big screen.The movie follows Julius, who initially joins network marketing to cover his mother's medical bills but soon becomes entangled in illegal activities. It isn't until he and his fellow conmen are pursued by the police that he realizes the severity of their actions. Max, involved with sugar mummies, eventually seeks redemption and secures a modest job.Men In Suits features a talented cast, including Yawe Andrew, Felix Bwanika, Mutebi Farooq, Mutebi Immaculate, Sarah Kisauzi, Yasin Lubowa, Diana Amonic, and others. Their performances bring depth to the characters and the story.The film achieved acclaim at the Uganda Film Festival in 2021, earning nominations for Best Screenwriter and Best Supporting Actor. It was also featured at the Film and Culture Market Week at the National Theatre the same year. Now, it returns for theatrical screenings.Mark your calendars for November 1st and take the opportunity to watch Men In Suits on the big screen for just 10,000 Uganda shillings, thanks to Uganda Cinema Night. Whether you're revisiting this tale or experiencing it for the first time, this movie's narrative and performances are sure to leave an impact. Kevin Johns Nabukenya's work reminds us of the power of cinema to entertain and provoke thought, making it a must-see event this November.Watch the trailer hereBy Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Combatting Sexual Harassment: Strategies for Newcomers in Film

In 2006, sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke first used the term "Me Too" while sharing her experience. It gained widespread recognition in 2017 during the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. American actress Alyssa Milano ignited the spark when she posted on Twitter, "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." Subsequently, numerous high-profile posts and responses from American celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, and Uma Thurman followed. This wave of revelations led to a series of allegations that ultimately resulted in Weinstein's conviction and a 23-year prison sentence.Recently, during an X Spaces discussion on the subject of abuse, specifically sexual harassment and exploitation in the film industry, the question of whether naming and shaming could be an effective tool to raise awareness about the perpetrators of these abuses was raised. A speaker (whose name I'll withhold) countered that the concept might not work as effectively in the real world as it seems in theory. Although he didn't provide specific details, I understood his perspective, drawing from the experiences and stories I've encountered from survivors and, in some cases, even abusers themselves.One notable downside of naming and shaming is its potential for misuse. When someone is accused of a heinous act, it often results in significant societal, physical, or reputational consequences. Regardless of whether someone is guilty or innocent, the public tends to perceive them through the lens of the allegations. A prime example is the case of American actor Morocco Omari. A question was raised during a film conversation about allegations of physical assault against a woman that had occurred in 2017. Despite being acquitted of these allegations, Morocco Omari expressed his frustration with how the public continued to remember him more for the accusations than for his work in the movies. This illustrates the often unforgiving nature of public perception, where individuals are more likely to be remembered for their misdeeds than for their positive contributions.Returning to the core issue, naming and shaming is seen by some as the least effective means of combating sexual harassment. The question now remains, what could be the alternative effective ways to combat these vices at scale, especially for actors who are often at the start of their careers and may not have a significant voice in the industry? In the Ugandan film industry, the statistics are not clear regarding the prevalence of sexual harassment. However, it is an unfortunate irony that a significant number of actors have shared experiences of harassment, particularly when they are starting their careers. In Hollywood, while precise figures vary, numerous reports and surveys have highlighted the extent of the issue. A 2018 study by the Women and Hollywood organization revealed that 94% of women working in the film industry reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment or assault during their careers. For men, the numbers are lower, but not negligible. The same study found that 38% of men working in the industry had experienced harassment. These figures underscore that sexual harassment is a pervasive issue affecting individuals across the gender spectrum in the creative sector. It's crucial to recognize that even the most prominent employers in this industry have faced allegations of harassment towards their employees, both on and off the sets, as well as in communications. Unfortunately, in Uganda, there are no functioning bodies specifically designed to address such cases. The creators' union, which is available and responsible for addressing these issues situated at the National Theatre, remains largely unknown to artists in the industry and rarely receives such cases. The effectiveness of this body in handling and resolving complaints, if it receives any, is unclear.In many cases, the easiest route to seek justice is through the police. However, as narrated by a young actress (who wanted to remain anonymous) who reported a producer four years ago, the path to justice with the police in Uganda can be challenging and fraught with obstacles.So, what alternatives are available to combat sexual harassment in the creative sector effectively? While it may be disheartening to consider preventive measures, they are often the most practical means to reduce such cases, both for men and women. Let's explore some of these preventive strategies:1. Contractual Safeguards: Until recently, it’s been extremely rare, but signing contracts for every job in the industry is crucial because it not only clarifies the expectations and terms of your engagement but also offers legal recourse should disputes arise. By carefully reviewing and understanding the contract terms, you can identify and address exploitative clauses that may expose you to unnecessary risks.For instance, a standard contract should outline your role, responsibilities, compensation, working hours, and any specific clauses related to personal boundaries and conduct on set. If you encounter clauses that demand compromising or unsafe actions, it's essential to negotiate or seek legal advice to amend those terms. By proactively addressing such issues in the contract, you establish clear boundaries and expectations, reducing the likelihood of harassment. Of course, for Ugandan creatives, there is still a long way to go before these kinds of arrangements become the norm and are not perceived as an actor being a diva. However, recent professional sets have been very professionally aligned, and I expect this approach to spread throughout the industry in the near future. This will largely depend on whether the actors themselves actively seek such changes2. Strength in Numbers:Working in groups, especially during night shoots or potentially vulnerable situations, significantly reduces the risk of harassment. When you have colleagues around, you create a protective buffer that can deter potential harassers and offer support in case an incident does occur.Let's say you're shooting a late-night scene in a Bwebajja. Rather than being alone with a small crew, request that other cast and crew members also be present. If you're concerned about an off-set gathering that may involve alcohol, encourage your fellow actors and team members to attend together. By making such arrangements, you not only promote a safer environment but also demonstrate solidarity, encouraging others to do the same.3. Designated Communicators:Having a designated individual communicate on your behalf with those hiring you adds an additional layer of protection. This trusted intermediary can maintain professionalism during negotiations and discussions, making it more challenging for potential harassers to engage in inappropriate behavior. Your designated communicator could be a manager, a family member, a friend, or even a professional agent. For instance, if a producer or director wants to discuss your role and conditions, your designated communicator can manage these conversations and ensure they remain focused on your professional responsibilities. This not only minimizes the opportunity for harassment but also streamlines communication, making negotiations more efficient and objective. While this approach is still often seen as diva-like behavior in much of the film industry, and there may be instances where you risk losing a role when producers have to deal with your manager or your PR representative, it should not dissuade you from adhering to what you believe is best for your career and yourself as an actor. There are professionals in the industry who are willing to engage with your representatives in a professional manner.4. Establish and Promote Reporting Channels:This still has a long way to go, as the industry is deeply interconnected. The person you're reporting to maybe a friend or a colleague of the person you're reporting. However, this should not deter us from pursuing clear and independent channels to report these cases and seek solutions. We should actively promote the creation and endorsement of clear and confidential reporting channels within the industry. These channels offer a safe space for individuals to report instances of harassment without the fear of retaliation.Production companies and unions can establish dedicated hotlines or online platforms where individuals can report harassment anonymously. By ensuring that such reporting mechanisms are widely known and actively supported, the industry sends a clear message that harassment will not be tolerated. Training sessions can also be conducted to educate industry professionals about these reporting options and the importance of taking action. Finally, we can always encourage and support victims to pursue due process, always be on the look, and actively encourage others to do the same. If you witness or experience harassment, report it promptly and encourage others to do the same. By collectively advocating for change, the industry can shift towards a safer and more inclusive culture.For newcomers in the industry, it's essential to remember that avoiding uncomfortable situations starts with refraining from desperation to be on set. Instead, focus on honing your craft and have confidence that your opportunities should be based on merit, not favors. Prior to entering the industry, conduct thorough research to know who to approach and how to navigate it effectively, ensuring that you don't fall into the hands of those with ill intentions. Succeeding in any field, whether it's music or film, is undeniably challenging. Be prepared to face rejection, but see it as a learning experience that can help you grow. By doing so, you won't feel as though you're being rejected because you're unwilling to compromise yourself.These preventive measures, when combined, establish a robust framework for addressing and reducing sexual harassment in the creative sector. They empower individuals to take control of their careers while fostering a culture of safety and respect within the industry. Although naming and shaming may not be the most effective method for eradicating such vices, alternative approaches can help reduce the risk of harassment on an individual basis. It's important to acknowledge that even with these measures in place, it's unlikely that such vices will be completely eradicated. However, we can make significant strides in reducing their prevalence. This article is inspired by a real-life experience of someone I know who found herself in an uncomfortable position with a producer. While we were there to advise her on how to protect herself from that particular producer, many individuals may not have a support system to guide them on the right course of action. Hopefully, with this article, more measures can be considered to further diminish the occurrence of such incidents.For the perpetrators, mweddeko. By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Business Summit for Women in Film Happens Next week, you should attend.

