“House Arrest” the film to beat at the 2015 Uganda Film Festival


Original post from The Critic

By Kamukama Polly

House Arrest, the latest cinematic offering from talented Ugandan filmmaker Joseph Ken Ssebagala, is leading the race to this year’s Uganda Film Festival awards with a whooping seven nods.

According to a tentative nomination list exclusively acquired by The Critic, the drama-thriller themed on sorcery has scooped nods in major categories including Best Feature Film, Film of the Year, Best Screenplay and Best Actress.It has also been recognized in Best Sound, Best Cinematography and Best Editing/Post Production categories.

“I knew we had a good film, but I could never have imagined that we would get all these nominations. It’s a great honour to me and the entire team,” said Ssebagala. The 32-year-old multi-artist, along with a few other nominees, was  informed by phone about the nominations.

News of the film’s multiple nominations should indeed have came as a huge reprieve after the project suffered a major setback two years ago and had to be entirely reshot this March. In an earlier interview with The Critic, Ssebagala revealed that he was forced to abandon the first version of the film in 2013 after he lost rights to access the principle location midway production.

He had to come down to the wire to finish the new version in time for the end-of-May submission deadline of the August 24-28 festival, where it will hold its premiere.The English language picture, starring actress Faridah Kuteesa as a bewitched widow struggling with memories of abuse, is one of Ssebagala’s two films competing at the third annual edition of the premium local cinema showcase.

His other feature film, Call 112, a thriller loosely based on human body organ trafficking, will also head to the August 28th awards with nods in the Best Screenplay and Best Actor categories following its Kampala premiere earlier this week.Meanwhile, House Arrest faces tight competition from Boda BodaThieves, with the latter film commanding a respectable five nods including Best Feature Film, Film of the Year and Best Actor (Hassan ‘Spike’ Insingoma).

Another new film that will premiere at the festival, The Tailor, from director Hassan Mageye, is eyeing six awards including Best Actress for talented newcomer, Nisha Kalema.The $1m (about Shs3.2bn) budget Indian-Ugandan collabo, Luzira: Escape from Uganda, could only squeeze in three noms, while critical Luganda language drama Akatiiro scored two.

And in perhaps what is the biggest disappointment about the list,Bala Bala Sese, arguably one of the best films to come out of Uganda this year, was given the cold shoulder.Many critics and fans who attended the beautifully-shot love story’s premiere at Theatre Labonita in Kampala last month will be left questioning the festival jury’s decision to snub it.

Other hotly-billed films such as Crafts, A Dog Story and The Road We Travel were equally left out in favor of In Reality, Walk with Me and Kyosiga’s Dream in the shorts category.

Organised by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), The Uganda Film Festival was incepted in 2013 as a rather belated effort by government to help promote the struggling local film industry.The initiative, funded by taxpayers’ money, has often been criticized for failing to address the core problems affecting Ugandan filmmakers such as lack of funding and piracy.

This year’s festival, themed Celebrating Quality of Ugandan Film, takes place from August 24th – 28th  around Kampala, and will feature a host of programmes including screenings, workshops and a glamorous awards ceremony on the closing day.



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