After the success of the series Hostel, (which was screened on NTV Uganda and NTV Kenya) a new Ugandan-produced television series [email protected] has made it to Fox Life, (aired by MultiChoice) where it premiered in June.
[email protected] is a drama about a family of five going through a major change in their lives prompted by a difficult economic environment in the country after the national election.
The story is based on the family of a former high flyer Henry Muwonge, the head of the Muwonge family. He loses his government job after the election, forcing him to downgrade the family lifestyle.
He also loses the family home in the affluent neighbourhood of Upper Kololo, a leafy suburb of Kampala where the Muwonges counted diplomats and the who is-who of society as neighbours, and move to humble dwellings after the bank recalled all loans and the house was the only asset available to mortgage.
Grace, the matriarch of the Muwonge family, and the children are unhappy that their social status and privileges have take a turn for the worse. They complain about the food, access to toys and their not so fancy clothes. Grace is particularly unhappy about having to look for a job to supplement the now meagre family income.
Secrets, betrayals, disobedient and dishonest children are just the tip of the iceberg of the Muwonge family problems. The show evokes a roller coaster of emotions from empathy and anger to laughter and tension right from episode one.
“All the roles in the show are designed to oscillate along the emotional spectrum,” says executive producer Richard Geria.
[email protected] went into production in the last quarter of 2015. It is produced by Fast Track Production Limited and was shot in Mutungo, a suburb of Kampala in Nakawa division.
The show, bought by CoteQuest audiovisuel, is the first produced in Uganda to reach an international platform. CoteQuest Audiovisuel is a content distributor company with a big footprint in the global network of broadcasters.
Mr Geria further explained that [email protected] was specifically produced for an audience like that of Fox Life, which is multicultural.
“Fox Life is core to our global entertainment portfolio and its entry into this market signals Fox Networks Group’s continued investment in Africa,” said Gary Alfonso, general manager, Fox Networks Group Africa.
Mr Geria further said: “We created relationships with different key players in the market and industry across the continent and the world, reached out to intermediaries focused on marketing of TV content in Africa,” he said.
“An important point of difference for [email protected] is its design. The format followed in this show has an episodic narration; the sweet voice of a young member of the Muwonge family expressing a sentiment about the family,” he explained.
Douglas Kasule, a Ugandan film director, said issues such as poor production quality, poor pictures, sound and design tend to work against most Ugandan productions when compared with international standards.
The other reason is that most producers don’t know how to connect with content buyers and distributors of high end networks, and don’t even know the standards and specifications these networks and channels look for in content.
The success of Hollywood productions based on Ugandan stories such as Last King of Scotland, Queen of Katwe and Wakaliwood has opened the doors for the Ugandan film industry. Therefore, [email protected] showing on Fox Life is a major boost for Ugandan production houses.
As the executive producer of this show, Mr Geria feels that this breakthrough is “a vindication that quality can come from Uganda.
“I told the team not to benchmark this show on any show; instead they were to benchmark on their skills and stretch it to the absolute best,” adding that the entire value chain from pre-production planning, writing, filming, editing and post-production focused on delivering quality in a tight commercial setting.