The Business Summit for Women in Film will take place at the National Theatre on October 26th, offering a platform for women in the film industry. This event is organized by Tassles Film Ltd and marks the second gathering of women in film this year. The summit will delve into the business aspect of filmmaking from a unique women's perspective, featuring an array of accomplished speakers.The summit aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the film industry as a business through the eyes of women who have made significant contributions. Among the prominent speakers is Atusasire Barbra, the director of Tassles Film, who has played a pivotal role in promoting women in film and she will be hosting the event.  Dr. Doris Mutabazi, the CEO of Net Studios Africa, will also share her insights. Dr. Mutabazi's accomplishments in the film industry are highly regarded, and her presence at the summit will provide valuable perspectives, especially on the business of filmmaking.Eleanor Nabwiso, a film producer, writer, director, and actress, will also be a featured speaker. With a rich portfolio that includes notable projects such as Prickly Roses, The Hostel, The Rain, Sanyu, Bed of Thorns, and many more, Eleanor has been a trailblazer in the Ugandan film industry. During her participation in the previous Women in Film Symposium organized by Cinema Ug, Eleanor, who served as a speaker, emphasized the paramount importance of script quality. She asserted, "Talent alone isn't enough – investing in compelling stories is key." Eleanor continued to encourage women to create more, highlighting the increasing global appetite for new narratives and emphasizing the need to contribute unique perspectives to keep the industry thriving.Eleanor Nabwiso speaking at the recently concluded Women In Film Symposium organized by Cinema Ug at the British Council. Photo by Owomugasho Labon for Enclave MediaAnother distinguished guest is Mariam Ndagire, a renowned singer, theatre performer, playwright, and film producer who was also a speaker at the previous Symposium for Women In Film. Her journey from theatre acting to film production has been a source of inspiration for many aspiring artists. Mariam's contributions to Ugandan cinema have earned her numerous accolades, including awards for her work on My Husband's Wife and a whole lot of good movies she has created including but limited to Hearts in Pieces, Tendo Sisters TV series, Where We Belong, Dear Mum, Anything But Love and many more. Kevin John Nabukenya, a filmmaker and the founder of Kjohns Films Uganda LTD, will also share her experiences as a young creative, who started producing movies when she was still studying.  Known for her feature film MEN IN SUITS, which received multiple nominations at the 2021 Uganda Film Festival, Kevin's perspective as a director and producer will offer valuable insights into the industry. Other movies include Lala, Wave, and the Fallen Advocate and she is still making more. Doreen Mirembe, a multi-talented individual with roles in dentistry and film, will also join the summit. Doreen's film career includes roles in TV series such as Deception on NTV Uganda and Beneath The Lies, the ongoing Damalie which she also producing.  Her achievements as both a dental assistant and a filmmaker highlight the diverse opportunities within the film industry. Her insights at the summit will be surely valuable. Lastly, the talented Joan Agaba, known for her acting roles in Tembele, Stain, 94 Terror, and more, will provide her unique perspective on women's roles in the film business, especially from an actress’ perspective.In addition to these distinguished speakers, the summit will feature a special guest like Brian Mulondo, the Marketing Manager for Local Content at Multichoice Uganda. His insights into marketing within the film industry will offer attendees a deeper understanding of promoting films both on digital platforms and traditional media. Not forgetting performances by the multitalented Afrie, who is also a filmmaker and digital content creator. The Business Summit for Women in Film marks the second gathering of its kind this year. This series of summits provides a vital platform for women in the film industry to connect, learn from each other, and collectively shape the future of filmmaking. Discussions will encompass the challenges women have overcome, the progress they have made, and the exciting prospects that lie ahead. Please don’t miss this.

Read More
Mr. Sam Bagenda:A Remarkable Journey in Music and Acting

Early Life and EducationBorn on March 31, 1965, in Mukono, Uganda, Mr. Sam Bagenda, more widely recognized by his stage name, Dr. Bbosa, hails from a family of four siblings. His father, Dr. Sam Bakiranze, was a doctor, while his mother, Margaret Bakiranze, was a teacher.His educational journey commenced at Auntie Clare and City Nursery schools. He then moved on to Kitante Primary School before completing his secondary education at Lubiri Secondary School in Kampala and Caltek Academy Makerere. Dr. Bbosa's academic journey further led him to Makerere University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce with a specialization in auditing.In his pursuit of knowledge and professional growth, he also completed a course in Public Accountancy (CPA) at Graffins College in Kenya. For several years, he worked as an accountant before venturing into the world of drama.A Musical Prelude.Sam Bagenda's journey in the arts began with music. He started singing in the Anglican Church Choir at St. Paul's Church in Mulago during his youth. However, his early musical aspirations faced a setback when he was removed from the church choir by the parish priest. Unfazed, he decided to form the gospel choir "Sun Rose-85" in 1985, alongside other former members of the church choir.His melodious journey led him to The Ebonies, where he joined forces with the late Jimmy Katumba. Together, they graced numerous festivals and went on to produce the much-admired sweet ballad, "Twalina omukwano negufa." His first significant performance under The Ebonies' banner occurred in January 1987 at the grand opening of the iconic Bat Valley Theatre.Transition to Acting and Stardom.While Sam Bagenda had achieved significant popularity as a singer, fate had something different in store for him. At the zenith of his musical career, he crossed paths with the renowned playwright and director, J.W.K Ssembajwe, who saw the potential for greatness in his deep, resonant voice. This meeting marked a turning point in Bagenda's career.In 1993, he assumed the role of 'Dr. Sam Bbosa' in the widely acclaimed Ugandan television series, "That's Life Mwattu." The show struck a chord with viewers, and Sam Bagenda became an overnight sensation. His charismatic portrayal in the series led to him being affectionately referred to as 'Dr. Bbosa' by the locals, cementing his status as a beloved figure in the Ugandan media landscape.Filmography and Continuing Success.Over the years, Sam Bagenda has contributed significantly to the world of entertainment, expanding his repertoire and making an impact in various productions. Notably, he featured in the Malayalam movie "Escape from Uganda" in 2013, where he played the role of 'The Mayor.'His journey in the world of film and television has seen him grace various productions, including "Agony and Ecstasy," "The Boss," "Land Friends," "Daisy," "The Dollar," "Dilemma," "Bibaawo," "OMG," and "Kyekyo."Continuing to be a prominent figure in Ugandan entertainment, he currently stars in "Urban Life" on Pearl Magic Prime.Mr. Sam Bagenda, aka Dr. Bbosa as he is affectionately known, is a multifaceted artist whose journey in music and acting has touched the hearts of countless fans. His deep voice and charismatic presence have made him a household name in Uganda, and his contributions to the arts have solidified his place in the country's entertainment history.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Unlocking the Potential: An Insider's View of the Ugandan Film Industry.

