By Hussein Kiganda
Imperial Blue, a film co-produced by Ugandan filmmaker Semulema Daniel Katenda alongside British directors Dan Moss and David Cecil, has been confirmed for streaming on the renowned international platform, Amazon Prime.
Blending elements of magical realism and post-colonial satire, Imperial Blue presents a contemporary rendition of the oft-explored “white man in Africa” narrative. Primarily set in western Uganda, this 2019 psychedelic fantasy thriller was shot on location in India, the United Kingdom, and Uganda.
The storyline revolves around the character of Hugo Winter, an American smuggler who embarks on a journey to Uganda in search of the origin of Bulu, an enigmatic shamanic drug endowed with prophetic properties. Following a traumatic incident involving a violent encounter at a local brothel, Hugo finds salvation through the intervention of two sisters, both vying for his financial resources. As they venture deeper into the heart of the forest, their uneasy alliance unravels, leading to harrowing consequences.
During an interview with The Kampala Sun, the movie’s producer, Daniel Semulema Katenda, revealed that their project received support from a South African distribution company with connections to American distributors. He attributed their success to the collaborative efforts of the British filmmakers, which expanded the film’s potential audience.
“We released the film in 2020 across Europe and America through various distributors, and we had the privilege of working alongside a South African distributor named Indigenous Films, who assisted us in securing a spot on the Amazon Prime platform,” he expressed.
Semulema further divulged that within a short period, they have managed to generate returns that cover a significant portion of the movie’s initial budget. He remains optimistic that the film will also be featured on other prominent platforms across the continent and worldwide.
Offering advice to Ugandan filmmakers, he encouraged them to pursue international collaborations, emphasising the importance of not solely relying on the local audience for success.
The cast of Imperial Blue features renowned figures within the Ugandan film industry, including Rehema Nanfuka, Esteri Tebandeke, Andrew Benon Kibuuka, Paul Dewdney, Ashish Verma, Durassie Kiangangu, Kayiwa Nicholas, Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, Wilson Egessa, Michael Wawuyo, Dumba Amina, Nalubiri Ruth, Mwesigwa Ivan Rad, Esther Bacia, and others.
The film celebrated its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London back in 2019, garnering accolades such as Best Dramatic Feature at the 2020 Philip K Dick Film Festival in the United States and Best Fantasy Film at the 2020 Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, also held in the United States.
On Amazon Prime, viewers can rent Imperial Blue for £4.49 or purchase it for £9.99. Alternatively, it is available for streaming through the platform’s reasonable monthly subscription fee.
Imperial Blue follows another Ugandan movie, Life Of A Champion, a film that joined the Amazon platform in 2019. Produced by Innocent Kawooya, Life Of A Champion narrates the tale of Ugandan kickboxing champion Golola Moses.