By Hussein Kiganda
It is very hard to sell something without a name, especially when it represents an entire nation. The Ugandan film industry lacks a suitable name that could be used as its trademark at global marketplaces.
Different countries have named their film industries with inspiration from the United States’ industry called Hollywood. India took on Bollywood, Nigerian is Nollywood, Kong Kong is Cantonwood, South Korea is Hallyuwood, Ghana is Gollywood, Bengali is Tollywood, and several more.
However, it is not certain what name Uganda took on and several internet users have debated on what exactly it is called.
The following names have been suggested; Ugawood, Pearlwood, Ullywood, Wakaliwood, Kina Uganda and Bina Uganda, among others.
However, while choosing a name, some Ugandans reason that it should not copy the suffix “wood” from other industries, but should take on a unique name, which can be promoted until it sinks into the minds of Ugandans and other people in the world.
“Commendable feat, but whatever name you are conjuring up for the Ugandan film industry, please let it be without the suffix, – ‘wood’,” tweeted Chole Richard.
Julius Bwanika, the secretary general of Pearlwood, an umbrella of filmmakers in the country, told The Kampala Sun that having a brand identity is vital in the global market.
“A brand name makes meaning when it comes to the international market. Our content would get lost in a sea of content. The beauty of having a brand is that it creates an identity,” he said.
Bwanika revealed that Uganda’s film industry name (trademark) is Pearlwood according to him and other members of the Pearlwood board.
He narrated that the name was agreed upon by several stakeholders in the industry after a discussion on the matter.
“In 2013, that discussion came up and we were supposed to register it as Ugawood or Kina Uganda, but we found out that these names had been registered by private individuals. In 2017, we discussed it and agreed that we make Pearlwood the trademark of Uganda’s film industry, which we did successfully,” Bwanika narrated.
Despite having Pearlwood as the country’s trademark, several filmmakers do not know this according to Bwanika and he blames this on the ignorance of Ugandan filmmakers.
Can the industry develop without an industry name/trademark?
According to Bwanika, any country whose structures are strong can grow bigger despite not having a brand name.
“It’s not the brand that makes an industry, but its structures (human resource). Some industries are bigger than their brand names,” he said.
Today, some countries whose industries have developed so much without brand names are; France, the UK, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, and several more.