AMAKULA 2016 – Press release 001

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1st March 2016

Kampala’s premier film festival, AMAKULA returns!


Venue: The Uganda Museum will host the 10th edition of the Amakula International Film Festival starting on the 16th – 20th March 2016; for five days, Amakula will have a daily drive in cinema experience, screening of both in-competition and out of competition students and independent films, documentaries, short stories, animations, workshops for children and discussions with filmmakers and actors from Uganda, Africa and the rest of the World.

History: Amakula International Film Festival is Uganda’s oldest independent film festival that aims to contribute to a vibrant local film industry, by broadening access to and developing audiences for quality African film production; inspiring local film makers to produce quality local films based on own stories; facilitating, presenting and promoting local film productions and distribution; and offering a professional networking platform for the film making community in East Africa and beyond.

Awards: Three Golden Impala Awards will be handed out to honour the Best International Feature Film, Best East Africa Short Film and the Best International Documentary Film. The Golden Impala Award aims to uplift and inspire film standards for local, regional and international filmmakers.

The Jury: The 2016 Amakula International Film Festival Jury members are appointed by the festival committee. The tenth edition will have 3 jury member – Moses Serugo (UG), Ian Masters (UK/UG) and another yet to be confirmed. The Jury will review all the films – features, shorts and documentaries – that are in-competition and declare winners – presenting an expert commentary and a written decision signed by all the Jury members.

The festival committee: The tenth Amakula International Film Festival is curated by Faisal KIWEWA (Bayimba), Arlen Dilsizian (KFS), Caroline Christgau (Geothe Zentrum) with content advice from Fibby Kiora (Maisha Film Lab)

Feature Films screening #Amakula2016

BALA BALA SESE – (In competition for the Golden Impala Award)

Director: Lukyamuzi Bashir // Run time: 102 mins // Language: English // Subtitles: English // Country: Uganda

A boyfriend’s battle for love through perseverance; in the outskirts of Ssesse Island, John (Michael Kasaija) is madly in love with Maggie (Natasha Sinayobye) and both are willing to take their love forward. Facing abuses and harassment by malicious Maggie’s father Kasirivu (Raymond Rushabiro), John, helped by his young brother Alex (Ssesanga Ismael) is determined to take in all but to retain the love of his life especially when he finds out that he has a contender village tycoon (Jabal Dungu) who is also lining up for Maggie.

TIMBUKTU – (Out of competition)

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako // Duration: 96 minutes // Language: French // Subtitles: English //Country:  Mali

The city of Timbuktu is under the occupation of Islamists bearing a jihadist black flag. Kidane is a cattle herder who lives outside of the city. One day, one of his cows accidentally damages the net of a fisherman. The enraged fisherman kills the cow. Kidane confronts the fisherman and accidentally shoots him dead. The Islamists arrest Kidane and, per sharia law, demand a blood money payment of 40 cattle to the fisherman’s family. As Kidane has only seven cattle, he is sentenced to death. His wife shows up at his execution with a pistol, and as they run to each other the husband attempts to stop her. Mistaking this for an escape attempt, the executioners gun them both down.

Throughout the film there are subsidiary scenes showing the reaction of the population to Islamists’ rule, which they view as absurd. A female fishmonger must wear gloves even when selling fish. Music is banned; a woman is sentenced to 40 lashes for singing, and 40 lashes for being in the same room as a man not of her family. A couple are buried up to their necks in sand and stoned to death for adultery. Young men play football with an imaginary ball as sports are banned. A local imam tries to curb the Islamists’ excesses with sermons.

The failure of the occupiers to live up to their own rules is hinted at, for instance when one of them is seen smoking a cigarette. Another group of jihadists from France spend their days talking about their favorite football teams.

Characters speak in Tamasheq, Bambara, Arabic, French, and on a few occasions English. The mobile phone is an important means of communication.

DAR NOIR – (In competition for the Golden Impala Award)

Director: Hamadi Mwapachu // Duration: 104 mins // Language: Swahili // Subtitles: English // Country:  Tanzania

DAVID NYASARO is a messed up, bottom feeding, mental and physical mess. Failing at his job, sleeping in his car, living on booze and a needle in his arm… he couldn’t really get much lower. But he does. He decides to take home the drugs from a major bust instead of reporting it in order to sell the shit himself. And while it seems like he has the plan all figured out, everything slowly falls away from him in epic fashion. Local drug dealer and pimp MUSTAPHA starts looking for his stolen dope, a container truck full of smuggled girls who wound up dead, and the missing driver who could connect them all, David included.