The world of cinema is a realm that weaves tales, captivates audiences, and transcends borders. In Uganda, this realm has been steadily growing, thanks to the dedicated efforts of filmmakers, and champions of the art of storytelling. I sat down with Mzee Bwanika Julius a prominent filmmaker and a driving force behind the scenes and we delved deep into the Ugandan film industry. His insights provide a unique window into the past, present, and future of Ugandan cinema but most importantly the film business side of the industry. Background of Mzee Bwanika.Mzee Bwanika's journey in Uganda's film industry began as an actor, writer, and director of stage plays, transitioning to film production in 2005. His educational background spans ICT, Film and Television Production, and Financial & Business Computing. As the founder and CEO of Vortex Films, he excels in writing, editing, directing, and producing, earning accolades for films like "NALIWO" and "Last Verdict."Bwanika's impact extends beyond filmmaking; he served as an Information and Data Analyst for the Uganda Federation of Movie Industry (UFMI) and was Vice President of the UFMI Producers’ Guild. He chairs the YALI Uganda Central Cluster and co-founded Pearlwood, uniting Uganda's film guilds.Pearlwood, an umbrella organization, unites guilds like the Actors Guild and Producers Guild to advance Uganda's film industry. Its vision is to build Africa's next film capital, fostering socio-economic development. Activities include managing a national digital database in partnership with NITA-U and the Ministry of Gender Labour & Social Development and launching a Video-on-Demand platform for Ugandan films in collaboration with Next Media Services. Together, they aim to revolutionize Ugandan cinema locally and globally.Challenges Faced by the Ugandan Film Industry.Despite the immense potential of Ugandan cinema, it is not without its share of challenges. Mzee Bwanika pinpoints a fundamental issue - the absence of a formidable film market. Unlike established industries, Uganda's film market is still in its infancy. "It's in Uganda where film promotion avenues such as TV, YouTube, and festivals are being taken as film markets," he laments.The challenge lies in the fact that there is barely a commonplace, whether digital or physical, where the Ugandan audience can readily access Ugandan content. The primary market for any Ugandan content is Uganda itself, as all other markets have boundaries that favor their own citizens. The absence of a central film market hampers the industry's growth potential and ability to negotiate for space on international platforms.Two factors contribute to this challenge: individualistic tendencies among filmmakers and a lack of business perspective. Many Ugandan filmmakers prefer to work alone or within smaller groups, hindering the creation of a unified national film market. Additionally, some filmmakers prioritize their passion for filmmaking over the business aspect, leading to a scramble for distribution avenues after a film is completed.Unique Strengths and Opportunities.Amidst these challenges, the Ugandan film industry possesses unique strengths and opportunities that can reshape its future. One of the most significant assets is the growing digital audience. Digital platforms have proven to be viable channels for reaching a wide audience, and the Ugandan market is no exception.Furthermore, the human resources in the industry stands as an asset. Ugandan filmmakers are highly passionate and eager to learn, creating a pool of talent that can drive the industry's growth. Additionally, Uganda's rich cultural heritage offers a treasure trove of stories waiting to be told. This diverse cultural tapestry can serve as a wellspring of engaging and unique content.Government Initiatives and Private Sector Partnerships.The government and private sector have recognized the potential of the Ugandan film industry and have initiated various projects and partnerships to support its growth. These efforts span from policy changes to financial support and infrastructure development.One notable example is the partnership between Pearlwood and Next Media Services to provide a Video-on-Demand platform for Ugandan films. Next Media Services, as Uganda's largest media house, offers the visibility needed to boost the sector's socio-economic well-being. With support from UNDP, Pearlwood has established a production hub to enhance the quality of films produced by its members, further demonstrating its commitment to industry growth.Expanding Audiences Locally and Internationally.Ugandan cinema has already demonstrated its potential to reach a wider audience, both locally and internationally. Films like "Who Killed Captain Alex" by Isaac Nabwaana have gained global recognition despite budgetary constraints. Others like The Girl in the Yellow Jumper and Katera of the Punishment Island, both by Loukman are still now streaming on Netflix. The audience is ready, the stories are rich, and the opportunity is ripe for expansion.However, the missing piece of the puzzle lies in creating a formidable home market in Uganda. Bwanika emphasizes that by rallying audiences together, filmmakers can make future targets more achievable. A strong home market is essential for negotiating incentives, co-production opportunities, and a more significant share of the global film market.Improving Access to Cinemas and Online PlatformsThe key to expanding access to cinemas and online platforms in Uganda lies in unity and consistency. Mzee Bwanika emphasizes that filmmakers must work collectively to build sustainable systems capable of crowd-pooling audiences. In Uganda, a typical cinema-goer might only see a movie more so a Ugandan movie every four months. Filmmakers must treat their audience as a valuable and delicate entity that must not be allowed to slip away.By coming together, filmmakers can share their strengths and weaknesses, ultimately providing more consistent and engaging content. It's not about how well an individual filmmaker can pull off a screening but how consistently they can provide content that keeps the audience coming back for more.Recommendations for Industry ImprovementBwanika's insights offer valuable recommendations for the improvement of the Ugandan film industry. Central to these recommendations is the creation of strong, collective film markets. Filmmakers must unite to sell and profit from their crafts, thereby fostering industry growth. As filmmakers collectively create these markets, they can advocate for the necessary policies that will support their vision.The Future of Ugandan CinemaWhat lies ahead for Ugandan cinema? The potential is boundless. As filmmakers overcome their individualistic tendencies and collectively rally audiences, the industry's fiscal status can change dramatically. In parting words, Mzee Bwanika leaves us with a powerful reminder: "No filmmaker, world over, has been able to single-handedly create a film market. That miracle won't happen in Uganda. It's a collective effort." The path to a thriving Ugandan film industry is through unity, collaboration, and a shared vision for storytelling.Note: This article is all brain of Mzee Bwanika Julius compiled by Martin Kabagambe. 

Read More
Matatu Film Stage: A Showcase of Ugandan Cinematic Brilliance.

On Friday, October 6th, the curtains drew to a close on the second edition of the Matatu Film Stage at Century Cinemax Acacia in Uganda. The event marked a return after four years, with the first edition held in December 2018. The intervening years were fraught with challenges, notably the global pandemic, which disrupted countless cultural events. However, the Matatu Film Stage has emerged resilient and stronger, pledging to be an annual cinematic extravaganza. This platform, created by Film Possible, serves as a vital distribution hub for high-quality Ugandan films, showcasing the nation's diverse storytelling prowess.This year's edition featured a lineup of six films. The event, hosted by the Clotilda Inapo, kicked off at 5 pm with a blue carpet affair, complete with cocktails, snacks, shots, and music. As guests mingled, the screenings began, culminating in a vibrant afterparty at Cielo Lounge, just opposite Acacia Mall.The evening commenced with "Key Card" by Angie Emurwon, a crime narrative set in a Kampala hotel. A detective is called to unravel a complex web of deception, where trust is in short supply.One of the standout films of the evening was "Jangu," directed by Patience Nitumwesiga and produced by Shagika Tales Productions and Stone Age Pictures. This story follows two sisters who are robbed at night and seek refuge with a witch. However, their journey takes an unexpected and surreal turn, transforming their world by morning. Attendee Rashid praised "Jangu" for its concise storytelling and awarded it 7.5/10, describing it as a perfect example of short and impactful filmmaking.Another noteworthy inclusion was "Ttula," an animation by Benjamin Mwesigwa that delves into the theme of mental health. Rendered in 2D animation, the film uses humor and wit to navigate the turbulent waters of a young child's mental breakdown, touching upon issues related to bipolar disorder."I Eat What I Like" and "Sungura" explored the fear and stigma surrounding discussions about sexuality, especially when it contradicts societal expectations. These films brought to light the challenges individuals face when attempting to reconcile their true selves with society's preconceived notions of righteousness.Finally, the evening reached its climax with the premiere screening of "The Last Shoemaker." Directed by Ali Musoke, the film explores themes of neocolonialism beneath the surface story of shoes. It tells a tale of people who pretend to help while exploiting valuable resources. Featuring emerging talents like King Missy and Agume Mark, as well as industry legends like Sarah Kisauzi, the film also boasts an album of six songs set to be released on the 13th of this month, available on all platforms.For those who missed the Matatu Film Stage, fear not. These films will continue to screen throughout the month. Mark your calendars for the 13th at Century Cinemas Acacia Mall, and the 20th and 27th at Century Cinemax Arena Mall. The Matatu Film Stage promises to be an annual celebration of Ugandan cinematic brilliance, and its second edition has certainly left audiences eager for more.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Who is representing Uganda at this year's Silicon Valley African Film Festival?

A Ugandan company will produce the accolades to be presented at this year's Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF). Rac Studios, the company responsible for crafting the accolades, received the design specifications from the festival organizers and meticulously brought them to life. These splendid accolades will subsequently be shipped to the United States for the prestigious award ceremony. This marks a significant departure from the norm, as awards from Uganda typically involve importing accolades from abroad.SVAFF, an annual event hosted in the United States, serves as a vibrant celebration of movies from around the world created by Black filmmakers. This year, the festival will showcase an impressive selection of over 94 feature-length and short films, encompassing narratives, documentaries, and animations from 38 different countries. Under the theme of "Africa through African Lenses," SVAFF 2023 is dedicated to presenting authentic stories from both seasoned and emerging African filmmakers. This thematic focus promises to provide audiences with a nuanced and profound perspective on Africa and its diaspora. The festival spans a wide geographical spectrum, with films hailing from locations as diverse as Morocco to Mozambique, Ghana to Uganda, Nigeria to Namibia, Senegal to South Africa, and even reaching as far as the United States, Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Impressively, more than 50% of the films scheduled for screening will be premiering for the first time in either the world or North America.In recent years, Uganda has consistently made a noteworthy presence at the festival. For instance, in 2019, "Veronica's Wish" by Nisha Kalema claimed the Best Feature Film award, while the previous year saw the screening of "Your Turn" by Kizito Samuel Saviour. Other Ugandan films that have earned recognition include "Superstition" by Aaron Zziwa, "Men in Suits" by Kevin Johns Nabukenya (selected in 2021), "Esteem," and "Catch Out" by Kizito Samuel Saviour (chosen in 2020 and 2021 respectively), as well as "Crystal" by Amanya Leonard, among many others.This year, Uganda will be represented by a short documentary titled "Ghetto Fist." The documentary sheds light on the life of Hellen Baleke, a renowned female boxer from the Katanga ghetto, as she endeavors to carve her path in an industry dominated by men, all while grappling with governmental neglect. "Ghetto Fist" which is directed by Saphina Lubeera will screen on October 15th at 6 pm in Studio 2 of the Historic Hoover Theater in San Jose.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Mariam Ndagire’s Festival Opens with Actors' Workshop: The Best is Yet To Come.

