Cinema of Uganda

The emerging film industry in Uganda is known as Ugawood[1] or sometimes Kinauganda by the locals.[2] The 2005 production Feelings Struggle directed by Ashraf Ssemwogerere is credited with being the first Ugawood film.[3] Many have asserted that this steadily growing film industry is derived from Hollywood, in the same manner as Nollywood and Bollywood.[4][5] In a story that ran in a local newspaper in Uganda about the naming of the industry, filmmakers Kuddzu Isaac, Matt Bish and Usama Mukwaya were quoted as saying that Ugawood would be the most appropriate name for the industry.[6]

Audiences go to video halls where narrators called "video jokers" translate the dialogue and add their own commentary.[7] Patrons also rent DVDs and watch feature films on prime-time TV.[8]

Some films are funded by NGOs through cultural grants.[9] Other films are produced with DIY equipment and low production budgets. Despite low production budgets, Uganda's film industry is quite productive. Isaac Nabwana's Ramon Film Productions, based in Wakaliga near Kampala, has produced more than 40 low-budget action films over the last 10 years. The studio is best known for its 2010 film Who Killed Captain Alex?, which cost $85 to produce.[10]

The Industry also has a strong and acclaimed film player since 2013. Jayant Maru of MAHJ Productions who has given Uganda gems at the BOX Office like The Route[11] K3NT & KAT3[12] AND Sipi (film) which have not only been nominated in several international festivals but has also brought back home a number of accolades, not forgetting having his films available on Amazon Prime plus in-flight entertainment platforms.[13]

The Uganda Communications Commission organizes the Uganda Film Festival to promote the film industry.[14] In 2013, the film State Research Bureau swept four awards.[15] In 2014, The Felistas Fable won four awards, including Best Director for Dilman Dila. The Pearl International Film Festival is held annually in Kampala.

In 2019, the film Kony Order from Above was the first Ugandan film to be submitted for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.[16][17]

Notable people and companies

See also


  1. "Ugawood, the Way Forward for Film Makers". The Monitor. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  2. "Local Film Distributors Raise the Flag of Kinauganda". The Monitor. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  3. "Ugawood in, Hollywood, Nollywood out". The Monitor. 7 February 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  4. Ogwang, Daniel. "The Observer". Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2013-01-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. Kamukama, Polly. "The Observer". Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  7. Venema, Vibeke (2015-05-13). "Uganda's Tarantino and his $200 action movies". BBC News.
  8. "Coming to you live". The Economist. 2 Nov 2012.
  9. "Guno Mukwano? (Is This Love?)".
  10. "ALAN HOFMANIS INTERVIEW – What Up, Son?! LIVE @ 9:30 PM CST". Double Toasted. July 8, 2019.
  11. Archived copy, archived from the original on 2017-11-15, retrieved 2017-11-14CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. Archived copy, archived from the original on 2015-10-07, retrieved 2017-11-14CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. Spotlight on Ugandan Film 'THE ROUTE' Directed by Jayant Maru
  14. "Uganda Film Festival - Background and Objectives".
  15. "» 2013 Award Winners".
  16. "Ugandan movie Kony-Orders from Above selected for Oscar Awards". Showbiz Uganda. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  17. "Kony Order from Above movie selected for Oscar Awarss in a first for Uganda". Softpower. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
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