Uganda’s film industry has a big potential

Cristiano Civitillo, a Uganda based Italian Film Director and jury head for the Golden Impala Awards

Cristiano Civitillo, a Uganda based Italian Film Director and jury head for the Golden Impala Awards.

By Edwin Junior

The Ugandan film industry is slowly, but steadily growing. Testament to this, 19 local productions will be showcased at this year’s Amakula International Film Festival, a significant rise from past editions.

Cristiano Civitillo, a Uganda based Italian Film Director and jury head for the Golden Impala Awards at the Amakula International Film Festival, believes the local film industry has even a bigger potential for growth.

“I was positively surprised by the local productions submitted for the festival,” he said. “The local film industry has a big potential because there is really some good talent in terms of film directors.”

While the industry has a big potential, it first has to overcome serious stumbling blocks. Filmmakers are still grappling with several problems including limited funding, poor distribution networks and lack of government support among others.

According to Civitillo, the Ugandan film market is also weak, and cannot sustain the industry which in turn has hampered local productions.

“If we want Ugandan films to become more competitive, they need a support structure such as a film fund,” he noted.

"Vvolongoto Mu Mukwano" screening at the Amakula International Film Festival

“Vvolongoto Mu Mukwano” screening at the Amakula International Film Festival

He further noted that local filmmakers need to find their own identity and stop trying to copy the western style if the industry is going to take a leap forward, advising them to put more emphasis on making good scripts.

“Local filmmakers should focus on getting good scripts, because if they do that then they have a strong point that no one can take away.” He stated. “The best films are always about the stories, and Uganda has lots of strong stories that the world does not know about yet.”

Meanwhile, he lauded the festival organisers for hosting the festival at Kampala Film School for the first two days which gave opportunity to the students and young filmmakers to interact with the experienced filmmakers and share knowledge about the industry.

Best Film Awards

The Golden Impala Awards slated for Saturday at the Uganda Museum will honour the best films as the Amakula International Film Festival climaxes. The films will be honoured in four categories which include; Best International Feature Film, Best East Africa Short Film, Best International Documentary Film and the newly added Best East Africa Students Film.

Some of the competing Ugandan films include: Best International Feature Film category – Devil’s Chest, Love Faces, Rain, Vvolongoto Mu Mukwano, and The Forbidden; Best East Africa Students Film – The Last Breath, Zzina, Idi Amin’s Boat, and Mikono Salama; Best East Africa Short Film – Jethro x Jethro, Office Vacation, Rehema, The Bad Mexican, Locheng’s Dream, and Strength of a Karamajong Woman; Best International Documentary Film – A Hidden Gem, Master & the Movie Doctor, and Arthur.

Email the writer: edwinejnr@gmail.com

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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.