On a crisp Monday morning, September 25th, 2023, the spotlight shone brightly on the bustling Bat Valley Theatre Auditorium. Over 250 actors gathered at Bat Valley, driven by their shared love for the performing arts. The occasion? The much-anticipated workshop organized by The Mariam Ndagire Film and Performing Arts Centre is a prelude to their upcoming Theatre and Performing Arts Festival.The atmosphere was charged with anticipation, and whispers of excitement filled the air. The event promised to be an enlightening experience, a melting pot of creativity, and an opportunity for actors to hone their craft. As the curtains rose, the workshop unveiled its carefully crafted agenda: discussions on the delicate director-actor relationship and the secrets to fostering harmonious collaborations on stage, alongside an exploration of the profound role of music in acting.Joanita Matovu: Insights into Performance Excellence.From the Judges' Table, the elegant and experienced Joanita Matovu took center stage. She delved into what sets exceptional performances apart and highlighted the pivotal role of judgment in the world of theatre. Her words resonated deeply with the attendees, instilling in them a newfound appreciation for the art of critique and refinement.Mabira Micheal: A Musical Journey Through Theatre.He embarked on a captivating musical journey through theatre. His presentation unveiled the powerful role of music in storytelling, emphasizing its ability to evoke emotions, transport audiences to distant realms, and elevate the overall impact of a theatrical production.Haji Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga: Deciphering Director-Actor Dynamics.Then came a moment eagerly awaited by all present - Haji Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga's insightful discourse on "What A Director Expects From An Actor." The audience was transported into the intricate web of the director-actor dynamic, a relationship often shrouded in mystery. Abby Mukiibi's words were a beacon of clarity, shedding light on the unspoken expectations that drive great performances. He underscored the importance of actors embracing teamwork, acknowledging that in the realm of theatre, collaboration is the cornerstone upon which masterpieces are built.Hajji Abbey Mukiibi Nkaaga gave advice to actors participating in the workshop. The International Theatre Institute (ITI) made its presence felt through its acting president, Amelia Chaka Mboto. She pledged the ITI's commitment to collaborate with the Festival, envisioning a global stage where the talents nurtured in Uganda would shine. Her words ignited a spark of hope among the participants, reminding them that their passion and dedication were not confined by borders.As the workshop drew to a close, participants were not only enriched with knowledge but also carried away Certificates of Participation—a tangible testament to their commitment to the art.A Glimpse into the FutureBut this is just the beginning. The Mariam Ndagire Festival has set its sights on a grand mission - the revival of theatre culture. From November 13th to November 21st, a full week of theatre performances in competition will grace the stage, promising a captivating spectacle for theater enthusiasts. Before the grand event, multiple workshops and training sessions are scheduled, designed to elevate the standard of theatre acting in Uganda.The curtain has risen on a new era for Ugandan theatre, and the stage is set for an exciting journey ahead. The Mariam Ndagire Theatre and Performing Arts Festival have proven that the best is yet to come, and the future of theatre in Uganda is indeed a bright one. As we eagerly await the forthcoming performances and celebrations, one thing is certain: the spirit of creativity and the love for the performing arts will continue to flourish in the hearts of all those who were part of this remarkable workshop.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
iKon Awards 2024 Submissions are open, learn how to submit in this article

The iKon Awards 2024 edition was officially launched on the 18th of Monday at Kampala Serena Hotel in a glamorous ceremony attended by industry professionals, partners, and media. The launch marked the beginning of the submission process for films vying for recognition at the Awards.In the first edition, filmmakers raised concerns about the complexity of the film submission process, which involved the iKon Awards website, email submissions, and physical submissions. This year, the process has been streamlined to make it accessible to filmmakers worldwide. The submission process now utilizes the standard procedure through FilmFreeway, a platform familiar to many filmmakers who have used it for various festivals. However, the submission requirements remain the same, so ensure that you have all the necessary information, including the legal documents, about your film. This includes proper credits for the individuals who starred in and worked on the movie, the movie's logline and synopsis, the movie poster, the movie trailer, and all other relevant details about your film.ikon Awards producer Usama Mukwaya at the recent launch of the second edition of Ikon Awards. Courtesy Photo. For those who are new to FilmFreeway, here are some simple steps to navigate the submission process:Create a FilmFreeway Account:If you don't have a FilmFreeway account, sign up for one on the FilmFreeway website.Search for The iKon Awards:Once you have an account, use the search bar on FilmFreeway to find "The iKon Awards" or use the following link: https://filmfreeway.com/TheIkonAwards, which will take you directly to the submission portal.Review Submission Details:On The iKon Awards' FilmFreeway page, you will find information about submission categories, deadlines, entry fees, eligibility criteria, and submission guidelines. Carefully review all the details. The categories are also provided in this article.Prepare Your Movie:Ensure that your film meets the technical specifications and format requirements specified by The iKon Awards. Common formats include MP4, MOV, or DCP. Make sure your film includes accurate subtitles if required.Complete the Submission Form:Click "Submit Now" to begin the submission process. Fill out the submission form with details about your film, including its title, runtime, genre, and language.Upload Your Film:Follow the prompts to upload your movie file to the platform. FilmFreeway typically provides a secure and straightforward way to upload your film.Submit Additional Materials:If The iKon Awards requests additional materials such as a movie poster, director's statement, or press kit, upload them as specified.Review and Confirm:Double-check all the information you've provided and ensure that you've followed the guidelines accurately. Then, click "Submit" to finalize your submission.Monitor Your Submission:After submitting, you should receive a confirmation email from FilmFreeway. You can also log in to your FilmFreeway account to track the status of your submission.Follow Up:Keep an eye on your email for updates from The iKon Awards regarding the selection process, screening schedules, and any other important information.Remember that it's crucial to adhere to The iKon Awards' specific guidelines and deadlines for a successful submission. If you have any questions or encounter any issues during the submission process, you can usually reach out to the iKon Awards Team for assistance.Here are the contest categories available:Best FilmBest DirectorBest Lead ActorBest Lead ActressBest Supporting ActorBest Supporting ActressBest Emerging FilmBest Director of PhotographyBest ScreenplayBest SoundBest EditorBest Costume DesignerBest Makeup and Special EffectsBest Production DesignBest Visual EffectsBest Short FilmBest DocumentaryBest Animation FilmBest Student FilmBest Actor in a TV SeriesBest Actress in a TV SeriesBest TV SeriesSubmit here: https://filmfreeway.com/TheIkonAwards 

Read More
Uganda Scoops Three Nominations at AMA Awards 2023, But...

