Nurturing local film talent

Saturday July 14 2012

Nurturing local film talent

More players are encouraged to join film making as opportunities keep on opening. Photo by Jude Katende 

By Jude Katende

There is growing demand for local music and television content, going by the increase of such material. It could be due to a fast growing population or a more enlightened viewership. Some producers have come up to fill the void, even while it may be argued their material is still wanting.

“I would like to see more quality dramas and original local concepts from Africa. I would advise Ugandans involved in this field to provide better quality programmes. The reason many don’t make the mark is simply because little thought and effort are given to production. Typically, there are poor sets, low sound and picture quality and the editing is poorly done,” WBS’ Acting Manager Shamim Asiimwe notes.

There might be answers to Asiimwe’s headache through works like Mariam Ndagire’s. The singer and actress is actively supporting the local film and television markets.

After scoring domestic success with a number of her own films, Ndagire, who heads the Uganda Film Network (UFN), expanded her repertoire with her films currently showing on DStv. This success was repeated with Tendo Sisters, the series that aired on the DStv channel, Africa Magic. Ndagire, though, would understand it would be foolhardy to rest on her laurels.

UFN has been training Ugandans in the trade for years, focusing on script writing, directing, editing and more. Throughout this week, alumni from the classes of 2010 and 2011 have been preparing for a film contest dubbed Movie Furnace.

Prize money
Yesterday (Friday July 13) was the final screening and by press time $1,000 (Shs2.4m) in prize money was at stake for the best film crew.

“We are recognising our students in sound recording, cinematography, directing, writing, editing, acting etc. Every year, we have an alumni day but this year the award comes with cash,” the UFN director explains.

Out of 14 submitted scripts, five were chosen for short film shooting. The auditions were only for UFN members though next year other players could be considered. Each film has its own crew from scriptwriter to director to editor. The prize money will be shared amongst the winning crew but the writers take half.

“The writer does much more work, so they should be deservedly rewarded,” Ndagire notes.

Bigger opportunities
She adds that in the end, UFN will either develop the winning short film into a longer movie or will stick to short films and have them aired on DStv. The firm will then pay for the 2010/2011 short films.

Ndagire urges other Ugandans with quality material to use this opportunity.

The English and Luganda films include Shock!, Bloody Sunset, My Wedding, The Cell and Smart Attempt. The writers and directors include Ssewava Ivan, Nantumbwe Margaret, Hakim Bigaruka, Julian Nabunya, Abbey Mwesigye and Usama Mukwaya.

The categories include best actor, best actress, best cinematography, best soundman, best script, best editor, best supporting actor and actress.