Kony story wins film of the year

Sunday September 10 2017

The UCC executive director, Godfrey Mutabazi

The UCC executive director, Godfrey Mutabazi (in checked jacket) handing over some of the goodies that came with the 2017 Film of the Year Award to Hassan Mageye (in blue jacket) for his film Devil’s Chest. Pic: Courtesy  

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A film on the life of the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony, played by Samuel Rogers Masaba, has won the 2017 Film of the Year award at the 5th edition of the Uganda Film Festival (UFF) that ended on September 1.

The film, Devil’s Chest by Hassan Mageye, tells the story Kony’s personal life in the bush, sex slavery, the suffering of civilians and the general atrocities of war as committed by the LRA rebels in northern Uganda. 

Over 150 films ranging from comedy, drama, horror and national history were entered in this year’s edition which the international jury praised for the improved production quality and compelling art of storytelling by the screen writers.

“The jury, in their assessment, found the short film category particularly reflective of this progress,” said Sister Dr Dominic Dipio (Uganda) the head of the jury.

The other jurors were Prof. Abraham Linus (Ghana); Leonce Ngabo (Burundi); George Sengendo (Uganda) and Fibby Kioria (Uganda).

“Filmmakers in this category have applied well the art of elliptical storytelling. This is a remarkable improvement from entries of previous years. The jury is also glad to affirm the continued presence of strong actors and actresses, who enchantingly interpret and act out their roles,” Sister Dipio added at the awards gala night held at the Kampala Serena Hotel on September 1.  

According to the jury, the remarkable improvement in the technical quality of many of the films is an indication of how the artists are continually pushing themselves and perfecting their art, through the training opportunities and workshops provided by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), who are the festival organisers.

This year’s edition was held across several cinemas halls in Kampala and Entebbe from August 28 to September 1.

Several specific recommendations were given to festival organisers, filmmakers and the audience.

First, that UFF create a People’s Choice Award through which the public can vote for the film that appealed to them.

Second, that films entered in the competition be of overall high quality. For instance, local language films must be subtitled, “to make accessible to both the jury and the public. A subtitle is part of the identity of a film, and more attention needs to be paid to it,” they said.

Third, that a full-time curator be found to identify, collect and archive films from Uganda and the region. “This will encourage filmmakers from the region to enter their films in the festival,” Sr Dipio, who is also a filmmaker and an Associate Professor at Makerere University said.

“Related to this, we encourage the screening of out-of-competition films during the festival. Such films could come from anywhere around the world, and should be included on the basis of their artistic excellence and technical quality.

This is a way of exposing Ugandan filmmakers to films that could be inspiring as they grapple with perfecting their craft,” she added.

Fourth, that the Best Sound and Best Music Scoring categories be separated. “The two require different expertise and competencies, and this needs to be recognised as such,” they said.

On the same line, the jury underlined the role and importance of the producer in the film production process.

“Currently, the producer’s role is largely invisible and its centrality in the industry seems not to be well appreciated. They need to be recognised in their own right,” Sr Dipio said.

Fifth, that the UCC introduces an international film category award to raise the bar of competitiveness and create opportunities for co-productions.

Sixth, that carefully selected films be identified to be screened at opening and closing ceremonies of the festival. They argued that the opening film is extremely important because it creates the impression and tone of the festival.


• Judges Choice Award:

Michael Wawuyo Senior

• Best Student Film:

Last Breath by Jordan Braise

• Best Short Film:

Rehema, by Allan Manzi

• Best Documentary:

Zzina, by Joy Kirabo

• Best Screenplay:

Rain, by Daniel Mugerwa

• Best TV Drama:

Yat Madit, by Media Focus on Africa

• Best Actor in a TV Drama:

Michael Wawuyo Junior – Yat Madit

• Best Actress in a TV Drama:

Rehema Nanfuka - Yat Madit

• Best Costume and Production Design:

Devil’s Chest, by Hassan Mageye

• Best Cinematography:

Devil’s Chest, by Hassan Mageye

• Best Sound:

Devil’s Chest, by Hassan Mageye

• Best Editing and Post-Production:

Devil’s Chest, by Hassan Mageye

• Best Feature Film:

Devil’s Chest, by Hassan Mageye

• Best East African Film:

What Goes Around by Kang’ethe Mungai (Kenya)

• Best Actor (Film):

Raymond Rushabiro - The Torture

• Best Actress (Film):

Joan Agaba - The Torture

• Film of the Year (awarded to the director):

Devil’s Chest, by Hassan Mageye