Uganda has received three nominations at the 2023 AMA Awards. The nominees include "Lost" by Ashiraf Mulima, which was nominated for the Jubril Malaifia Award for Best Animation, "Kitara Chronicles" by Yiga Sadat, nominated in the Best Film in an African Language category, and Fernando Kamugisha, nominated for the Best Actor in the Lead Role for his performance in "The Fallen Advocate" by Kevin Johns Nabukenya. Maybe if we also want to tie the Ugandaness on Brotherhood, it also scooped two Awards having been directed by Ugandan Director Loukman. However, these nominations are way fewer compared to Uganda's recent nominations from AMAAs. For instance, in 2022, Uganda secured fifteen nominations, with Moriss Mugisha's "Tembele" leading with ten nominations, followed by Hassan Mageye's "Tinka's Story" with two nominations, and more. In 2021, we had twelve nominations from Uganda, still led by Moriss Mugisha's Stain on the list of nominations. What could be the reason for the decrease in nominations? Is it because Ugandan filmmakers submitted fewer films due to reduced indie film activity in the industry, or did they submit subpar films that couldn't compete?The list appears to be dominated by Nigeria in all categories, with three films from the country in the Best Film category. Notable films in this category include "Xalé" from Senegal, released in 2022 as the third installment of Moussa Sene Absa's trilogy focused on women. It was Senegal's Oscar submission for the international feature category, although it didn't make the shortlist, making it a significant contender at the AMA Awards. "Mami Wata" from Nigeria, directed by CJ "Fiery" Obasi, is also a big contender, it is acclaimed as the first Nigerian feature by a Nigeria-based filmmaker to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. "4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four)," another Nigerian film in the category, focuses on mental health and was released on Prime Video late last year. Other films include "Omen" from DRC, "Four Walls" from South Africa, "Sira" from Burkina Faso, and "Anikulapo," which was the most-watched movie on Netflix in Nigeria and won Best Overall Movie at this year's AMVCAs. Very tight category. We’ll be here waiting for when the winners are announced.Here is the full list of nominations for the 2023 AMAAs:Efere Ozako Award for Best Short Film:Lions – EthiopiaRiel – Namibia Enmity Djin – MauritaniaJubril Malaifia Award for Best Animation:Lost – UgandaAzania Rises – South AfricaJabari – GhanaBashorum Gaa – NigeriaBest Documentary:Africa Cradle of Humanity and Modern Civilization – Senegal/CanadaNightlife in Lasgidi – NigeriaMaayo Wonaa Keerol – The River is not a Border – SenegalIfine (Beauty) – Sierra LeoneLe Spectre de Boko Haram – CameroonOusmane Sembene Award for Best Film in an African Language:Pusha Pressa Phanda – South AfricaAnikulapo – NigeriaThe Kitara Chronicle – UgandaFour Walls – South AfricaMami Wata – NigeriaMichael Anyiam Osigwe Award for Best Film by an African-born Director Living Abroad:Talia's Journey – Christophe Rolin (Senegal/Belgium) Golden Stripes – Peace Osigbe (Nigeria/UK)KOFA – Jude Idada (Nigeria/Canada)Best Diaspora Short Film:We Were Meant To – (United States) – directed by Tari WariebiThe Ballad of Olive Morris – (United Kingdom) – directed by Alex Kayode-KayFifty-Four Days – (United Kingdom) – directed by Cat White and Phoebe TorranceRaw Materials – (Jamaica) – directed by Sosiessia Nixon-KellyBest Diaspora Documentary:Sound of the Police – (United States) – directed by Stanley NelsonFantastico Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet – (United States) – directed by Yvan Iturriaga and Francisco NuñezBlack Rio – (Brazil) directed by Fernando Sousa and Gabriel BarbosaBest Diaspora Narrative Feature:Chee$e – (Trinidad & Tobago) directed by Damian MarcanoOur Father, The Devil – (United States) directed by Ellie FoumbiThe Pastor and the Revolutionary – (Brazil) directed by José Eduardo BelmonteBest Achievement in Production Design:Kunle Afolayan – Anikulapo – NigeriaEve Martin – Omen – DRCSira – Burkina FasoAntoine Nshimiyimana – Fight Like a Girl – DRCChantel Carter – Gereza – South AfricaBest Achievement in Costume Design:Bunmi Demilola Fashina – Mami Wata – NigeriaToyin Bifrain Ogundeji – Anikulapo – NigeriaMillicent Jack – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – NigeriaDjibril Drame – Xalé – SenegalElkehoste and Baloji Omen – DRCSidi Ouedraogo Sira – Burkina FasoBest Achievement in Make-Up:Campbell Precious Arebamen – Mami Wata – NigeriaHakeem Effect – Anikulapo – NigeriaLila Vander Elst – Omen – DRCOur Lady of the Chinese Shop – AngolaOmowunmi Okungbure – Gangs of Lagos – NigeriaBest Achievement in Soundtrack:Fight Like a Girl – DRCL'Axe Lourd (The Highway) – CameroonGereza – South AfricaOmen – DRCObinna Arua – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – NigeriaBest Achievement in Visual Effects:Andrej Gregori, Voranc Kumar, Ziga Radulji - Omen – DRCAlexandre Dachkevitch – Mami Wata – NigeriaJosh Borrill – The Trade – NigeriaEmmanuel Bassey – Gangs of Lagos – NigeriaBest Achievement in Sound:Juliana Oswald – Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – AngolaVianney Aube Sira – Burkina FasoErik Griekspoor – Omen – DRCSamy Bardet – Mami Wata – NigeriaMichel Tsagli – Xalé – SenegalBest Achievement in Cinematography:Lilis Soares – Mami Wata – NigeriaJoachim Philippe – Omen – DRCRichard Henkels – Fight Like a Girl – DRCThomas Wilski – Talia's Journey – Senegal/BelgiumEduardo Kropotkine – Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – AngolaBest Achievement in Editing:Nathan Delannoy – Mami Wata – NigeriaBertrand Conard – Omen – DRCSylvie Gadner – Sira – Burkina FasoLayla Swart – GerezaMadhew Leutwyler – DRCBest Achievement in Screenplay:C.J. 'Fiery' Obasi – Mami Wata – NigeriaUfuoma MeHHri – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – NigeriaMoussa Sene Absa, Pierre Magny, Ben Diogay Beye – Xalé – SenegalMadhew Leutwyler – Fight Like a Girl – DRCNational Film and Video Censors Board (NFVB) Award for Best Nigerian Film:Mami WataAnikulapo4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four)Gangs of LagosThe TradeL.I.F.E.BrotherhoodBest Young/Promising Actor:Maleek Sanni – Gangs of LagosJennifer Ewube - L'Axe Lourd (The Highway)Darisimi Nadi – Obara'mSanou Titiama – Le chant des fusils (The Song of the Rifle)Eyiyemi Afolyan – AnikulapoBest Actor in a Supporting Role:Francis Onwuchei – The Trade – NigeriaJeff Jackson – Four Walls – South AfricaHakeem Kae-Kazim – Fight Like a Girl – DRCJimmy-Jean Louis - RiseBest Actress in a Supporting Role:Uzoamaka Aniunoh – Mami Wata – NigeriaRokhaya Niang – Xalé – SenegalClarck Natmbwe – Fight Like a Girl – DRCBest Actor in a Leading Role:Richard Mofe Demalo – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – NigeriaMarc Zinga – Omen – DRCFernando Kamugisha – The Fallen Advocate – UgandaTobi Bakre – Brotherhood – NigeriaJustine Murichii – Shimoni – KenyaMike Danon – Sira – Burkina FasoBest Actress in a Leading Role:Lucie Debay – Omen – DRCEhle Mbali Mlotshwa – Four Walls – South AfricaNafissatou Cissé – Sira – Burkina FasoAdesua Etomi – Gangs of Lagos – NigeriaNse Ikpe Etim – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – Nigeria Bimbo Ademoye – Anikulapo – NigeriaAma Qamata – Fight Like a Girl – DRCFirst Debut Feature by a Director:Baloji – Omen – DRCEry Claver – Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – AngolaJean Elliot Ilboudo (le Chant des fusils) – The Song of the Rifle – Burkina FasoBest Director:Moussa Sene Absa – XaléC. J. 'Fiery' Obasi – Mami WataBaloji – OmenApolline Traore – SiraIzu Ojukwu – 4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four)Kunle Afolayan – AnikulapoKgosana Monchusi, Menzi Mzimela, Juvaiś Dunn – Four WallsBest Film:Xalé - SenegalMami Wata – Nigeria4-4-44 (Four Four Forty-Four) – NigeriaOmen – DRCFour Walls – South AfricaSira – Burkina FasoAnikulapo – Nigeria.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Theatre and Performing Arts festival kicks off with 11 groups in competition.

On the 18th of September, the air in Bat Valley was filled with excitement and expectation as 11 out of the 15 participating groups gathered for the orientation of the much-anticipated "Theatre and Performing Arts Festival 2nd edition." This vibrant event, co-organized by the Mariam Ndagire Film & Performing Arts Centre and Bat Valley Theatre, is set to be a celebration of Ugandan theatre, a platform for nurturing new talent, and a resurrection of the magic of live performances.Omumbejja Mariam Ndagire, the Festival Director, stood at the forefront of this grand initiative. With a heart brimming with passion, she expressed her dedication to rekindling the spirit of Ugandan theatre during the orientation. "We're here to empower new talent and bring back the magic of theatre," she proclaimed, setting the tone for a festival that promised to be nothing short of spectacular.The core of this orientation session was to familiarize the participating groups with the festival rules, setting clear guidelines for their creative journey:1. Written Scripts: A fundamental requirement for all participants was to submit a written script before the festival officially commenced. This stipulation aimed to ensure that every performance was well-crafted and meticulously thought out.2. Theme: The festival's overarching theme was unveiled during the orientation - "Groom the boy child for a better tomorrow - Lungamya omwana omulenzi gemaka entende," which translates to "Bonna Baana." This theme was a clarion call to address vital societal issues, offering a unique opportunity for artists to engage with and reflect upon pressing concerns.3. Genre Consistency: Each group was encouraged to decide on a specific genre and stick to it throughout their creative process. This would help maintain the integrity and coherence of their stage productions.4. Quality Production: Ensuring that the stage plays possessed the qualities of a selling performance was emphasized. This encompassed everything from captivating storytelling to impeccable acting and production values that would leave a lasting impression on the audience.The orientation didn't stop at rule-setting; it delved deep into the art and craft of creating compelling stage plays. Group representatives were taken on an enlightening journey, guided on how to fashion a stage play that would captivate audiences. They were schooled in the nuances of building well-defined characters, constructing narratives that held an air of believability, crafting plot twists that left spectators awestruck, and maintaining a gripping, edge-of-the-seat experience throughout.As the orientation came to a close, eager participants had a calendar of important dates to look forward to:1. 25th September – Actors' Workshop: This workshop would be a crucial pit stop on the path to perfecting performances, providing participants with invaluable insights and skills from seasoned professionals.2. September – November – Writing and Rehearsals (in individual groups): This phase would be characterized by intense scriptwriting and meticulous rehearsals, as each group strived for excellence in their productions.3. 13th – 24th November – Festival: The grand finale would see all the hard work culminate in a vibrant celebration of theatre and the arts, where these stage plays would come to life in front of an eager audience.One of the most anticipated aspects of the festival was the recognition of outstanding talent. At the end of the event, the winners would walk away not only with cash prizes but also with accolades for "Best Actor," "Best Actress," and "Best Production." These honors would not only serve as a testament to the dedication and hard work of the participants but would also encourage the nurturing of theatrical talent in Uganda.In the capable hands of Omumbejja Mariam Ndagire and the passionate team behind the festival, the second edition of the Theatre and Performing Arts Festival promised to be a cultural extravaganza like no other. With a commitment to empowering new voices, addressing pressing issues, and reigniting the magic of theatre, this event was set to leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of its participants and audiences alike.As the orientation concluded, the groups departed with newfound enthusiasm, eager to embark on their creative journeys and contribute their unique narratives to the rich tapestry of Ugandan theatre. By Theos Gracious Barham.