L’ULTIMO BIANCIO – (Out of competition)

Director: Gabriele Muccino // Duration: 115 mins // Language: Italian // Subtitles:  English // Country:  Italy

Giulia (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and Carlo (Stefano Accorsi) have been happy together for three years, but Giulia’s announcement that she is pregnant sends him into a secret panic. Terrified at his imminent entry into the adult world of irreversible responsibilities, Carlo finds himself tempted by a bewitching 18-year-old girl, Francesca (Martina Stella), whom he meets by chance at a wedding. The possibility of one last youthful crazy fling before the impending prison of parenthood proves to be too attractive to resist.

But a short-term fling with Francesca comes with serious consequences that threaten to damage his three-year relationship with Giulia, who is expecting a baby girl. At the same time, it also dashes the idealistic hopes of Francesca, who dreams of a beautiful future with him. After a raucous quarrel in the night, Carlo goes to Francesca’s house, where they have sex. However, the morning after, reality sinks on Carlo and the enormity of what he had done surfaces. But it is not easy for Giulia to forgive, or to trust him again.

B’ELLA – (In competition for the Golden Impala Award)

Director: Tawonga Taddja Nkhonjera // Run time: 88 mins // Language: Chichewa and English // Subtitles: English // Country: Malawi

B’ella is a 17 year old girl who lives and attends school in a rural village in Malawi. Along with her friends she experiences the ups and downs of adolescent life – bullying, friendship, school, romantic advances and love, but also fear of HIV and the disease’s stigmatizing effect

FELISTA FABLES – (Out of competition)

Director: Dilman Dila // Run time: 90 mins // Language: English, Luganda  // Subtitles: English // Country: Uganda

Felistas is cursed. She stinks. No one can stand to stay near her. She lives in seclusion in an abandoned house. One day, a witch doctor finds a solution to her problems. A cry-baby man can inherit the smell from her

NADYA – (In competition for the Golden Impala Award)

Director: Shams Bhanji // Run time: 90 mins // Language: Swahili // Subtitles: English // Country: Tanzania

Starring local, non-professional acting talent, led by Maria Dominic in the title role, Nadya tells the story of a young Zanzibari woman avidly pursuing her studies in order to secure her future. Her parents are not well off and her tuition fees are in arrears

Short Films screening #Amakula2016

JINXED – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director: Gary Mugisha // Run time: 14mins 51secs // Language: English // Subtitles: English // Country: Uganda

Jinxed is a thriller about an uptown girl whose night out turns into an awry one in the effort to get her sister medication.

INTELLECTUAL SCAM – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director: NJUE KEVIN // Run time: 15 mins // Language: English // Subtitles: English // Country: Kenya

On board a commercial airplane, (Ruwe) an African intellect, sits next to a white man (Walter). In their conversation, which is utterly brutal, honest and to some racist, Walter blames the ‘Intellectuals’ as to why Africa is in such a deplorable state

BIG WILLOW – (Out of competition)

Director: Jared Katsiane // Run time: 10 mins 29 secs // Language: English // Subtitles: English // Country: United States

My big brother has been friends with Willow for a long time. But today he got real scared that she wouldn’t be around much longer.

KAI – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director: Robert Nyanzi // Run time: 17mins 33secs // Language: Luganda // Subtitles: English // Country: Uganda

KAI 14 and his mother KEZIA 40, shift to a new neighbourhood in the shanty town of Ndeeba in Kampala. KAI vends meat and other snacks but is challenged by the scornful inhabitants.

MY PRISON DIARY – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director: Patricia Olwoch // Duration: 9min // Production: 2014 // Language: English // Country: Uganda

My Prison Diary’ is an Essay documentary is a story about the displacement of a people, and more specifically the journey of a young Ugandan woman who has grown up in exile looking for a place to call home. She finds solace through communicating with a Ugandan childhood friend who was her first love and is presently incarcerated in the United States.

RASTASOPHICAL MOOD – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director:  Arnold Aganze // Duration: 13 mins // Language: English // Subtitles: Yes // Country: Uganda

A story of a former child soldier Arnold Aganze from Congo who finds himself in Uganda. Arnold tries to integrate into the Ugandan community but discovers that he cannot. He is trying to come to terms with his past, a dark story from the time when the civil war in Congo had spilled over into his village in South Kivu. Now he only feels safe with people who, like him, have lived through a violent past. Eventually Arnold meets with a man from Kampala’s Rasta community, a community that has lived through exclusion and isolation. Finally Arnold feels he has met his family.

