African business, politics and lifestyle
Welcome to Ugawood
Welcome to Ugawood, Uganda’s fledgling movie industry.
The country’s film-makers may only have limited production skills and equipment but they’re determined to grow the industry until it can compete with Nigeria’s Nollywood and other more established film industries in Africa.
“We’ve just started, I believe Nigerians are somewhere … but we will get there as time goes on,” film director Joseph Mabirizi told Reuters Africa Journal.
About 30 movies are released every year in Ugawood compared to 70 every week in Nigeria’s Nollywood. Government investment in Ugandan film is still lacking and most movies are shot on digital cameras with tight budgets.
Sought-after actors like Aisha Kyomuhanji make about $260 per movie. She works on various projects at a time, to make more money.
“I’m not satisfied the way they pay me but I am someone that can wait until I get what I want because I know if I go on acting the demand will increase, people will come looking for me,” she says.
Until Ugandans started producing their own films many people here watched Nigerian movies. But local productions are popular because viewers can easily relate to them.
Ugawood has already made a name for itself here, but those in the film industry will have to work harder to improve quality and take full advantage of a market that’s getting more interested in local productions. They will have to work harder still to compete in the international market.
And they will have to work harder still to compete with Hollywood’s 2006 hit “The Last King of Scotland”, for which Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for his portrayal of the late Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.