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The Ugandan Film Industry Needs To Be Streamlined - Filmmaker Cindy Magara

On the Groove Cafe yesterday, Film maker, Director and Lecturer Cindy Evelyn Magara remarked that the movie industry in Uganda needs to be streamlined if it is going to progress.

In an interview with RX Radio’s Crystal Newman on The Groove, Cindy who started producing films in her third year of University noted that although the industry was improving drastically, managing multiple roles solely by the filmmaker makes the process quite challenging.

“We've got a lot of Ugandans who are talented but their work has been halted at production because we don't have the producers. In Nigeria for example, a rich business person can get a filmmaker and then they invest in the movie and could spell out a few popular actors to partake in it such that they can make profits within say a week's time,” she said.

She added, “So that means the person contracted to direct will just work on the project and the producer will do the marketing unlike here where the director will write, produce and market a production which is a challenging stage for many,” she said.

Cindy, who derived her passion for movie making from her University where she majored in literature, said she was inspired by a section of her studies called ‘African Cinema’ where she got exposed to learning film studies, and since she had a passion to write, she conceived the idea of turning her written stories into movies.

One of her course units required her to write a script for a film where she came up with her very first movie named ‘Fate'; a film about a corporate woman who succumbs to the pressure of getting married and ends up contracting HIV/AIDS. According to Cindy, the movie was to encourage those living with HIV that they could deal positively with the virus.

The film soon registered success and became the first Ugandan film to be shown at Cineplex Cinema and on DSTv amidst challenges from the growing industry. With only a handful of people aware of the film, it was able to premiere with about 200 people. However, when she tried to promote it around the rest of the country, its debut flopped with no one turning up. She realized that people couldn't distinguish drama from film as the banner meant to advertise showed no faces of those expected to be in the movie.

“They thought it would be like Bakayimbira drama actors. I just stopped there because I thought that if those Entebbe were that ignorant, then I definitely wouldn't succeed in Hoima, Mbale or Mbarara,” she added. “I then decided to show it at campus, because I thought it would be more relevant to university students but surprisingly even Makerere University students didn't know the difference between film and drama.”

She said that is when she realized the industry needed a lot of promotion and support to raise public awareness about film. This didn't stop her from creating other movies though, because from the audience she understood that Ugandans loved to watch their own local stories.

However, she mentioned that some people who were unsupportive would often compare Ugandan movies to those produced in Hollywood without the knowledge of the finances involved in producing them.

Cindy Evelyn Magara has directed and produced several movies since 2006, such as Fate, Fair Play, Windows of Hope, A Book for Every Child and Breaking the Mesh. She also serves as a Lecturer of Film Studies and Literature at Makerere University.

The Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5pm on RX Radio.

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