UCC injects UGX 1.2 billion to boost local content creation

The 14 winners were selected from 168 entries by a team of experts led by Prof. Sr. Dominic Dipio of Makerere.
Under the first cohort of 2021, 4 projects were awarded grants, of which 2 have been completed while 2 others are on course.

Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has granted Shillings 1.2 billion to 14 locally scripted film and drama projects as part of their Content Development Support Program’s second cohort. Launched in 2021, the first cohort had 4 winners, while this year, 14 projects secured the grants.

Julian Mweheire, the director for industry and content development at the UCC, highlighted the fund’s purpose: supporting end-to-end content development, ensuring high production quality to elevate Uganda’s image on global platforms, and fostering competitiveness with international productions.

“The purpose of this fund is to support an end-to-end process for content development, ensure the quality of production, to be able to enhance the image of Uganda, match ourselves against international productions, and showcase these productions on global platforms,” said Mweheire.

Mweheire emphasized the fund’s revolving nature, where proceeds from the developed films will cycle back to UCC for future beneficiaries. The grant disbursement will occur in stages throughout the filmmaking process.

Regarding Uganda’s film industry, Mweheire acknowledged its struggle due to limited funding. However, with robust support, she believes it holds vast potential for youth employment, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth.

“What we are looking for is more people to get into the creative sector, because we see in countries like Nigeria, that this sector creates a big portion of their GDP. We believe as a country based on our creativity, and storylines, we will be able to create good employment opportunities for our youth,” she said.

Ayenyi from Tonga Media, one of the winning companies, expressed immense hope and gratitude. He sees this grant not only as a personal opportunity but as a catalyst for the entire film industry. With over a decade in filmmaking, Ayenyi views the UCC initiative as a beacon of hope for content creators, though he acknowledges the industry still requires substantial support.

“This doesn’t just give hope to me as a filmmaker, but also to other people out there who are interested in the film industry. I don’t only feel lucky but blessed as well and I believe that this is a chance and season that has been given to me and I will have to use it very well such that it benefits others because as said this is a revolving fund,” he said.

The 14 winners spanned five categories: animations, short films, features, documentaries, and television dramas, each receiving grants according to their budget requirements. Sister Dominic Dipio, leading the assessment team, emphasized the professionalism and impartiality of the selection process. She urged the chosen artists to fulfill expectations and maintain the industry’s reputation.

Dipio highlighted the rigorous selection from 168 applications, focusing on principles such as story originality, Ugandan heritage, project feasibility, marketability, and the film’s impact or relevance. “There is so much to hope for in this industry, which will make us all beneficiaries in the long run,” she said. She believes these chosen projects signal a promising future for Uganda’s film industry and a beneficial outcome for all involved stakeholders.

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