Film makers urged to embrace digital marketing

Filmmakers from western Uganda fose for a photo with officials from Ministry of Gender and PearlWood Uganda. PHOTO/JULIUS BYAMUKAMA

Ankole and western Uganda film makers have been advised to unite with other regions and make use of the digital market for them to excel in the movie industry.

Speaking to film makers during an engagement supported by Ministry of Gender at Mbarara City Council Hall on Friday, Julius Bwanika, the Pearl Wood executive secretary, said there is a need for filmmakers to transform their lives through the current available digital platforms. 

“Ministry of Gender partnered with Unesco and opened a digital roadmap to sensitise regional film makers about the digital environment and how they can actually promote their work through the available platforms. We are trying to interest our fellow filmmakers to adopt the platforms. The aim is to see that film becomes a career that anybody can take part in and change their livelihood,” said Mzee Bwanika.

He added that as filmmakers, they cannot do very well with videos, so primarily there is need to unite.
“Regionally we will be able to achieve the pillars that are necessary to achieve a vibrant and national structure; it is important for film makers in western Uganda to unite and have a common voice and agenda, especially to do with marketing of their content, as long as we continue engaging the market as individuals,” he said.

Polly Kamukama, a film lecturer at Makerere University, said the world has changed digitally post Covid-19, guiding film makers to forget about the traditional way of distributing and marketing their content if they want to survive in the changing film industry.

Hajjara Nalubega, an official from Ministry of Gender department of culture and family affairs, said as a ministry, they have the mandate to implement an open digital roadmap for film and audiovisual practitioners for them to benefit from digital marketing.

“Since Covid-19, we realised we could no longer rely on physical audiences in cinemas, in theatres and other physical spaces but we can explore a lot in the digital space; this is a technological era and the world is becoming a global village, and we can only benefit if we improve and work online, make films online, market and exhibit them using online platforms,” said Ms Nalubega.

She added that it is the reason they are training filmmakers in this area because they know many of them have smartphones and computers on their desks but the question is whether they utilise them fully to ensure that they access markets online, networks and be able to improve their skills in producing, acting, directing in film and market their films.

The chairperson Western Uganda Film and Producers Association, who is also the director Ankole star actors, George Katabazi, said embracement of digital distribution and marketing of their films will help them access enough market for their work.  

“We have been sensitised to embrace digital marketing and distribution of our films and make use of social media. Initially we would create content for only our regional people but we have realised we can create films that can be watched globally. However, most of our fellow film makers do not know the credible platforms where they can sell and market their work but with time they will catch up,” Katabazi said.

Changed times
Kamukama: If you do not improve your uptake in digital skills, it is hard for one to survive in this industry.

The digital advan- cement has changed the older models of producing, marketing and distribution; there is need for us filmmakers to be up to speed if we want to compete globally.