The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has taken a significant step towards enhancing the country’s local content by introducing regional film competitions. These competitions aim to acknowledge, reward, and promote exceptional films and talent across various regions in Uganda.
UCC issued an official invitation to filmmakers on November 1, 2023, announcing that the competitions would encompass different regions of Uganda, including Northern (Moroto), Eastern (Jinja), Central (Mityana), and Western (Kasese).
The primary goal of these regional film competitions, according to the communications regulator, is to encourage diversity, cultivate audiences, and establish connections to promote local content.
Filmmakers in Uganda have been invited to submit original content across various categories, including feature films, short films, documentaries, and television drama series, with a submission deadline of December 31, 2023.
Regional film competitions have played a pivotal role in projecting Ugandan content onto the global stage, showcasing the finest films from every region.
The Ugandan film industry, often referred to as ‘Kinauganda,’ is one of the fastest-growing film sectors in Africa. It was officially launched in 2005 and has made consistent progress ever since. Television channels like Maisha Magic Movies have been instrumental in spotlighting the industry’s growth.
In July 2023, Uganda received the highest number of nominations at the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA), often likened to the African Oscars. These accolades were in recognition of Ugandan stories and storytellers, with 17 nominations spanning various categories, thanks to initiatives like regional film festivals and competitions.
The impact of these film festivals and competitions is evident in the transformation of the Ugandan film industry. There have been substantial improvements in plot, storylines, sound, lighting, costumes, and editing. Even individuals who have undergone professional training in filmmaking have benefited from these initiatives, raising the overall quality of the industry.
Experts estimate that the Ugandan audio-visual industry directly employs around 5,000 people and indirectly supports 10,000 more. These figures are likely to be higher since a significant portion of the sector operates informally.
The introduction of regional film competitions aligns with UCC’s Content Development Support Programme (CDSP), a dedicated effort to bolster the audio-visual industry in Uganda. This program extends support to Ugandan production companies and individuals involved in the development of audio-visual content, including feature films, short films, animations, documentaries, and television dramas.
The CDSP’s broader vision is to create employment opportunities, generate revenue, foster skill development, and cultivate audiences for local content within Uganda.
In the fiscal year 2020/2021, the commission placed emphasis on supporting the development and production of local films that showcase Ugandan culture and tourism.
The Content Development Support Programme is designed to achieve several objectives, including increasing the competitiveness of Ugandan audio-visual content both domestically and internationally. It also aims to boost the production of audio-visual content, creating a diverse range of content and employment opportunities within the audio-visual industry.
Furthermore, the program seeks to cultivate and expand audiences for Ugandan audio-visual content, while also positioning and marketing Uganda as an attractive destination for international film productions and co-productions.