Kafa Coh runs over iKon Awards

Michael Wawuyo Jr. receives an award for Best Actor from Nigerian actor Ramsey Noah. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The awards were out to create an experience, a TV production worth its name, and they indeed pulled it off.
  • The awards offered glamour, glitz and entertainment.

It is hard appreciating the iKon Awards without looking back at Uganda and its history with entertainment awards.

When the PAM Awards were launched in 2003, for instance, they punched above their weight, trying to give Ugandans an experience close to the Grammy Awards.

The performances were amazing, the dresses out of this world but the artistes were subjected to a public vote. This meant that the tension was visible, it was more than winning an award for the artistes, in that a loss would mean one did not have a big enough fanbase to deliver an award and the loss would also signal the opposite. And trust local artistes with awards.

At that time, a few intelligent artistes went to Nasser Road and had graphics designers craft campaign posters for them with a complete ‘Vote’ header, like an election.

As the iKon awards were being rolled out, the organisers noted that what they were doing was a celebration of film, not a rivalry. Thus from the time they announced the nominees, took them to a luncheon, they managed to create a brotherhood within the industry.

By Saturday night at Kampala Serena Hotel’s Victoria Conference Hall, the industry fraternity that turned up for the inaugural iKon Awards was there to celebrate a culture rather than compete.

It was a night Ugandan filmmakers came out to celebrate fellow filmmakers. A rare change from most local entertainment awards that are often hijacked by corporate sponsors and politicians who take to the stage to make pledges and talk about their open door office policy.

The awards were out to create an experience, a TV production worth its name, and they indeed pulled it off. The awards offered glamour, glitz and entertainment, replaced politicians and brand managers with actors and producers.

Golden moments
Besides that though, there were moments that were made of TV gold; producer Doreen Mirembe putting her shoes off to run to the stage, Harriet Nalubwama or Nakawunde showing up to present John W. Katende with a lifetime achievement award, the various host moments by Uncle Mo and Fabiola to actress Lydia Namata making a public appearance for the first time since losing her sight.

From one actor and producer, they kept giving themselves awards in respectable ways.
It was not any different from Brad Pitt giving Will Smith a Best Actors award.

At the beginning of the night, it was Kafa Coh and The Girl in The Yellow Jumper with the biggest number of nominations closely followed by Tembele and Bedroom Chains.

Kafa Coh is a legal drama about a president who is taken to court by his vice president. What makes the story intriguing is the naive lawyer Sandra, who finds herself caught up in the mix.

The Girl in The Yellow Jumper is a story of a man who gets captured by two women and later has a very big story to tell. 

Tembele, a mental health story, tackles loss in different ways. It is a coming of age film from director Morris Mugisha. 

Then Bedroom Chains, a story on domestic violence that pits a liberal woman against her conservative husband who gets in the way of her fight against domestic abuse.

As expected, Loukman Ali’s The Girl in The Yellow Jumper ran over many other films in technical categories such as cinematography, editing and visual effects. He also walked away with the award for Best Short Film for Sixteen Rounds.

The biggest winner of the night was, however, Kafa Coh, with nominations in technical, directing and Best Film. 

The film took Best supporting actress for Rehema Nanfuka, Best Production Design by Ronnie Nkalubo and Robinah Nansubuga, Best Director for Doreen Mirembe and Gilbert Lukalia and Best Feature Film.

The elated Mirembe noted that making and writing the film was draining and thus was happy it was finally paying off. 

There was, however, a moment when they had to announce the iKon fellow award, which goes to a young filmmaker, whose student short film stood out. 

The winner was Doreen Mirembe, another filmmaker, only with the same name as the renowned actor and producer.

The show, however, did not go down without shortcomings. The feed screens were not enough, so the audience away from the mainstage did not witness all the happenings. Plus, it may have been a brilliant idea to script the entire show, especially when some presenters struggled with reading from the teleprompter.

Hopefully, all these will be fixed in the second edition.