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Ugandan films feted at Africa Day celebration

Hilda Awori, the actor behind the documentary film I Won’t Kneel. Photo/Courtesy

The Africa Day celebrations that were hosted by Idris Elba, brought to the fore African films that rarely get a chance in cinemas.

Since the lockdown was announced and later lifted in 2020, there are sectors that have remained closed, for example the arts and culture.
This is not only in Uganda. Different parts of the world are still tinkering with ways recreation can open up without necessarily exposing the people involved or those that enjoy it to the deadly coronavirus.

This explains why this year, from the Grammy Awards to the Academy Awards, it has been mostly a virtual affair.
In Africa, this did not change. The Africa Day Concert and galas that have always punctuted the day, saw many organisers of these activities such as MTV Base and DSTV too went virtual.

For example, artistes Azawi, Fik Fameica and Eddy Kenzo made appearances on this year’s Africa Day Concert that was hosted by Idris Elba, yet the other way round, Ugandan filmmakers too got their moment on the pay TV’s programmings and documentaries that were highlighting filmmakers from the continent.

Swang Avenue’s Azawi made an appearance at the Africa Day concert. Photo/ courtesy

This year’s celebrations had almost started a month ago, and during a virtual gathering, they had highlighted the challenges of working during the pandemic and ways they have manouvered.
The Africa Week brought to the fore African films that rarely get a chance in cinemas such as Family Meeting from Kenya, Promises and Nsulo, two collaborative efforts between film students from Uganda and Kenya but one of the outstanding moments during these random screenings was the premiere of I Won’t Kneel,a documentary film by Hilda Awori.

Awori starts her story by talking about Uganda and how different cultures in the country expect women or girls to kneel down as a sign of showing respect to their elders.
The documentary then dives into topics of how she refused to kneel for anyone, something that has left her with many questions about her own identity. But this is not a documentary about kneeling, it is just a face of issues women in her society are facing and what many of them think about them.

For example, she talks to a teacher who reveals that boys and girls need to be treated in the same way but culture has not allowed that to happen.
In 2018, Awori was one of the different Ugandans that were admitted for the full year filmmaking course with the MultiChoice Talent Factory in 2018. After graduating, she has worked with different local filmmakers but above all, ventured into making documentary films, an art many local filmmakers loathe.

I Won’t Kneel was earlier this year nominated for the Best Documentary Film at the Uganda Film Festival, an award the film easily won.
Besides I Won’t Kneel though, there were other Ugandan films celebrated such as Engaito and 94 Terror.

akaggwa@ug.nationmedia.com

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