Film and theater has for the past few years taken the backseat as music and comedy grew bigger but the positivism and anticipation surrounding the forthcoming Amakula International Film Festival speaks volumes.
The Uganda Museum will host Amakula’s 10th edition starting on the 16th– 20th March 2016; for five days. The festival is billed to have a daily drive in cinema experience, screening of both in-competition and out of competition students and independent films, documentaries, short stories, animations, workshops for children and discussions with film makers and actors from Uganda and beyond,” says the new festival director, Faisal Kiwewa.
The return edition is curated by Bayimba Cultural Foundation’s Faisal Kiwewa, Caroline Christgau of Geothe Zentrum, Arlen Dilsizian of Kampala Film School, with content advice from Maisha Film Lab’s Fibby Kioria and entrance will be Shs50,000 for a full festival pass.
Currently, many people feel that while Amakula Film Festival is a good idea, it is not quite meeting Uganda’s film makers’ needs. Sister Dominic Dipio, a film maker and a senior lecturer of film at Makerere University, says that the quality of films which are to be shown this year has improved a great deal but admits that the turn up was low in the past editions. “I was really disappointed by the turn up in the 5th edition but I hope it improves because of the hungry people have,” she says.
Here’s EagleOnline weighing in with their festival favourites…

5.Bala Bala Sese – Uganda: A boyfriend’s battle for love through perseverance. In the outskirts of Sese Island, John (Michael Kasaija) is madly in love with Maggie and both are willing to take their love forward.

Natasha Sinayobye as Maggie in Bala Bala Sese a Ugandan film directed by Lukyamuzi Bashir
Natasha Sinayobye as Maggie in Bala Bala Sese a Ugandan film directed by Lukyamuzi Bashir
4. Timbuktu – Mali:The city of Timbuktu is under the occupation of Islamists bearing a jihadist black flag. Kidane is a cattle herder who lives outside of the city. One day, one of his cows accidentally damages the net of a fisherman. The enraged fisherman kills the cow. Kidane confronts the fisherman and accidentally shoots him dead.
3. Dar Noir – Tanzania: DAVID NYASARO is a messed up, bottom feeding, mental and physical mess. Failing at his job, sleeping in his car, living on booze and a needle in his arm… he couldn’t really get much lower. But he does. He decides to take home the drugs from a major bust instead of reporting it in order to sell the shit himself. And while it seems like he has the plan all figured out, everything slowly falls away from him in epic fashion. Local drug dealer and pimp MUSTAPHA starts looking for his stolen dope, a container truck full of smuggled girls who wound up dead, and the missing driver who could connect them all, David included.darnoir
2. Black President – Zimbabwe: Black Presidents follows the story of Zimbabwean artist Kudzunai Chiurai as he develops his newest art exhibit, called ‘State of the Nation.’ In Mpumi’s words: In this film we question the responsibility of African artists in an ever more globalized universe, where we maybe find ourselves “playing catch up” to the West as opposed to following our own paths. Are we victims of our past – forever beholden to our so called arrested development or is our superpower our burden? Will we ever be truly free to express without having to necessarily represent all our people in our every breath or is the need to be that kind of free simply irresponsible?”

1.The Felista Fables – Uganda: Felista is cursed. She stinks. No one can stand to stay near her. This causes her to separate from her family and live as a lonely outcast in an abandoned house. But one day, a witchdoctor finds a solution. A cry-baby man can inherit the smell from her. Felistas is hesitant to grab the opportunity, because she does not want another person to live through the pain that she has, but she longs to reunite with her husband and child. So she kidnaps such a man, Dan, who is a virgin desperate to get married.

A scene from The Felista Fables
A scene from The Felista Fables
Amakula is Uganda’s oldest independent film festival that aims to contribute to a vibrant local film industry, by broadening access to and developing audiences for quality African film production; inspiring local film makers to produce quality local films based on own stories; facilitating, presenting and promoting local film productions and distribution; and offering a professional networking platform for the film making community in East Africa and beyond.