Here comes Uganda’s first dance movie

POLLY KAMUKAMA

Recently, we reported on this blog how Ugandan cinema has steadily evolved to showcase a more diverse and vibrant country.

Well, one such mark of versatility will be celebrated this Saturday with the premiere of Ugawood’s first dance movie at the National Theatre, Kampala.

Game On, a new feature film about Uganda’s urban dance scene, will make its official national debut in a grand red carpet event that will also feature a cocktail, music performances and local showbiz A-listers.

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FRESH: Game On brings the local dance industry to the screen, and is an example of how diverse contemporary Ugandan cinema is.

And it appears as though the film already has some ace up its sleeve ahead of the weekend screening, having previously courted some hype following participation at the maiden Uganda Film Festival (UFF) in August.

While most movies at UFF screened to nearly empty auditoriums due to the festival’s poor programming, Game On attracted a fairly big audience and was lauded for bringing freshness in an industry plagued by lack of creativity.

Solely funded by a Kenyan businessman with a production budget of Shs17m, this film has also since won a spot on this blog’s recent ‘25 must-watch Ugandan movies of all time’ list. But if that was not enough publicity, then its makers’ effective usage of social media to promote Saturday’s show certainly is.

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ADVERT: Due to budgetary constraints, the film’s marketing has been limited to social media platforms and a few posters.

“We approached many companies but none of them was willing to offer any financial support,” Gerald Namanya Rugaba, the film’s writer and producer, has said of the budgetary constraints faced during and after production.

“It is only NTV, Urban TV and Star TV which have provided some sort of logistical support for the premiere,” added the 27-year-old who already has a couple of films under his credit, unlike the film’s director and cast who are all first timers.

Rugaba is nonetheless adamant his film needs no aggressive push to sell. And he might be right given the fact that dance movies have been known to excite young audiences. It’s even more relevant considering this is the first film of its kind in Uganda.

The generic advantage aside, Game On is no ordinary film. Directed by self-made filmmaker Kevin ‘Kix’ Byaruhanga, this film tells an incredibly inspiring story of a group of young urban dancers as they try to overcome poverty and prejudice.

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METICULOUS: As part of his research for the film, director Kevin ‘Kix’ Byaruhanga spent three months talking to various players in Uganda’s dance industry.

“It highlights what it takes to survive as a professional dancer in Uganda, as well as the challenges faced by most local dance groups,” Byaruhanga explained, revealing he researched the movie by spending three months interviewing different players in the local dance industry.

When it came to casting, the 26-year-old who runs a tour and travel company as his day job was only interested in professional dancers “because they could easily relay their daily hustles on screen.”

Now, the results of his painstaking work might mark his grand launch as a filmmaker, but only if he can get audience approval on Saturday.

Gates will open at 6pm and tickets are already on sale at the theatre box office and Mash Poa bus company offices (along Dewinton Road). You will need to part with Shs20,000. For bookings, please call 0701444020 or 0702139175. See you there.

kamukamapolly@gmail.com

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