KAMPALA — Ugandan filmmakers are now breaking into the global film industry, albeit at a slow pace. Going through some of the recent breakthroughs of local filmmakers like Loukman Ali, through the lens of film and drama enthusiasts, one would imagine that Uganda’s film industry has improved and transformed tremendously over the years.
Contrary to popular belief, local movie stars always demand better opportunities for them to advance in the industry and improve their skills and fortunes.
Uganda is currently struggling to have qualified professionals who have adequate training. This ripple effect has had repercussions on the quality of films produced for the consumption of the country’s moviegoers.
Seeing similar actors and actresses on movies hitting screens has since made some films feel too cliché. On top of that, the team working behind the scenes like sound engineers, writers, directors are few in number and as such are forced to deliver all the top film projects introduced on the market.
Amid these challenges, some key players have identified gaps within the industry and found solutions to help salvage the situation. A case in point is MultiChoice Uganda’s program to train and enable filmmakers to tell African stories with the utmost authenticity, which has resulted in the introduction of programs like MultiChoice Talent Factory and channels like Pearl Magic, Pearl Magic Prime and Maisha Magic Movies which are specially organized platforms to broadcast and showcase Ugandan film series and movies.
These channels have not only amplified Ugandan stories but also driven Ugandan filmmakers to strive for excellence and quality in film production.
No wonder when drama shows like Prestige air, some are forced to think they could have been shot and directed by foreign filmmakers.
In my experience, the MTF academy professionals I have interacted with through the opportunity afforded to me by the Prestige show, have shown that indeed, exposure to international experts in the cinema sets the bar for expectations so high, as these individuals are challenged by these trainers to make and produce better films.
Additionally, I was exposed to multiple skill sets and challenged to improve my craft as an actor and filmmaker. The doors of opportunity within the industry are huge and it behooves Ugandan filmmakers to aggressively pursue these opportunities and partnerships to better position their work. Until filmmakers become intentional with the quality of work they do, the partnerships they form, or the training opportunities they sign up for, the demand for more will always persist.
The writer is Evelyn Kironde, a Ugandan filmmaker.