Originally posted on Samuel Saviour’s blog
by Kizito Samuel Saviour
Well, I was scrolling through my news feed and just bumped onto this YouTube video;
The title attracted me enough to check it out just to land on youtube and it immediately started playing, from the look of it and basing on what I have been hearing around the Uganda Filmmaking Fraternity, Fast Track Productions Ltd A production company who are the makers of The Hostel Series , 5 at HOME and “Are you not a man” TV Series are bringing a new local TV Series titled Balikoowa in the city and yeah this is exactly what the link was taking me to, from YouTube, this TV Series only has one episode, currently regarded as the pilot episode which was uploaded and published on Tuesday 23rd February 2016 and is now public to all audience around the world.
I got to watch it and I should say I like what I saw, basing on what I have been seeing from this production house, I think this is one piece I’ve liked from the start, the first major thing I’ve liked about it is the fact that it’s done basically in a local dialect “Luganda” and the way the actors are performing it all is way more believable than how other actors have been struggling with sounding normal in English in other Ugandan TV Series. The locations of this series are also good I should say though the production design was so basic to a fact that it was misused. From the look of it, I can tell that the production designer of this film, based his expertise from the few tutorials he or she must have watched online and ended up failing to work with them pretty well, it’s just my observation anyway.
There are a few continuity passable issues, costuming seems fine to me, the cinematography, I don’t know what to say, maybe the DoP and the main director of this episode decided to just shoot this whole entire thing at low production values, as in they did all they could to make sure that this film looks as though it was shot in 2009 or earlier. Yeah that’s what I see basing on the ever shaky camera as though tripods weren’t on set, the angels and composition they are using to shoot this entire episode, the sound —it’s passable but it’s not what I can call good though bearable basing on how normal productions have always been in Uganda. Like I said, the production values look like how Ugandan Cinema was by 2009 or even earlier, but its locally executed in a likable style just incase it’s viewed by someone who is so patient and isn’t so quality sensitive. Either way, I watched it Lol! And oh, I loved the music, I should say I like the movie basically because it felt like home, it felt Ugandan so that made me smile watching these actors work around it all in a way that I can believe basing on the kind of world the writer created for them.
To my simple understanding, this TV/Web Series, follows a story of “Balikoowa” a villager who leaves his pregnant woman back at home and heads to town for an assignment of delivering some package “butter” to his aunt’s daughter “Sophia”. He gets some challenges we never get to see along his way but eventually makes it to her home where he gets hosted, later they figure out the butter had been misplaced during transit, luckily enough they find it without us seeing any hustle incurred in getting it. Anyways this was a pilot episode, yeah it was slow, it’s not such a strong story but it being typically Ugandan gives it a beautiful kind of flow despite the fact that it’s slow, and didn’t have any defined ups and downs to keep me engaged with it, and yeah the ending is just flat. To the writer, the screenplay lacked some depth but anyway I don’t know what’s going to be in the next episodes, but so far, I like what I have seen save for the issues I pointed out, to those who are wondering why am sounding like this, I am simply a honest critic, keep calm and support Ugandan Cinema…
This “Balikoowa” TV/Web Series was directed by Kihire Kennedy , with Racheal Nantume as his Assistant, Written by Lloyd “Lutara” (Not sure of that last name because screen wasn’t clear) , it starred Mushema Housen“Balikoowa” and Marion Asiro “Sophia” ( I should say these two did a great performance, for this time round, I have no complaint about the acting, all actors made it believable to me, so to you two and the rest, you gave your characters justice save for the “Henry” who was acting as Sophia’s boyfriend, he seemed too plastic for life, sorry). Unfortunately the YouTube Version of this episode that was uploaded had some parts clear quality and others way too low quality so the credits were almost hard to read.