Local filmmakers used the final screening night of the Amakula International Film Festival on Sunday at the Uganda Museum in Kampala to express their ‘outrage’ towards the government’s commitment towards empowering the film industry.
They stated that it is unfair for the Media Council (Uganda’s censorship board) wanting to benefit from an industry they are not supporting.
“I find it ridiculous for Media Council to charge a very high fee on a finished film without caring a single bit on how it got made,” Faisal Kiwewa, the festival’s new director, told journalists.
The Media Council, through its Film Classification Secretariat, charges a classification fee of Shs 150,000 and $150 (about Shs 500,000) for local and foreign films of up to 120 minutes runtime, respectively.
For each extra minute, the Council surcharges Shs2,000 and $5 (about Shs16,000) for local and foreign films, respectively.
Kiwewa also said starting next year, festival organisers will run a fund aimed at benefiting Ugandan filmmakers in line with the new Amakula’s five-year development plan which focuses on developing the local film industry holistically.
Amakula arguably Uganda’s oldest and most revered independent annual cinema showcase returned after a three year nonappearance and its tenth edition running from 16-20th came under new hands of Bayimba Foundation, Goethe Zentrum and Kampala Film School, following the exit of a Dutch-American couple: Alice Smits and Lee Elickson.
Many film makers including Queen of Katwe director Mira Nair and enthusiasts enjoyed a drive-in experiences evoking memories of Ugandans film industry in the 1960-80s.