By Hussein Kiganda
“The Kitara Chronicles,” the film representing Uganda at the 2023 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs) in Nigeria, held a highly anticipated screening at The National Theatre on September 27, 2023. Directed by Sadat Yiga, the movie tells the captivating story of the Batembuzi, demigods.
Set at the climax of King Bukuku’s ruthless reign, the narrative follows Buule, a young boy determined to rescue Nangonzi, the love of his life, who has been taken captive by King Bukuku. Buule’s mission is to assist Ndahura, the last descendant of Isaza and the grandson of Ruhanga (god), in reclaiming his rightful throne.
The event commenced with a discussion featuring a few cast members and an elucidation of the film’s storyline, along with the inspiration behind its creation. Yiga explained that the film was inspired by the desire to revive a Ugandan folktale that had long been forgotten, surviving only as an educational institution’s topic.
“There are numerous untold Ugandan stories, and this is one of them. Our children need to understand our origins, and through this film, I hope they can vividly envision life during that era,” Yiga stated.
After taking photos with attending celebrities, the audience proceeded to the auditorium to witness the much-anticipated epic. Initially, it appeared to be a movie adorned with African costumes and music, but as the storyline unfolded, the audience became engrossed in the journey of the main characters, Buule and Nangonzi, whose love was shattered by the malevolent King Bukuku, whose reign relied heavily on child sacrifice and bloodshed.
The conclusion of the story left some attendees in awe and anticipation, yearning for a sequel. The creators of the movie revealed that it was originally conceived as a series but was condensed into a feature film to encapsulate the entire narrative.
Speaking to the attendees, Frank Kabushenga, the head of TFK-Luminary, an organization that hosts screenings of Ugandan films on the last Wednesday of every month, expressed his vision to bring such cinematic gems to the public eye. His goal was to showcase the quality of Ugandan content.
“Our primary objective in showcasing these masterpieces is to demonstrate the potential we possess in the world of cinema. We hope that by presenting these exceptional stories, you will become our ambassadors, spreading the message to fellow Ugandans that we produce outstanding work, and they should come and witness it themselves,” Kabushenga proclaimed.
Following the screening, the cast offered a few copies of the film to the audience and engaged in another photo session to conclude the event.
“The Kitara Chronicles” had previously won the Viewers’ Choice Award at the Uganda Film Festival this year, and Ugandans are optimistic that it will secure the Best Film in an African Language Award at the AMAAs.