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UCC hunts for film makers in Karamoja

Winners of the short film competition , Karamoja leaders and UCC officials in a group photo during award ceremony at Hotel Africana in Moroto district. PHOTO URN

Karamoja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) through the Uganda Film Festival has integrated the Karamoja sub-region into the Regional Film competition festivals to promote local content and diversity.

On Friday, the filmmakers drawn from Arua, Gulu, and Lango converged at Hotel Africana in Moroto district for the award ceremony that was aimed at persuading the Karamojong young people to join the industry.

The film makers mainly from Gulu and Lira merged winners and received cash prizes of between 1.5 and 2.5 million shillings respectively for various film categories. The winners also got to advance their skills and attain more knowledge at Cine Art Academy in Kampala.

Julianne Mweheire, Director of Industry Affairs and Content Development at Uganda Communication Commission said that the short film competition is intended to promote talent, appreciate the efforts of the filmmakers, and attract more players from Karamoja to join the industry.

Mweheire observed that the competition also helps to promote diversity and build linkages for the local content. She noted that it is the first time Northern Uganda is participating in the Uganda Film Festival and many filmmakers have been trained in various categories.

Mweheire said that Karamoja has the potential to produce the best content because of its riches in culture and diversity of features. She said that the commission has created so many platforms to enable film creators to showcase their productions.

She urged the people of Karamoja to take up the opportunity to sell their region to attract more tourists and transform the communities through film storytelling.

Danielle Aturo, a filmed Actor based in Lira said that the industry has made her meet different people and support her talent. Aturo optimistic about her carrier saying this will put her at the international level in the next five years.

Aturo urged the youth to consider expressing their interest in anything that works best instead of waiting to be told. Ojok Francis Odong, the Director of the Northern Uganda Film Makers Association encouraged the people in Karamoja to join them in the industry to uplift their talents.

Odong said that the people in Karamoja have several beautiful resources surrounding them which would sell the industry faster.

Daniel Komakech, A filmmaker in Gulu City who joined the industry in 2010 said that he was inspired to tell stories of Northern Uganda during the time of insurgency in the Northern Uganda. He recalled that international journalists used to document stories about the wars in their region and they could take it without screening the natives to see their selves.

Film makers exploring the beautiful sceneries of Northern Uganda while shooting their short films for the Regional Film Competition.

Komakech noted that his focus was majorly in cross border peace building initiatives and so far he produced several short films on peace. He also said that his latest movie is dubbed “Cross Border Peace filmed in 2023 involving the Karamojong reformed warriors the from Acholi region.

Komakech said that the film talked about the effects of cattle raids and this created peace among the warring communities of Karamojong and Acholi.

Meanwhile, the local leaders in the Karamoja sub-region welcomed the initiative stating that this would contribute to the development and transformation of the communities.

Simon Peter Lokeris, the state Minister for minerals who also doubles as Member of Parliament for Chekwii County in Nakapiripirit district said that a lot of unique things are in the region but not captured.

Lokeris said that these films would be used to sensitize the communities and transform the region economically.

Lokeris applauded UCC for coming in to give leads to Karamoja so that they are woken up to venture into the filming industry. He said that the film industry can also help to build the relationship between Karamojong communities and the neighboring districts for peaceful coexistence.

Lokeris appealed to UCC to provide any necessary support to the youth in Karamoja for starting up their careers in the film industry.

In November 2023, the Uganda Communication Commission called for the filmmakers to submit the content per categories of short films for the Regional film competitions. The competitions cover the Northern, Eastern, Central, and Western regions in Uganda.



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