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How Can The Ugandan Film Industry Attract Potential Investors In A Seemingly Virgin Market?

How Can The Ugandan Film Industry Attract Potential Investors In A Seemingly Virgin Market?

Author : Ahimbisibwe Jesca

About a year ago

With the enthusiasm and passion to make the Film industry better, Cinema Ug started up an initiative and termed it e-film sessions on Facebook with the Hashtag #LiveFilmTalk. It patterned with Kyoto Media and the Filmmaker Kizito Samuel Saviour.  The weekly sessions cover everything related to Ugandan film from how to improve it, what's best for Actors, to advise actors where possible, to get feedback back from the audience, what measures can be put up to make it thrive, and many more.

We requested people especially the fans of the Uganda Film Industry to send us questions on what they wanted us to tackle. 

Question 1: The movie industry in Uganda seems to attract no investors yet it's considered to be a virgin market. What are those strategies laid down by movie makers to overcome this? 

Question 2: The industry has poorly cooked productions in the market that portray a very bad image for it. Isn’t it ideal that we put up content the regulatory commission that governs what comes on the market?

The moviemaker-investor relationship should be a quid pro quo kind of relationship (something for something). If the investor wants to push an agenda through the movie he will definitely to money in it but the questions they always ask is it worth? Will the movie reach the audience I want it to? 

Since in Uganda movies are not done with some agendas but rather for the love of Filmmakers themselves (they make what they love to see themselves not what the market wants).

He gave an example of the influx of movies with LGBTQ characters in Hollywood as the art of selling the agenda to the entire world and people in support of that put a lot of money in those movies. 

He added that Hollywood has been for a long time making movies about America winning wars in other countries from the Middle East, Asia, and others but the real agenda behind that was to put it in the world's mind that they are a superpower and one way of marketing their country. But in Uganda, it's mostly love, again love and then witchcraft in most cases suits the interests of the filmmakers but not the Investors.

Secondly, most filmmakers don't understand the audience they are making films for and it will be extra hard to convince the Investor for funding because he doesn't have the guarantee of the audience. As earlier said movies are made to push a certain agenda, either way, they are made for advertising purposes. 

What a filmmaker has to do is to convince the Investor with the assurance of the audience. This can't be done by just talking, who are they? how will you get to them? and many other questions will be asked and it's upon how the filmmaker answers them that the investor is convinced. 

 "In Uganda, a filmmaker will make his movie regardless of the budget, makes his 10000 copies of DVDs sell them for a certain amount of money and he is done and comfortable, goes back does the same thing all through," said Samuel. The other marketing and distribution models like Streaming services, Cinemas, Theatres, Festivals, Social Media, and others remain unexploited.

The industry doesn't have clear statistics which makes it hard for a filmmaker to convince the Investor. Every Investor would like to have clear estimated numbers you are going to give him as an audience in which the industry doesn't have. Which makes it like a blind walking without a director moving into something he doesn't know. 

There is also a poorly cooked production in the film industry that paints a bad image for the industry which scares away potential investors. 

This is because there is no clear and strong regulatory body to regulate what can be put to market in terms of Quality, those present are filmmakers themselves and some are the ones producing the mediocre quality movies and others are friends to those making poor quality work which makes it hard to stop themselves and their friends.

This puts us to the last and primary reason; Lack of clear governing and management body to regulate and manage the Industry. To make decisions that would make the industry a success. In the industry, there a couple of many bodies that do what they feel like doing, and the would-be regulating body hasn't done enough go streamline this kind of business.

An independent body should be put up to do the business in the film industry, not any filmmaker. Because filmmakers haven't mastered the art of business and yet film should be business.

Compiled by Kizito Samuel Saviour

Written by Martin Kabagambe for Cinema Ug

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