Failure to tap talents for economic development has partly been blamed for increasing levels of poverty among Ugandan youths.
This however could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to efforts by one budding local film company.
Action Triggerz Film Production Ltd, a city¬-based group which consists of some 40 young actors and filmmakers, has announced their plan to help Ugandan youth fight poverty through mentoring them into becoming successful film professionals.
The group was formulated back in 2011, and has since grown to become a favorite starting point for young actors seeking to make a break into the intricate local film industry.
The company, led by Tony Lutakome, a 23-year-old actor and filmmaker with over 12 titles to his name, boasts a hands-on training programme that every new member must undertake as part of their initiation process.
And the group members feel that the training, often facilitated by professionals and older colleagues, is one step towards getting Ugandan youth interested in local cinema, which they say has impeccable potential to overturn poverty rates.
“This industry has the potential to employ thousands of youth at any single given time. You don’t get such massive employment opportunities in any other sector,” Lutakome told journalists yesterday during a press conference to announce the group’s annual plan.
At the time the young filmmaker started up the group with a couple of friends, most of whom already had an experience in either music or movies, he felt many of the filmmakers he had turned up for lacked proper incentives to groom a young artist like himself.
Three years down the road, Action Triggerz has tried to address the challenge, providing its members with basic training in such filmic skills as acting, writing, editing and directing. Some of the members have even broken into the music industry.
But the group, like many other local film professionals, is still plagues by lack of finances, poor audience attitudes towards Ugandan films and even lack of support from families of some of the members. Their passion for the industry nonetheless keeps them going.
Besides producing more commercially viable films capable of penetrating foreign markets, the group hopes to intensify their mentorship programmes this year.
“The mantle is on us (Ugandan film professionals) to make western audiences interested in our works by being professional all through right from training the actors to developing interesting stories,” Lutakome said, decrying Ugandan media’s poor coverage of local arts.
To further achieve their dream of helping actors earn from their talents, the group announced that they are plotting to champion the campaign against ‘massive distribution’ of foreign movies – particularly Nigerian – which they say has stalled the local industry’s development.
“We are petitioning government and other concerned bodies to make it a little harder for Ugandan audiences to access foreign films so that our own works can get leverage,” the group’s publicist and actor, Salongo Kayiwa said, alluding to a similar ongoing revolution within the local music fraternity in which artistes are calling for a boycott on nightclubs and broadcast stations unless they start playing Ugandan music regularly.
Based at DB9 Pub in Kalerwe and consisting of members of all ages and education backgrounds, Action Triggerz has so far released one film – Zirabamuzare– which competed at the 2012 Pearl International Film Festival (Piff).
They are currently shooting a TV series titled Love Triangle, and are set to premiere their latest film Chicago Bastards – which has by far enjoyed aggressive promotion on social media partly due to its rather outlandish title and plot.
According to the director’s note, the film chronicles a group of African-American youths who come to visit their friend’s home in rural Uganda, but find themselves at odds with ancestral spirits due to their debauched morals.
The run to the film’s May 9 release at DB9 will include a cleanliness drive, due to be held next Thursday (April 17) around Kalerwe areas, to rid the suburb of the garbage that chokes up its streets and drainage system.