Read More
iKon Awards Launch the 2024 Edition in Style

Kampala, Uganda - On the 18th of September, the prestigious iKon Awards launched the 2024 edition of their annual celebration of creativity and innovation in the creative sector. The event took place at the Kampala Serena Hotel and was graced by an array of industry professionals, the 2023 edition winners, and talented creators from various fields within the creative sector. Actress, emcee, singer, and radio personality Cleopatra Koheirwe had the honor of hosting the event, setting the tone for the evening.The previous iKon Awards ceremony was held on the 25th of March 2023, at the same venue. Remarkably, a mere five months later, the iKon Awards is launching its second edition, demonstrating the awards' growing significance within the creative community. The launch marked the opening of submissions for nominations for the upcoming edition. Additionally, the launch event hinted at the revelation of the iKon Awards Young Fellowship Program finalists that would be announced soon.James Tusiime, the Country Director of Reach Ahand, opened the ceremony with a speech. He expressed gratitude to the partners and the Sauti Plus team for organizing the wonderful event and emphasized that all creative initiatives stemming from Reach Ahand’s subsidiary - Sauti Plus, such as movies like "When You Become Me," "Kyaddala," "Sabotage," and more, as well as prestigious awards like the iKon Awards, align with Reach Ahand's mission to empower youth through creativity.The founder of iKon Awards, Mr. Humphrey Nabimanya, took the stage and extended his appreciation to the sponsors who made the event possible. He emphasized the importance of collaboration within the industry to elevate it to new heights. Mr. Nabimanya shared the exciting news that iKon would be exploring opportunities for winners and participants outside or even within the country. An example would be an internship at global entertainment giants like Netflix or Disney. These opportunities would not only expose Ugandan talent to the world but also bring valuable experience and skills back to Uganda. On the same note, he expressed appreciation for the Uganda producers who have taken up young talents from the Fellowship programs to help them learn more about film by interning at their productions like Matthew Nabwiso with Sanyu, Nathan Magoola with Beloved, Doreen Mirembe with DamaLie and more. With these opportunities to these young creators, it builds a good young pool of good filmmakers which makes the future of the industry great. A panel discussion followed, featuring key partners of the iKon Awards, including ATS Events, Century Cinemax, Muchachos, Print Creations, and industry players like producer and exhibitor Ashiraf Mulima, as well as iKon Young Filmmaker Fellowship Program 2023 winner, Doreen Mirembe. The discussion revolved around the vital contributions of various companies and organizations to the growth of the film industry and their reasons for supporting the iKon Awards.From left to right. Solomon from Print Creations, Animator, Producer, and Exhibitor Ashiraf Mulima and IKon Awards Young Filmmakers Fellowship Program 2023 Winner Doreen Mirembe at the panel during the recently concluded Ikon Awards 2024 edition launch. Photo by Sauti PlusAkram Juuko from Century Cinemax highlighted the need to bridge the gap between Ugandan content producers and cinemas. He acknowledged the partnership with Sauti Plus to screen Ugandan movies in Century Cinemax every Thursday which was in the pipeline and to be announced soon as a significant step in this direction. Century Cinemax expressed its commitment to supporting the film industry further through the iKon Awards and additional initiatives.Vivien, a Client Service Executive at ATS Events, discussed the collaborative synergy between ATS Events and iKon Awards, emphasizing how it empowers them to realize their creative potential. ATS Events recognizes the critical role of well-executed movie events in elevating the entire creative sector and gaining respect both nationally and internationally.Solomon from Print Creations, another sponsor of the iKon Awards, raised an important point about branding within the film industry. He emphasized the importance of consistent and captivating branding, from posters to trailers, to create a lasting impact.As the discussion continued, the topic of establishing an academy for the iKon Awards arose. Usama Mukwaya, the producer of the awards, acknowledged the idea and hinted that it might become a reality in the near future but expressed the awards' commitment to breaking creative boundaries and exploring even more innovative ideas, setting them apart from other awards ceremonies.The key takeaway from the event was the importance of collaboration and support for Ugandan content, a sentiment emphasized by Legendary Actor Mr. Sam Bagenda, Mr. Charles, the Head of Office at UNESCO, and Joe Kigozi, Chairman of Reach Hand's Board. They stressed the significance of promoting Ugandan films and talent to a broader audience.The event culminated in a passionate plea from director Ricard Mulindwa, urging Joe Kigozi to explore opportunities for Ugandan movies to be broadcast on one of Next Media's stations. Humphrey Nabimanya echoed this plea, requesting dedicated airtime, particularly between 3 to 5 PM on NBS, to showcase Ugandan content.Mr. Joe Kigozi - Deputy Group CEO / Chief Strategy Officer at Next Media Services and the Chairman Board at Reach Hand Uganda at just concluded iKon Awards 2024 Edition Launch. Courtesy Photo by SautiPlusThe evening ended on a high note with the awarding of certificates and hampers to the previous year's winners, courtesy of Sumz, one of the event's sponsors. Among the recipients was eight-year-old actor Turinayo Josam, who captivated the audience with his presence, accompanied by the director of the film he starred in, "Meat," from Kisoro.The night concluded with an electrifying performance by the talented artist Geosteady, leaving attendees inspired and eager for the upcoming 2024 iKon Awards ceremony. As the creative industry in Uganda continues to thrive, events like the iKon Awards play a pivotal role in recognizing and nurturing the wealth of talent within the nation, and this year's launch was a resounding success, promising an even brighter future for Ugandan creativity.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
University Fresher Life Made into a Movie by UCU Students

The journey through the hallowed halls of a university is a rite of passage that many of us embark on with a mix of excitement and trepidation. For Ugandan students at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) in Mukono, this journey is often filled with challenges, but it's also a transformative experience that shapes their lives in profound ways. Now, a group of talented UCU students has decided to immortalize the ups and downs of this pivotal time in a feature film titled My First Year.My First Year is the brainchild of Brian Kabogozza, a Journalism and Communication student at UCU. Brian, whose passion for filmmaking knows no bounds, has already made a name for himself with three remarkable short films: "My Degree," "My Background," and "Lunch Time." These films have not only garnered local recognition but have also earned him international nominations for the best student films. The heart of My First Year lies in its portrayal of four diverse students who hail from different backgrounds. These students are thrust into the whirlwind of university life, each facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities. As they navigate the unfamiliar terrain of their first year, viewers are given a glimpse into the rollercoaster of emotions and experiences that define this pivotal period.Brian Kabogozza, who serves as the director of the film, has not only helmed the project but has also been intricately involved in every aspect, from scriptwriting to casting. This hands-on approach ensures that every scene resonates with authenticity and captures the essence of the university experience. He worked closely with his fellow students like Richard Ssekitoleko who did the movie's cinematography and acted as Boniface in the movie but also happens to be the executive producer. Brian has created a collaborative atmosphere that allows their talents to shine through on screen.The script for "My First Year" is penned by Emmanuel Ilungole and Chloe Nsima, a law student at UCU. Together, they bring to life the stories of the four protagonists, weaving a narrative that is both heartfelt and relatable. The film is not just a standalone project but is also a sequel to "My Background," a film that chronicles the life of Joan, one of the characters in "My Year," from her early years to her university journey."My First Year" is more than just a cinematic creation; it's a reflection of the diverse experiences that students undergo during their first year at UCU. It mirrors the challenges and triumphs, the friendships forged, and the personal growth that occurs during this transformative period. Through this film, Brian Kabogozza and his team aim to shed light on the different realities faced by students at the university, recognizing that no two journeys are the same.As "My First Year" prepares to make its debut on the 29th of this Month of September, it promises to be a powerful and moving tribute to the resilience and determination of Ugandan students as they embark on their university journey. It's a testament to the creativity and passion of UCU students who have come together to share their stories with the world.The film will premiere on the 29th of September at Nkoyoyo Hall at UCU University. Watch the film trailer here https://youtu.be/OdyaHR51LF8?si=4AxESSipIocu5WZT

Read More
How to deliver a clean chain of titles and attain copyright a film masterclass by Shoebill Advocates.

