Mugisha’s ‘Jinxed’ wins best short film award at Amakula

POLLY KAMUKAMA

Ugandan filmmaker Gary Mugisha’s debut film Jinxed yesterday took home the award for Best East African Short film as the tenth Amakula International Film Festival wrapped up at the Uganda Museum in Kampala.

The 15-minute picture set in Kampala’s nightlife beat stiff competition from six other short films to bag the coveted Golden Impala gong.

Gary Mugisha with his Golden Impala award

Gary Mugisha with his Golden Impala award

The brief thriller, starring breakout actress Nisha Kalema as party girl Prossy who experiences a series of scary events while on a night-out, was lauded for its fine cinematography, direction and performance.

“That is a sure sign of a director in control of his medium, and the promise and potential on show in the film leaves us in no doubt that Gary Mugisha will be a director to watch out for in the future,” read in part the jury’s note.

Mugisha in his acceptance speech said he felt honored for his first film to win an award at Uganda’s oldest and most revered film festival.

Tanzanian filmmaker Hamadi Mwapachu (L) receiving his Best Feature award from jury member Moses Serugo

Tanzanian filmmaker Hamadi Mwapachu (L) receiving his Best Feature award from jury member Moses Serugo

The 26-year-old Kampala University film student developed the winning film’s script as a thesis for his diploma course under the masterful guidance of his tutor, British screenwriter Ian Masters, who coincidentally was part of the jury at this year’s Amakula.

Ugandan arts journalist Moses Serugo and Dutch performer Henk Jonker were the other members of the three-man jury.

The Golden Impala award for Best East African Feature Film went to Dar Noir, a gritty black-and-white crime-drama from Tanzania, while Senegal’s 100% Dakar won the accolade for Best Documentary.

This year’s Amakula, returning for its tenth annual edition after a three-year hiatus, boasted an eclectic programming including screenings, workshops and masterclasses.

The March 16-20 cinema showcase had its major focus on promoting local film distribution and building a young cinema audience. The festival also offered a drive-in cinema experience to its audience.

Speaking at a press brief ahead of the finale yesterday, the festival’s new director, Faisal Kiwewa said next year’s edition will run a competitive film fund aimed at benefiting outstanding Ugandan filmmakers.

Kiwewa’s Bayimba Cultural Foundation, in partnership with a number of locally-based arts institutions, took over Amakula’s management after the festival’s Dutch-American founders pulled out in 2012.

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The Amakula International Film Festival is presented by
Bayimba Cultural Foundation in partnership with The DOEN Foundation, Africalia, Kampala Film School and the Uganda Museum.