The standing ovation for filmmaker, Hassan Mageye, was all too humbling. His feature film Devil’s Chest had screened twice and attracted full houses. It was screened at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA.
The movie is about Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader, Joseph Kony, and the effects the war insurgency has had on the people of Northern Uganda.
The focus is on a village woman who has had to fight for her freedom after being forced to be a concubine of the rebel leader who is responsible for not only her husband’s death but also many other people.
“Getting a chance to have my movie premiere to a different audience and culture means a lot to me as a filmmaker. I have seen and observed how a world premiere looks like in terms of the preparations when it comes to set-up question and answers and press interviews,” an ecstatic Mageya told Daily Monitor.
This follows a trail of success for the film, having won accolades for the best Feature Film, best Film Costume, best Editing and Post-production and best music and Sound categories in the Uganda Film Festival last year.
In light of the festival, Mageye says that the sold-out premiere is a good step in the right direction for the film industry in Uganda since its culture and history was represented through the film.
Devil’s Chest was the only feature film from Uganda screened at the festival. Mageye started working on the film on 2015 and it took him two years to complete and release it.
He submitted the movie to the festival and it got shortlisted and selected for two screenings, which turned out to be world premieres.
“We were able to attract full houses because the festival is well-advertised and also, the storyline of the film is interesting both locally and international,” he added.
The movie was shot in Uganda in Kaazi, off Entebbe road as well as in Gulu and Kitgum in Northern Uganda. Ugandan actors Samuel Rogers Masaba acts as Kony while Hasifa Nande Nakitende acts as the rebel leader’s wife.
For the filmmaker, putting together the film was a dream come true. “It was a hustle, an experience that I had never gone through because I had to respect all the steps in making a film. It was not simply about getting done with the movie but getting the best so it turned out to be time consuming and so for finances but in the end, it is worth the investment,” Mageye explains.
It has received good reception locally and internationally and the filmmaker is optimistic about inking some international distribution deals. He is now looking at further raising the bar by pushing boundaries to produce even better works that can market Uganda as he tells the country’s unique, untold stories.
Mageye is a graduate of journalism from Makerere University who decided to go into filmmaking after watching a poorly done movie. His filmography include works like House Girl, The Tailor, Kinkuuta, King’s Virgin, Invisible Cuffs, and Cursed Money among others.
Like many Ugandan filmmakers, he decries the low commercial returns on film projects and has continued to do film out of passion and desire to convince more Ugandans and film lovers to choose and buy Ugandan films off shelves in film stores.