Dilman’s Felista dominates film awards

05:50 by Kaggwa Andrew
Dilman Dila’s Felista’s fable was the biggest winner at the second annual Uganda Film Festival awards gala with four awards in the Best screenplay, Feature Film, Best actor (Isaac Kadzu) and the overall Film of the year.
The event that took place at Serena gardens on Friday got the cream of Ugandan and African actors in one place was intended to recognize and celebrate film in the country.
But before all this, the week had started on a high with rigorous activities that included workshops, film forums and screenings at the National Theatre, Cinemax 5D at Makerere, Acacia’s Century Cinema and Magic Cinema in Naalya.
The forums and workshops included film making courses, lighting and sound management master classes. On the other hand, forums lectured film makers on marketing and distribution, how to benefit in festivals as well as increasing quality and quantity through collaborating among each other.
In one of the forums, both South African actress and Irene Kulabako concurred that before Ugandan film makers even dream of collaborating with international directors, they should embark on working with each other and the others will follow automatically.
However, even when the festival was billed to have cost Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) a whooping 4billion, the actors, directors and film producers were not impressed. Prince Joel Nakibinge, director Behind the walls and Robert Nkambo, Spying on Suzana both agreed that since the inception of the concept last year, nothing has changed.
“Film makers still struggle to get their products on the market and TV content is not regulated,” Nakibinge says, in fact many others were in line with him, for them, the festival is just a one off thing per year; “when it’s done, they forget all about film,” says Hussein Omar director of The Counselor.
Also during the week long show cases, some film makers were worried of a fact that films were showing in only exotic cinemas which can’t be accessed by their core audience.
In her keynote address, Patience Ozokwor, the Nigerian actress, came to the defense of UCC saying that the mere fact that the Ugandan government can start a festival is already a good start for the industry since many other countries have not had that chance.
She also pleaded with UCC to recognize an area that can be set up as a film village plus send kids to school to study better technics so as to better movies with time.
Femi Odugbemi, the head of the judge panel, an award winning film maker and also a head judge of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) 2013 and 2014, appreciated all the people that submitted films calling it a brave move.
He though notes that the sound quality of many of the movies submitted was below per though the pictures and cinematography was highly commendable all through.
“The movies selected are generally strong and we recommend they screen at international festivals,” he said.
The list of winners presented some of the biggest surprises like Gilbert Kafuuma’s The 7-11 beating Vince Musisi’s Nyugunya in the Best Student Film or Alex Musisi’s The Vow emerging as the Best Animation over Arms of Clay.
It was also a surprise that The Reform and Spying on Suzana lost all the awards to fellow nominees. Kadzu dedicated his Best male actor gong to single mothers since he was brought up by one.
Other winners included twelve year old Rachel Nduhukire whose character in I found my way earned her the Special mention award. Ebonies JW Ssembajwe won the Lifetime achievement award amidst protest and Tanzanian Film Zamora picking the best sound and Cinematography.
This year, there were no make up or costume categories, then for some reasons, the best supporting actor and actress categories are still missing which in the end pits leads and their assists in a single competition.
The awards this year were more competitive and as only Patience could put it; “Uganda has content and stories that can’t be exhausted.”
Patience Ozwokor delivers her keynote speech

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