The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba, has called on Ugandan film makers to be more productive and sell Uganda’s image abroad using their work.
Speaking as Chief Guest at the eighth edition of the Uganda Film Festival organized by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) in Kampala on Friday, Nabakooba challenged Ugandan film makers to borrow a leaf from countries like Nigeria, India and the United States, whose film makers have shaped the image of their nations internationally.
“There is no doubt that film is an important sector in the existence and development of our country. Film shapes our culture, defines who we are, and it has the power to even shape our destiny,” said Nabakooba.
Adding: “The film industry gives us a window through which we can encourage our communities to regain their strength. Film has the power to guide our journey to growth and to greater heights.”
She called upon all film makers to reflect on Uganda’s priorities, and use their talent in helping and achieving the priorities, including selling Uganda’s image abroad.
“We have seen this industry transform nations, and we believe, it can still transform our country Uganda. In Africa, you see what is happening in Nigeria, look at India then look at USA. As a country, how are we ready to brand ourselves to make sure that this industry also grows and employs majority of our talented youth out there. How can we move to see that we also have a brand that is recognised internationally and probably regionally?” She challenged film makers.
Nabakooba added that the cinema industry in Uganda has turned into a huge sector, employing millions of people and bringing in revenue.
In the recent past, Uganda has produced internationally recognized and competitive films such as the Queen of Katwe and the Last King of Scotland and as a result, Nabakooba said, it is more encouraging that all these movies had a connection with the Uganda Film Festival under UCC.
“I therefore believe that our film industry is at point of no return, and we are moving forward.”
The Minister challenged all stakeholders to think further and identify what is needed to move Uganda’s film industry to the next level.
“What will it take for our industry to become a recognised brand in Africa and world over and how can we develop our own unique identity just like the nations I talked about. How can we also have our own unique brand as Ugandans, which is appreciated here but also internationally?” she queried.
“How can we establish and maintain regional and international partnership with international distributors and producers. I believe that if you manage to do this, we shall be able to break through the remaining ceiling of global film industry,” she added.
The 2021 Uganda Film Festival which was organized under the theme, ‘rebuilding a resilient creative industry through the pandemic’, Nabakooba said, is important to reflect about, especially now that the country is looking towards the post COVID-19 pandemic period.
Since a lot of film making is concentrated in capital Kampala, Nabakooba asked the rest of the districts of Uganda to also participate in film making and pledged Government support towards film industry.
“We believe that this is a big industry, and it is going to take us far. I also encourage you to use the ICT applications to promote our film industry. I believe now that we are in COVID-19, many people would be watching your films. So, let us work together with the Ministry of ICT to develop applications that can promote our local talent,” she said.
The Uganda Film Festival Awards also known as UFF Awards, are presented annually to recognize excellence in the film Industry in Uganda.
The awards started in 2013 under a Uganda Communications Commission initiative to recognize and develop the Ugandan film industry.
At least 24 awards accompanied by millions of shillings were won by outstanding films, Actors, Actresses Directors, and other stakeholders in film making industry.