Industries in Uganda have tried to find their spark through associations.
For instance, in 2014, when local artistes realised foreign music, especially that from Nigeria was getting a hold of their cake, they protested and later forged a committee and some association.
Three years later, there was more Nigerian music playing on Kampala radio stations that sparked the Save Ugandan Music campaign but there were more pressing issues – their loyalties were not being remitted.
Again, another association was created to manage all that. And it is not so different from the other arts. For instance, the film industry has for years struggled for recognition in vain.
Even with the presence of a big budget under the Uganda Film Festival (UFF), the industry has struggled to attract an audience that is willing to stand with it through thick and thin. For instance, even when the Uganda Communication Commission has for seven years sponsored UFF, they are yet to deliver on the promise of having local stations programme at least 70 per cent local productions and making matters worse, the image of the local film industry is always viewed in the frame of one viral film, Who killed Captain Alex.
Many people believe that is the best the industry can offer, which belief has taken a lot from the industry than it has contributed.
Which makes Friday’s preview of director and writer Loukman Ali’s new film Blind Date such an important one.
Loukman alongside talented friends Usama Mukwaya, a producer, and Andrew Ahurra, a sound producer, have come together, this time, not to form an association but find a solution to one of the Ugandan industry’s big problems – exhibition.
Together, they are starting some form of movement dedicated to producing high quality Ugandan content that will be availed to people on platforms such as YouTube and other social media platforms.
“This is beyond showcasing that Ugandans make films, this is us showing that Uganda has a film industry and people that can do all the things other industries do,” Loukman says, adding that in the past, people have been coming to Uganda for projects, but since they don’t trust Uganda to have the manpower to do some things, they end up hiring expatriates.
The film Blind Date is a labour of love from everyone on the project, neither the crew or acting talent of Michael Wawuyo, Martha Kay, River Dan Rugaju, Raymond Rushabiro, Patrick Nkakalukanyi or Allen Musumba was paid.
The 30 minute crime drama follows a kidnapper that succeeds at collecting a hefty ransom, however, instead of leaving town, he decides to stay around since no one knew what he looked like.
It’s a fast paced drama compared to the many Ugandans produce but what makes it even more outstanding are the production values.
Partly, one of the reasons Ahurra noted for having the film at the cinema was to allow Ugandans appreciate it’s 360 degrees Dolby surround sound, it’s something many may not experience if they watch it on YouTube come February 14.
The film will however be available at the cinema starting February 12 before it’s availed on YouTube two days later.