KAMPALA — The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has pledged to support Uganda’s film sector—describing the industry as an important platform that helps in the promotion and preservation of culture and heritage.
Officiating at the 10th Uganda Film Festival (UFF) Gala Night on Friday, Tayebwa said the government is counting on the film industry to showcase to the world the importance of culture.
“We need locally made films like never before to shape a new narrative of a progressive and highly gifted country that can rely on creatives for transformation,” Tayebwa told filmmakers.
He said Uganda Parliament will help to advocate for the creation of a conducive environment for the growth of the creative industry, so it can make a unique contribution to cultural expression.
“Parliament’s oversight role in Ugandan Film can help in alleviating the challenges facing this industry by advocating for the creation of a conducive environment for filming and investing in our industry,” he said.
“Right now, there is a virus called piracy which we must fight by all means so that our local content creators can reap their rewards fully from the content they are making,” the Deputy Speaker pledged.
The Uganda Film Festival is an annual celebration of Uganda’s best talent in the film Industry where leading actors, actresses, film directors, scriptwriters, and other creatives are recognized for their outstanding role in the development of the film entertainment industry.
On funding shortfalls crippling the sector, Tayebwa urged filmmakers to organize themselves so that the government could support them.
“The government can’t ignore you if you’re in an organised group,” he said.
“We just passed a budget of UGX51 trillion against priorities of UGX 234 trillion. So for you to be relevant, to be included in that, you have to be very organized. I urge the players in the film industry to get organized, and then we have data on how best we can support you.”
He commended the Uganda Communications Commission for promoting the film industry for the last 10 years.
He said UCC’s 10 years of consistency has been key in preparing local content on our screens.
“That certainly translates into finances, grouping into the pockets of those in the industry”.
During the Uganda Film Festival, organized by UCC, various activities are carried out to showcase Ugandan talent in the Film Exhibition Market, Film Training, Film Forums & workshops, Film screenings, and an Awards Gala night.
The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Dr Chris Baryomunsi in a speech read by Permanent Secretary Dr. Amina Zawedde said the industry if we’ll supported can help to employ a huge chunk of the young people.
“You the young people, you have the creative minds, you have the innovative minds, use them to the best of your ability in various spheres. The film industry is one of those that will take us this far in this journey,” he said.
He said the Uganda film industry has made tremendous strides in addressing many of the challenges it initially set out to tackle including successfully promoting Ugandan films in regional and international markets.
“This accomplishment reflects the efforts of Ugandan filmmakers who have effectively marketed our country on a global scale attracting more investors and tourists, thereby fostering economic development,” he said.
“Equally impressive is the improvement in the quality of our films and a substantial increase in the exhibition of local content by our television stations, which has risen from 30% to an impressive 60%. As has been reported, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the broadcasters who have embraced that appeal to promote local content and I urge those who are yet to comply to embrace the spirits of Uganda build Uganda”.
Dr. Baryomunsi called upon all Ugandans to support the local film industry.
“We cannot solely rely on broadcasters to showcase more local content if the general public neglects it. That is if no televisions are showing these things and we’re not watching them then it wouldn’t make any economic sense. But if we value them and watch them and promote them, and share them, they will take the industry to greater heights. It is essential to cultivate a culture of willingness among Ugandans to pay for the works of the local creative industry. This support can take various forms that include purchasing tickets for fields shown in cinemas, subscribing to streaming services, or engaging with paid content on online platforms by paying for creative works, audiences directly contribute to the sustainability and growth of this industry,” he added.
He said the collective effort will ultimately contribute to the overall economic development of the film industry and in turn boost the nation’s economy as a whole.
UCC acting Executive Director Eng. Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo said the local film industry is a sector that has a great opportunity to create employment.
“For our Uganda that is so young, we need the jobs and government can’t absorb all of them. So where do we find the job? This is an industry that provides that opportunity,” she said.
The UCC Executive Director urged Ugandans to embrace local content.
We want to thank all those who made their entries not even just this year but over the years. You step forward, you told the Ugandan story. We are saying this is the Ugandan life. This is what happens in Uganda. This is the talent Uganda has so we applaud those who have been brave enough to step out there. We applaud those who have supported them. The partners we have worked with,” Eng. Kaggwa said.
“We’ve also achieved professionalism, the quality has improved because of the training that we have done. Over the years we’ve trained more than 500 participants in different fields, cameras, and sound light, and this year, we decided to take it a notch higher,” Eng. Kaggwa said—assuring filmmakers of continued support.
“For as long as the government allows us, we do not intend to abandon this sector. We pledge to work with all of you, the actors, and all the stakeholders. We hear you let’s build this together. Let us build the Uganda we want so that we see the success that we all desire.”