On the 28th of July 2023, Shoebill Advocates hosted a Film Business Masterclass.The session was aimed at enhancing the knowledge of filmmakers, actors content creators, film producers, and directors on how to deliver a clean chain of titles and attain copyright, clearance for their content, film, documentary, and television production.During the session, Entertainment Lawyer, Mr. Louis Lwanga, shared extensively on why every film set needs a production lawyer and the significance of engaging a Production Legal Counsel at the early stages of a production.In his expert presentation, he emphasized that a legal counsel/Production Lawyer plays a crucial role in the film production chain, The lawyer provides legal guidance to the different legal aspects of film production, distribution, and related activities in order to minimize legal risks. The second presentation was by Mr. Tumusime Derek a film law, Legal Practitioner, and Partnet of Shoebill Advocates. He shared about the importance of copyright,  chain of title clearance, and at what stage you should be done.The Managing Partner of Shoebill Advocates, Mr. Steven  Nelson assured all the participants that they are open and are ready to work and partner with filmmakers and other creatives to extend services to them in the creative industry.​​​​​​​By Jesca Ahimbisibwe

Read More
10 ladies graduate from ENakaziba Creatives as Special Effect Make up Artists and ready for film industry.

After launching the E-Nakaziba Film and Makeup Exhibition in March, Esther Nakaziba embarked on a journey to train more makeup artists. This grew out of her love for makeup.She launched a 2-month training program where she provided hands-on training in beauty makeup, Special Effects makeup, and Costume Design. The class had 10 ladies.She has been seen by many film and music producers and directors moving with the ladies she calls them "Her girls" She explained that she needed them to have first-hand training and field experience and after the training, they can be employed immediately.They have worked on a number of projects including Jubilee life insurance advert,  Hair and beauty expo, DStv Feature film, Ceasefire stage play, Film and culture market and so much more.The 10 students include Nabulya Bridget, Geria Jessy Miriam, Birungi Hanifa, Kyaterekera Rehma, Sanyu Ritah, Naginda Miriam, Pretty Ashley Kaweesi, Nalugo Shamsah, Nabasumba Moreen, Kaweesi Rima.Esther is dedicated to honoring her craft as she transforms the lives of so many youths by training them in special make effects through her brand ENakaziba Creatives.Esther has worked on a number of films as a special makeup artist including 27 Guns (2018), Kafa Coh (2022) Victim 30, Prestige TV Series, The Honorables and so much more.Art is a beautiful form of self-expression, and I have no doubt that this class will provide you with valuable insights, techniques, and inspiration to further enhance your creative talents - Esther said. Remember, every stroke of the brush, every sketch, and every piece of art you create is a unique reflection of your inner world, and I can't wait to see how the skills of these ladies evolve through this experience.To every art director out there don't hesitate to hire "My girls" I have worked with them and they have received hands-on training and I can assure you that your project will be in good hands. - Esther Expressed.To all my students remember that you have a community of supporters cheering you on every step of the way.By Jesca Ahimbisibwe.

Read More
OPINION: More people should know about Ngalabi Short Film Festival

Today, on the 1st of September 2023, I had the pleasure of attending the Ngalabi Short Film Festival, taking place at Design Hub on the 5th Industrial Area. For those who might not be aware, this festival kicked off today and will continue until Sunday, the 3rd of September. The screenings start at 5 PM EAT and conclude at 10 PM. It's safe to say that it's a fantastic way to usher in the month of September.Now, let's delve into my experience today. The Ngalabi Short Film Festival has been a physical event every year since 2017 (with exceptions in 2020 when it didn't happen and 2021 when it went online). It screens short films from mostly Uganda, Africa, and Europe. I personally attended the 2022 edition held at the University of East Africa. However, upon attending today's event, I realized that there's something about this festival that isn't receiving the recognition it deserves – the remarkable quality of film selection.People watching movies at Design Hub 5th Street Industrial Area during the 2023 Ngalabi Short Film Festival. Courtesy Photo. As I watched, I had the privilege of sitting next to a fellow filmmaker who specializes in animation. While enjoying some delicious eats and drinks, we both agreed on one thing: the films showcased in this festival have consistently maintained a high level of quality right from the beginning. I fondly recalled the first film I watched at the festival, "Heaven Sounds Boring" by Patience Nitumwesiga. It tells the compelling story of a father (portrayed by Daniel Omala) and his 7-year-old daughter (played by Acheng Nadia), who cling desperately to each other and their faith when faced with the possibility of never seeing each other again. From the storytelling to the acting and production, it was a truly unique and exceptionally well-crafted piece.Of course, we couldn't help but speculate about what sets Ngalabi Shorts apart from the movies we often see in other Ugandan festivals. One theory we discussed was that Ngalabi might have a smaller pool of high-quality content to choose from, making it easier and quicker to select the best of the best. This, is in contrast to other festivals like UFF, which sometimes have to sift through a lot of subpar submissions, leading to less impressive selections.However, this theory was challenged by the fact that a film we watched today, "Ttula" by Mwesigwa Benjamin, was submitted to nearly all festivals and awards this year. While it received nominations, it did not secure a screening or victory compared to what took home the awards in those competitions. So, it's not just about the quality of submissions; the curation process plays a pivotal role in determining which films grace the screens of these festivals. Perhaps other festivals should place more emphasis on selecting the very best films available.Another assumption, and one that seems highly plausible, is that short films require fewer resources to create artistically and creatively outstanding works. More creative time and resources can be dedicated to these films, resulting in exceptional end products.To be clear, I'm primarily discussing Ugandan films here, but today's event also featured movies from Germany and Kenya.Now, let's dive into the films I had the pleasure of viewing today. I'll start with my favorite of the night, which was the last one I watched (though I might be slightly biased due to recency): "I Eat What I Like" by Shari Mwanika. This film delves into themes of sex, family drama, hypocrisy, and religion. When you look at these four themes, you realize that they mirror the everyday life of an African. The film beautifully tells the story of 19-year-old Sasha played by Tracy Kababiito and her mother played by Oyenbot, who, in hindsight, lead equally complicated lives. However, the latter wears the mask of a devout Christian while dating a much younger man and having a sex therapist. The resulting drama, coupled with the hypocrisy of their fellow "Jehovah's Witnesses," is simply captivating. The movie relates to the average person with wit and charm, leaving you yearning for more.Shari Mwanika arriving at Design Hub 5th Street Industrial during the 2023 Ngalabi Short Film Festival. Courtesy PhotoMy second favorite was "Ttula," an animated short by Benjamin Mwesigwa Enoch, which explores the mental struggles of a child in the town of Ttula. I admired this film because Benjamin managed to convey a powerful story without the need for dialogue, yet the narrative remained relatable. The film employs 2-D animation, a style that might not appeal to everyone, but as an animation enthusiast, I appreciated how Benjamin skillfully used characters and emotions to convey the story.Another noteworthy Ugandan film screened today was "Down Side Up" by Afrie. For those familiar with Afrie's creative style, it's even more evident in this film. It's refreshing to witness new forms of storytelling that deviate from the traditional model, and "Down Side Up" offers just that."Keycard" by Angella Emurwon is another intriguing and performative film that deserves your attention. The ability to tell a story without dialogue is a rarity in Ugandan feature films, but Angella managed to narrate a compelling murder mystery featuring prominent actors like Oyenbot, Laura Kahunde, Morris Mugisha, Amon Nuwamanya, and more."Spider" by Peter Niwagaba, an 18-minute action short featuring Ugandan Kickboxer Patricia Apolot, Raymond Rushabiro, and other talented actors, would have benefited from fewer dialogues, especially when showcasing action sequences and involving new actors. Nevertheless, it remains an entertaining film, particularly for a director new to the game.Apart from Ugandan films, the festival also showcased movies from Kenya and Germany. "The Whole Nine Yards" by Victor Obok from Kenya examines the complexities of teenage relationships with all the accompanying drama. The film was beautifully acted with a touch of wit and humor, along with excellent production quality.Lastly, the German film "Glitschig" tells the story of Lene, who tragically loses her life due to a glitch in the fatal authorities’ process. The process to rectify the issue with the head of the authority becomes futile until she takes it into her own hands.If you're intrigued by this overview of these remarkable shorts, make sure not to miss tomorrow's screenings at the same venue and time. Here's a list of the films to be showcased, in case you want to check them out online before attending: "Unspoken" from Kenya, "Konig" and "Der Kindergarten" from Germany, "Mica," "Huh," and "A Void Life" from Uganda, "Muzunga" from Rwanda, "Hello Forties" from Tunisia, and "De Yei" from Belgium.The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly on the 3rd of September, a Sunday. The final day promises a unique movie experience titled "Shorts, Shorts, and Shots." Can you guess what that entails? Think trendy shorts attire and tequila shots—an event you absolutely shouldn't miss. It will be in collaboration with Docu-Box East Africa.I firmly believe that more people should become acquainted with Ngalabi Shorts, and I encourage you to help spread the word about this remarkable festival.By Martin Kabagambe

