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Film-makers tipped on grants at UCC, as 2021 festival is launched

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Film-makers tipped on grants at UCC, as 2021 festival is launched

Acting couple the Nabwisos, witnessed the launch of the 2021 Uganda Film Festival

Acting couple the Nabwisos, witnessed the launch of the 2021 Uganda Film Festival

Film-makers in Uganda have been encouraged to seek financial support from the Uganda Communication Commission in order to develop their career.

This opportunity is made courtesy of Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), which says it created a fund from the money that was saved after the cancellation of last year’s Film festival due to COVID-19.

Speaking at the launch of the 8th edition of the Uganda Film Festival, UCC’s head of Public and International Relations, Ibrahim Bbosa said that in addition to building the capacities of film-makers, the commission has set-up a fund for the development of Uganda’s film industry.

“Its purpose is basically to grow local content, films made in Uganda and made by Ugandans. Last year because of covid19 lockdown, we were not able to hold the film festival and as a result that was the first seed fund that went into the content development support program, now the commission is budgeting for this support program annually,” said Bbosa.

Bbosa hopes that other partners like the Multi-Choice Uganda, are interested in joining the Commission to grow local content and in the near future, they will also be able to put aside some funding for the support program.

His prayer is that even the Ministry can lobby other stakeholders in the film industry to get funding, just like it has done for Innovators in the ICT sector who now gets an annual budget .

Bbosa is optimistic that with this fund and activities like the Uganda film-Festial, the industry will register tremendous growth that will positively impact Uganda’s culture, tourism and the economy generally.

Without mentioning the exact value of the fund, Bbosa revealed that so far 16 film makers have applied for the fund.

Colin Asiimwe, the Marketing Manager MultiChoice Uganda said that as the official sponsors of the Uganda Film Festival, the pay-tv Company is committed to offering a platform to air and showcase local content through its Pearl magic and Pearl Magic Prime channels.

Asiimwe however stressed the importance of film makers in meeting the required production standards in order to have high quality and competitive films on the market.

“Even though we are committed to buying and commissioning local content, there is a standard that we must adhere to and remember that the only way we can really grow the industry is by keeping that standard high,” said Asiimwe.

Asiimwe adds that if the standard of films produced is high and acceptable to us and acceptable to other African content creators, then they can be sold across the continent.

“I think that standards and that commitment to that high quality is just good for us as it is good for our film-makers,” Asiimwe said.

Meanwhile Asiimwe said that MultiChoice Uganda joins this year’s film festival as a platinum sponsor with a variety of prizes for participants to win.

“As part of our sponsorship, we shall enroll the script writers that emerge from this year’s Uganda Film Festival into the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), a Corporate Social Investment initiative that we launched to train and certify passionate film producers, writers, editors, production managers and actors onto a Masterclass on script writing, which will be coming in the next few months,” said Asiimwe. Up

MultiChoice Uganda will also be sponsoring two awards this year; the Best Director category and the Best Cinematography category as it strives to support the local content being produced in Uganda.

Asiimwe revealed that for both awards, MultiChoice Uganda will offer a cash prize of Ugx. 10 million and a mentorship programme in the republic of South Africa with M-Net Studios.

“All the movies which emerge as winners on the Award Gala night, will be given the option to air on Pearl Magic and Pearl Magic Prime for a certain period of time, with the express permission of the content owner. We will also put together prize packs for all the winners awarded in the various categories.”

This year’s categories include; Best Student Film, Best Animation, Best Short Film, Best Documentary, Best Script (Screenplay), Best TV Drama, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design, Best Feature Film, among others.

Susan Wegoye, the Director of Legal Affairs, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), said that this year’s edition will run under the theme, “Rebuilding a Resilient Creative Industry through the Pandemic.”

The week-long festival will have film screenings, film trainings for script writers, film exhibitions, workshops among other activities that will culminate in an Award Gala night on 2nd April with outstanding film creations winning awards.

According to UCC, since 2013 at the inception of the Uganda Film Festival, there has been tremendous improvement not only in terms of the numbers of films produced but also in terms of quality.

Figures indicate that the festival that resulted into capacity building workshops has seen a steady growth in the quality of lighting, sound and storytelling.

Bbosa says in 2013 only one Ugandan film participated in the International film festival and in 2014 only 2 films participated. When contrasted to the year 2019, 65 Ugandan films that participated in the international film festivals and actually 25 of the films won.

“And that shows that the International community is slowly embracing the Uganda content and our content can now compete on the international scene we can only get better at it”.-Bbosa noted.

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