AGASANDUKA – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director: Olaf Hamelink // Run time: 8mins 52 secs // Language: Kinyarwanda // Subtitles: English // Country: Rwanda

21 years after the Rwandan Genocide, a lady finds a mysterious box that makes her realize, more then ever before, she would trade everything to get her loved ones back

SILENT DEPRESSION – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director: George Stanley Nsamba // Run time: 11mins 26secs // Language: English // Subtitles: English // Country: Uganda

A 20-year-old guy that feels like he is hit by a midlife crisis and decides to embark on a journey of self-discovery in a crowded city

CHEBET – (In competition for the Short Film Impala Award)

Director: Mwagale Waheedah Green // Run time: 10mins 36secs // Language: N/A // Subtitles: N/A // Country: Uganda

Cultural confrontation forces 13 year old Chebet to leave her family home and seek a new beginning.

KINDOKI – (Out of competition)

Director: Mania Tambwe // Run time: 20 mins // Language: English and Lingala // Subtitles: English // Country: United Kingdom

Kindoki is a short movie film based on a young boy called Placide alongside his little sister Rosie, who were living with their mother in Paris, before being sent to their aunt in London. Struggling to raise them, their mother Mariam thought it would be best for Placide and Rosie to reside with Bibiche and her partner Patrick.

CHINA REMIX – (Out of competition)

Director: Dorian Carli-Jones/Melissa Lefkowitz  // Run time: 29 mins // Language: English and Mandarin // Subtitles: English // Country: US/China

CHINA REMIX, filmed in the city of Guangzhou, explores China’s burgeoning African entertainment industry through the lives of three African hip-hop artists who are trying to find success in the face of challenging labor and immigration laws.

Documentary Films screening #Amakula2016

100% DAKAR – (In competition for the Documentary Impala Award)

Director: Sandra Krampelhuber // Run time: 62 mins // Language: French // Subtitles: English // Country: Austria/ Senegal

“100% DAKAR – more than art” is a portrait about the creative arts scene in Dakar, Senegal. Dakar booms with live and this energy can also be found in the creative, artistic and cultural expressions of the city.

BLACK PRESIDENT – (Out of competition)

Director: Mpumelelo Mcata // Duration: 86 min // Language: English // Subtitles: Yes // Country:  Zimbabwe

Black Presidents follows the story of Zimbabwean artist Kudzunai Chiurai as he develops his newest art exhibit, called ‘State of the Nation.’ In Mpumi’s words: In this film we question the responsibility of African artists in an ever more globalized universe, where we maybe find ourselves “playing catch up” to the West as opposed to following our own paths. Are we victims of our past – forever beholden to our so called arrested development or is our superpower our burden? Will we ever be truly free to express without having to necessarily represent all our people in our every breath or is the need to be that kind of free simply irresponsible?”

WE COME AS FRIENDS – (Out of competition)

Director: Hubert Sauper // Duration: 110 minutes // Language: English //Subtitles: Yes // Country:  Sudan

The film focus on war-ravaged South Sudan fighting for independence from North Sudan and its President Omar al-Bashir.

Animation Films screening #Amakula2016


Workshop: Children Film #Amakula2016

The Children and Youth in media workshop by Africa Children’s Television and Film Foundation

The children and youth in media workshop scheduled for Saturday 19th March at 10.00hrs to 16.00 hrs. The workshop will be facilitated by Pamela Ankunda and Ian Kimanje from Africa children’s Television and Film Foundation. The workshop will be organized to fit these categories:

  • Workshop for children ages 5-11 years
  • Workshop for children ages 12–18 years.
  • Open discussion between parents/guardian/teachers and Children about the media trend in Uganda.

Animation Workshop: 3D Computer Animation workshop by Crossroads Digital Multimedia Ltd

The 3D Computer Animation workshops are scheduled for the 17th-18th March at 14.00hrs- 17.00hrs. The workshop will be facilitated by the Crossroads Technical team. The workshop is targeting Film makers, Animators, Writers, Actors and Actresses, Vocalists, Voice over performers and Visual Artist

Discussion: In conversation with Simone #Amakula2016 – 17th March

Simon Rittmeier (1981) studied visual arts and film at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HfbK) and at Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM). His films have been screened in various international festivals for video and documentary. In 2009 he received the First Prize of the NRW Competition at the Oberhausen Film Festival for A TASTE OF HONEY, that was developed during a residency at the Fondacion Ludwig in Havana, Cuba. His diploma DREXCIYA (2012) was selected for numerous festivals and exhibitions, amongst others at the Studio Museum Harlem New York, Washington, Kampala, and Rotterdam. He lives in Paris.

Discussion: In conversation with Mira Nair #Amakula2016 – 18th March

The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Aida Mbowa

For more information contact Philip Masembe, Media Coordinator at Bayimba Cultural Foundation: or 0792010198.

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.