Controversial Ugandan film, The Route, will today evening (7pm) screen at the National Theatre in Kampala.
Themed on human trafficking and sex slavery, the Shs13m production budget flick premiered to fairly good reception this July, but has since held only two commercial screenings.
The film has however had a number of non-paying stints in Malawi, Nigeria, U.S.A and at the maiden Uganda Film Festival (UFF) in August.
But for an artiste bent on recouping his money, as is the case with Jayant Maru who wrote, directed and produced The Route, commercial screenings are the real deal.
“We are charging a small uniform fee of Sh10, 000 per person,” Jayant said of today’s show, tipped to attract a big crowd courtesy of an aggressive social media marketing campaign that has been ongoing for a month now.
The 23-year-old director of Indian-Ugandan heritage added: “My mission is to promote a cinema-going culture in Uganda, and that is why we will next take the film to Mish Mash (bar and restaurant) in Kololo for other commercial screenings.”
Whether today’s show, whose tickets are available at the theatre box office, will be as successful as the previous ones remains to be seen. What is clear though is that The Route’s popularity and influence seems to be souring by the day.
Recently, the American embassy in Kampala screened the film to dozens of human rights NGOs, many of which have since picked it on as a sensitization tool to fight human trafficking and forced labour in several parts of the country.
And Maru, who recently put out a casting call for his upcoming TV series, is elated by the clout his debut feature film has so far courted, including featuring at the acclaimed Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF) in California, USA.
Today’s screening comes ahead of three other much anticipated local premieres. Leading the pack is Patrick Sekyaya’s The Ugandan, a story of tension between Indian-Ugandans and local natives. Having amassed awards and critical acclaim at several international festivals, the film will finally hold its domestic appearance at the National Theatre this Friday.
New dance movie Game On will follow in line by debuting at Theatre Labonita on November 15 before Stranded, a fantastical thriller, wraps it up with a rather unconventional premiere at Namboole stadium on November 30.