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Govt measures to boost the local film industry in the offing

The Acting Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, James Ebitu and Secretary General Uganda National Commission for UNESCO, Rosie Agoi unveiling the project in September 2020 (PHOTO /File)

KAMPALA —The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development is set to present to Parliament a list of measures designed by experts to bolster the film industry in Uganda.

The development was disclosed by Ms. Juliana Akoryo, Commissioner of Culture, Ministry of Gender during the final European Union/UNESCO Uganda Film project review workshop.

Ms. Akoryo who spoke via zoom said that following a series of successful engagement with stakeholders, the project experts are finalizing the proposed measures for the development of the film industry in Uganda, together with an implementation plan—noting that these will be presented to parliament for formal adoption.

The new measures include; establishment of a national film grant, subsidisation of local film distribution/exhibition and establishment of a national film training programme.

The other measure will involve subsidisation of filmmaking equipment.

Ms. Akoryo thanked EU/UNESCO and other partners for their generous support.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to discuss the development of the film industry in Uganda with experts and scholars from relevant industries, and this project could not have progressed without the strong and continued support of the European Union and UNESCO, ” she said.

Experts during the last capacity-building workshop reviewed specific technical aspects relating to the proposed measures and discussed a film policy formulation among other issues.

Over 30 industry stakeholders attended the workshop, both physically at the National Theatre in Kampala, and virtually via Zoom.

Mr. Polly Kamukama, a film specialist who worked as a national expert for the UNESCO funded project said in his presentation that the project involved extensive consultations, capacity building workshops, peer-to-peer learning with other countries and engagements with civil society organisations among other activities.

“The Project was conducted in three phases (known as Missions) plus two peer-to-peer engagements with South Africa and Kenya,” he said.

Kamukama also noted that these once adopted by Parliament will address the main challenges affecting Uganda’s nascent film industry including limited access to funding, limited market, limited access to filmmaking equipment and inadequate skills.

Other areas discussed include the role of civil society in the development of Uganda’s film industry; How to ensure effective and accountable service delivery to the film sector and Evaluation mechanisms and implementation time frames for the project.

Others topics were importance of public funding to the local film sector; the legal processes involved with policy formulation and implementation and the importance of public-private partnership in the development of the local film sector.

Following the guidance of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and through the various projects funded by the UNESCO-EU partnership for the governance of culture, UNESCO has been supporting the development of the Film industry in Africa.

As part of the 27th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso, UNESCO will launch a new report on “Africa’s film industry: trends, challenges and opportunities for growth” during a High-Level Panel on 21 October 2021.

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