By Hussein Kiganda
The Ngalabi Short Film Festival organised by Goethe-Zentrum Kampala was held from July 28 to 30, 2022 at the International University of East Africa in Kampala.
The festival opened with loud sounds from different musical drums, including the ngalabi (long African drum) from which the festival derives its name, in addition to African dances and poetry.
Short African films and a few from outside the continent were screened, as the audience applauded the creativity in the movies.
There was much applause when Sixteen Rounds, a movie by Loukman Ali, Masel Tov by Arkadij Khaet, Always Keep Positive by Till Vill, Mukazi by Heddwyn Kyambadde, Lakoza by Zee Ntuli, and The Dark Box by Yemi Jolaoso were shown.
This year’s edition was special; it came with awards to motivate filmmakers more and appreciate the work done.
Loukman Ali won the Best Director Award. His Sixteen Rounds left the audience talking.
Sixteen Rounds is the story of a couple heaping blame on one another in increasingly outrageous ways as their marriage falls apart.
The twists and turns in the movie make its plot unpredictable. Its ending demands another episode. Loukman’s upcoming movie Dbamba could serve that purpose.
Mukazi (mukazi meaning a woman in Luganda) by Heddwyn Kyambadde won the People’s Choice Award.
Mukazi is a pioneer documentary series about inspiring Ugandan women who are striving to change the stereotype around the traditional role of women in Uganda and to inspire young girls and women to not give up on their dreams.
The first episode features Faith Aweko, a social entrepreneur and founder of Reform Africa, who battles family conflicts and education expectations to forge a career as a pioneer in tackling Uganda’s plastic waste problem, and pollution.
Masel Tov by Arkadij Khaet won the Short Film of the Year Award. The 30-minute Germany Comedy short film follows the story of Dimitrij Liebermann, a Jewish German who punches one of the characters (Tobi) in the face. He’s expected to apologise to him, but doesn’t exactly feel sorry.
While on his way to meet Tobi, he encounters a diverse representation of German society. Again and again, Dimitrij faces one struggle he needs to overcome: his German-Jewish identity.
One of the attendees, Doreen Mirembe, a filmmaker whose feature film Kafa Coh is tipped to premiere in October, noted that the festival is a platform that upcoming filmmakers need to consider to kickstart their careers in film.