Read More
Uganda Wins Big at Kaduna International Film Festival

Uganda, and by extension, Ugandan filmmakers, celebrated significant victories at the sixth annual Kaduna Film Festival held in Nigeria yesterday 26th August 2023. A remarkable tally of five awards was secured by the Ugandan contingent, comprising filmmakers and actors. Mulima Ashiraf, a Ugandan producer, animator, and now exhibitor, took home the Best Animation Award for, "No Way Out."Aisha Kyomuhangi's production, "Beneath Beauty," scooped two prestigious awards. The film secured the title of Best International Film, while Namara Jolly's compelling performance earned her the distinction of Best Actress. Leonard Amanya's "Crystal Countless Misfortune," was honored with the Best Educational Film Award, underscoring the film's profound impact. Lastly, Doreen Mirembe was awarded the Best Female Director Award for her directorial role in the creation of "Kafacoh."In the midst of her joyous accomplishment, Namara Jolly, the recipient of the Best Actress award, humbly shared her sentiments: “All I can say is that I am extremely happy since it’s my first time winning something out of my acting. The other one before was a nomination and I didn’t win but winning now keeps me pushing. You might not be valued by your people but strangers will always surprise you”​​​​​​​Eng. Irene Kaggwa Ssewankambo, the director of UCC through her Twitter handle congratulated the winner and said the success of Ugandan is a demonstration of the great milestones that have been achieved by our creative industry. Uganda won 5 awards at 6th Kaduna Film Festival in Nigeria: No Way Out as Best animation by Mulima Ashiraf, Kafa Coh by Doreen Mirembe for Best Female Director, Beneath Beauty by Aisha Kyomuhangi for Best International Film & Best Actress (Namara Jolly) & Crystal Countless Misfortune— Eng. Irene Kaggwa (@UCC_ED) August 27, 2023​​​​​​​Doreen Mirembe, a familiar face in the realm of awards, alongside Ashiraf Mulima attended the Award ceremony in Nigeria, supported by the Uganda Film Festival. Today is a big day for me here in Nigeria at the @kadunafilmfestival Uganda has just won 5 film awards in different categories including my @Kafacoh for Best director congratulations to the winners pic.twitter.com/BBvKVuD1pC— Mirembe Doreen???????? (@doreen_mirembe1) August 26, 2023By Martin Kabagambe.

Read More
Uganda Cinema Night Returns Next Month with The Wave

By Martin Kabagambe​​​​​​​After a hiatus of approximately two months, the Uganda Cinema Night is set to make a return at the National Theatre with The Wave by Kevin Johns Nabukenya. Scheduled for screenings on September 6th and 13th, this event promises to captivate audiences once again.The movie that was last shown on National Theatre under the same initiative is Dance Fest Ug by Mugabe Lawrence. The film portrayed an inspirational narrative centered around a child-headed family battling life's fundamental challenges while nurturing an unyielding passion for dance."The Wave" follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, weaving a compelling tale of resilience and determination. The story revolves around Juliet and her husband, who navigate the daunting realities of the Covid-19 pandemic. When her husband is placed under quarantine after testing positive, Juliet is thrust into a position of survival for herself and her four children. The film's cast includes Nanfuna Sharon as Juliet, Kalule Brian as Junior, Marjowin Hills Basemera as Kellen, Kitimbo Jonathan Junior as Jerry, and Kaddu Sadat, among others.Kevin Johns Nabukenya, both the writer and director of the film, draws inspiration from true events that unfolded in the slums of Namuwongo during the pandemic. Notably, the film provides a platform for a special group of individuals—Persons with albinism—by featuring four of them in prominent roles. Screengrab from the movie of the character Kellen played by Marjowin Hills Basemera helping her sibling."The Wave" has already earned accolades, securing the Viewers' Choice Award at the Uganda Film Festival Awards in 2022, as well as recognition for Best Costume Designer, attributed to Joanah Jojo Nabakiibi, at the New Vision Film Awards of the same year.While Uganda Cinema Night has faced challenges in attracting viewers in recent years, including limited marketing efforts, subpar film quality, and a fledgling cinema culture within the Ugandan population, the industry is showing signs of revival. The emergence of new initiatives akin to Uganda Cinema Night, supported by a growing number of exhibitors seeking diverse content, holds promise for cultivating a regular audience for Ugandan films. This resurgence is a shared triumph benefiting not only the emerging initiatives but also established ones like Uganda Cinema Night.For now, the invitation is extended to all: seize the opportunity to join the rest of the movie lovers at the National Theatre every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Book your ticket to The Wave here

Read More
Ugandan Feature Drama Crystal Takes Flight on My Movies Africa and Emirate Airlines.

Exciting news for movie enthusiasts and fans of Ugandan cinema. Crystal, a captivating and emotionally charged drama directed by Leonard Amanya, is set to grace the screens of "My Movies Africa" streaming platform, bringing the rich and diverse storytelling of Ugandan cinema to a global audience. But that's not all! The movie has also secured an extraordinary deal with Fly Emirates, one of the world's leading airlines, to feature on their flights, allowing passengers to experience the magic of Crystal while soaring through the skies.The movie's plot revolves around the life-altering journey of Crystal (Cloe Kabuye), a young city girl who faces a heartbreaking loss with the passing of her parents. As fate would have it, she is sent to live with her grandmother (Susan Katooka) in the serene village setting. Initially apprehensive about the abrupt change, Crystal soon discovers that amidst the unfamiliarity lies the true essence of belonging, as she comes to realize that home is truly where the heart resides.The story beautifully captures Crystal's emotional rollercoaster as she navigates her way through her new life, encountering various challenges along the way. Crystal delves into the themes of love, resilience, and self-discovery, portraying the universal journey of a young individual trying to find their place in the world.The movie is brought to life by an exceptional cast, including Cloe Kabuye, whose portrayal of Crystal is both heartwarming and compelling. Susan Katooka's portrayal of the wise and loving grandmother adds a touch of authenticity to the film, creating a genuine emotional connection with the audience. The supporting cast, featuring talented actors such as Imran Kajjubi, Wilson Egessa, Ivan Rad, Alpha Okimatt Back, Aisha Kyomuhangi, Musoke Micheal, and Sseguja Mansoor, delivers remarkable performances, contributing to the movie's overall success.Behind the scenes, director Leonard Amanya skillfully weaves the narrative, capturing the essence of Uganda's cultural beauty and the heart of its people. Amanya's direction is complemented by a skilled crew, including Bright Ntaky, Kizito Samuel Saviour, and Nsubuga Arthur, who worked tirelessly to bring this moving story to life.Crystal premiered first in Cinemas on the 28th of April at Century Cinemax Acacia Mall and had a screening on the next day in the same Cinema.With My Movies Africa streaming platform picking up Crystal, audiences worldwide can now immerse themselves in the beauty of Ugandan cinema and appreciate the exceptional talent of its filmmakers and actors. Additionally, the partnership with Fly Emirate means that travelers aboard Emirate planes can experience the heartfelt tale of Crystal during their journeys, making in-flight entertainment even more captivating and culturally enriching.So, mark your calendars and be ready to witness the heartfelt journey of Crystal as she confronts life's challenges and strives to be the best version of herself.​​​​​​​Don't miss the opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary cinematic experience. Head to My Movies Africa and get ready to board a Fly Emirate flight for a heartwarming adventure with Crystal.Written by Martin Kabagambe.

Read More
Another Ugandan Film on Netflix.

Katera of the Punishment Island - by Loukman Ali will premiere on Netflix this month on the 29th. The film tells a story of a woman abandoned on an island, grieving the loss of her baby exacting revenge on the powerful man who put her there. The movie is a thriller with a mixture of Runyankole and English languages and features prominent Ugandan talents like Tracy Kababiito, Michael Wawuyo JR, River Dan Rugaju, and more. Directed and produced by Loukman Ali under Loukout Films.Being guided by international sales and production veteran Pape Boye Loukman was able to produce a thrilling folk tale locally with the Ugandan cast and production team from Loukout Films and other independent film crews. Pape Boye who is the founder of Black Mic Mac, has decided to put his focus on African stories and African talent to be able to package them well for global audiences and partnerships. You could say he isn’t doing badly so far. The team at big world cinema, CapetownThe film was fully funded by Netflix in partnership with UNESCO in a move to strengthen the pipeline of African storytelling and to include voices from underrepresented communities.“… At the crossroads of tradition, innovation, heritage, and creativity, African expressions in the twenty-first century are as diverse and dynamic as its people. The UNESCO-Netflix partnership represents our shared commitment to the audiovisual industries of Africa, which have the potential to generate US$20 billion in revenues annually. African creativity is a force for sustainable development, and we cannot wait for audiences around the world to feel its unstoppable energy,” says Ernesto Ottone R., the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture.This will be the second film for Loukman on Netflix but his first short film on the streaming platform. His first film on the site which was also the first Ugandan film on the platform was The Girl in The Yellow Jumper which premiered on Netflix on 26th December 2021. This will also be his first original for the streaming giant and the first original Netflix movie from Uganda. We hope this opens up more opportunities for Ugandan creatives to global even on other international streaming sites. Watch the Film’s teaser herehttps://youtu.be/AXO5XZi_KvI

Read More
News
View All