From November 25 to 29, Ugandan film makers and lovers will gather for the annual Uganda Film Festival. The event which is largely sponsored by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is seen as a key event for recognizing outstanding films produced by Ugandans in the past year. The event is also considered as an occasion to highlight good films that would ordinarily be ignored by the mainstream film industry.
This year, the festival is running under the theme; “Film and Tourism in The Pearl of Africa.” Organisers of the event argue that film is a key opportunity in promoting Uganda’s rich tourism potential.
The Sunrise caught up with Lilly Ajarova, the Executive Director of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to understand how film can be used to attract tourists. Below are excerpts.
Qn.1. How important is Film to Tourism in Uganda or any other country?
Film is a very important facet of Uganda’s Tourism and a channel through which Uganda’s beauty and tourism offering can be showcased. Uganda is an ideal filming destination given its beautiful scenery. We have the best filming locations and with a good road network across the country, film-makers looking to film in Uganda will be pleasantly surprised to find a ready-made set for them.
Qn.2. Which special activities/Programmes has UTB undertaken to promote Uganda’s film?
As Uganda looks to strengthen its potential as a premier tourist and film hub in the region, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) together with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and Ugandan film-makers took part in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival that ran in May 2019 in France. Together we pitched Uganda as a multifaceted film hub.
The Cannes Film Festival gave us the opportunity and access to resources seldom accessible to film-makers from developing film markets. It was also an opportunity to present our film industry potential as a destination to shoot.
We are looking to further strengthen our relationship with UCC and co-market when it comes to Uganda as a filming destination. We are also putting in place programs to host film-makers who wish to scout for filming locations and partner with the emerging markets of Nollywood, Bollywood, and Hollywood.
Qn.3. What programs has UTB undertaken to encourage Uganda’s film-makers to promote tourism?
Together with the Uganda Communication Commission, we are working to create a one-stop shop and incentives to encourage film-makers in Uganda to showcase their country through film. Within the next few months, we shall have some announcements to make in this regard.
Qn.4. What aspects of Uganda’s unique tourism attractions would you want to highlight in film?
World over, the film industry provides vast employment opportunities. In Uganda, the film industry has in recent years gained prominence. The country now targets to gazette film shooting districts and centers of excellence across the country that will provide affordable production services in the next five years.
We have the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains, The beautiful Kigezi landscapes, the thundering white waters of River Nile, various falls and amazing landscapes across the country.