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Major film highlights in 2022

by Editorial Team
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By Hussein Kiganda

Tembele’s submission as Uganda’s first entry at the 95th Oscars in the category of Best International Feature Film has been one of the biggest achievements in the country. Despite not making it to the Oscars shortlist, its eligibility is a signal that the Ugandan film industry has taken the right direction over the years. Each and every year, the industry makes a significant step towards development. In 2022, a lot of significant bars were reached. Below are some of them.

Success at international fronts

Ugandan films have managed to hoist the country’s flag in most of the competitions, awards, and festivals they have been selected for.

Tembele by Morris Mugisha made it to the Oscars. File photo.

At the Oscars, Tembele was among the 6 listed African movies that were eligible for competition in the category of Best International Feature Film. Over African 20 countries made submissions but only six were eligible.

Uganda also received 14 nominations and won two at the 2022 Africa Movie Academy Awards. The country won Best Achievement in Cinematography(Tembele) and Best Feature Film(No Way Out) beating competitive countries such as the USA, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ireland, and several more. 

The country’s movie “Kafa Coh” also won Best Feature Film at the Mashariki Festival in Rwanda and “Bedroom Chains” won three major awards at the Lake International Pan African Film Festival. Uganda also performed well at several other festivals such as Coal City Film Festival(CCFF), Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, International Tourism Film Festival Africa, in Cape Town, South Africa, Hampton International Film festival, Piton International Film Festival, and several more.

Besides scooping awards, Ugandan films were screened in festivals such as Documenta 15(Wakaliwood’s Football Commando represented Uganda), Piton International Film Festival Global(Ugandan Sci-fiction movie “Time” was screened), Venice International Film Festival(Bobi Wine: The Ghetto President) and several more.

Ugandan filmmaker Samuel Saviour Kizito managed to get three jury roles in festivals outside the country. He was chosen as head of the jury at the Africa International Human Rights Film Festival(AIHRFF) in Nigeria, Accra Indie Filmfest in Ghana, and several other roles.

Kafa koh won many film awards in the region. File photo

Ugandan films Kemi and Catch Out were hired by an international airline(Emirates) to show aboard their planes during travels. 

International collaborations

On several occasions, Ugandan filmmakers hired actors from other countries and also signed agreements of partnership.

Ugandan movie “Kafa Coh” hired a Nigerian actor Kalu Ikeagwu who featured in the movie. In Beneath Beauty, Nigerian actors Kingsley Obiekwe and Gaspard Lumbu took up roles.

Ugandan movie director Samuel Wabwire also known as Sammy Ting together with Kenyan producers Isaac Ebu and Joseph Williams worked on a collaboration film “The Fall Of King Odongo”.

Uganda and Rwanda agreed to work together on film projects following a successful meeting between Ugandan filmmakers, delegates from the Uganda Communications Commission(UCC), and Rwanda Film Office(RFO) on December 2, 2022, in Kigali-Rwanda.

The Ugandan embassy in the United States made efforts to foster collaborations between Uganda and the United States.

More cinema halls showcasing Ugandan content

In 2022, several movie shows showcasing Ugandan movies emerged, and others relaunched. The Uganda Cinema Night, which had been affected by Covid-19 in 2020 was relaunched, and a number of Ugandan movies such as Nalwawo, Shark Avenue, Akapapula, November Tears, and several more.

A movie reveller holding popcorns at Century Cinemax new branch at Arena Mall Nsambya on Friday 8th July 2022. Photo by Ivan Kabuye.

In Mbarara, two new 3D Cinema halls were opened and in Jinja, a movie night for African movies was also launched.

In Kampala, another executive cinema hall was opened up by Century Cinemax at Arena Mall.

More film festivals and awards in Uganda

Two more film awards were launched this year, The New Vision Film Awards and The iKon Awards: Film and Television. The New Vision Film Awards recognized several filmmakers whose movies had been voted as the best in over 15 categories and gave them media space in The New Vision Newspaper.

The iKon Awards were also launched this year. Through one of its projects, the young filmmakers’ fellowship, emerging filmmakers were taught how to make low-budget films but with high-quality productions. Over 1.7 million was given to each of the ten filmmakers to shoot short movies and to kickstart their careers. 

Philip Idro awarding the best actress in Best Actress TV Drama/Series Evelyn Kironde Namatovu at the Uganda’s 9th Annual Film Festival awards Gala 2022 at Nakawa on 3rd June 2022. Photo by Ivan Kabuye

Besides these, the annual Uganda Film Festival and the Ngalabi film festival screened several Ugandan movies and recognized those whose movies were paramount.

More box office sales

Following 7 days screenings of Ugandan movies “Tembele” and “Kafa Coh” at Century Cinemax, Acacia Mall, Acram M. Juuko, the head of marketing & public relations at Century Cinemax Uganda revealed that the sales from Ugandan movies had been higher than those from foreign movies. Other screenings and premieres such as Lala, Beneath Beauty, Mania, Bizibu, and several more registered a high number of revelers, a sign that more money had been bagged.

If these box office sales are kept high in 2023, the industry could register more success.

More Ugandan streaming platforms in the industry

This year, new Ugandan movie streaming platforms joined the queue. During the lockdown, streaming platforms such as MunoWatch, Katandika Butandisi, Mobiflicks, UgaWatch, Kibanda Xpress, and several more raised the bar but didn’t seem to impress filmmakers and the audience. This year, other platforms- Pearl Movies and UCCN TV or simply KPM Originals were launched.

More non film maker audience

In previous years, most of those who turned up to watch movies were filmmakers who would come to either criticize other filmmakers’ works or to rub shoulders with producers to lobby for the next acting gigs.

 Well, in 2022, most of the people that watched movies were non filmmakers. Starting from movie premieres such as “Lala”, “Dance Fest Ug”, ” Beneath Beauty”, “Mania”, “Bizibu” and several more, people that attended had nothing in attachment to the movie world, all they enjoyed was watching the stories. This was a big plus to the industry and should be maintained in 2023.

More media attention

Adding to NBS’s CinemaBlitz, Vision Group organized the New Vision Film Awards and gave over 20 pages of coverage to the Ugandan film industry. The media conglomerate promised to continue supporting the industry and promised to run two stories from the industry on a daily basis on its platforms. 

The Kampala Sun became the leading movie hub for all stories in the film industry. Two or more stories were run on the site daily. 

Urban TV and Bukedde TV1 hosted several filmmakers to discuss several topics in the film industry.

Other media houses joined in to give coverage to the industry.

More showbiz

Following the premiere of movies such as “Mania”, ” Beneath Beauty”, “Lala”, “Kafa Coh” and several more, the glamour and fashion sense were unmatched. Filmmakers and actors stopped dressing up like Owino vendors during premieres and screenings. They looked like real celebrities and this could be the reason they made headlines in the media.

If this is kept up in 2023, it will be a plus.

There were several more highlights such as The Filmmakers Retreat, The Weekly Twitter spaces from Cinema Ug, the Uganda Communications Commission(UCC) trainings, and many, Master Classes from actors such as Natasha Sunayobye, and Gladys Oyenbot. We also had visitations from prominent actors and bosses from Hollywood.

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