Ugandan filmmakers hoping to get considered for Zuku TV’s $15,000 (about Shs37.5m)film production grant have until Wednesday next week to submit in their scripts.
The challenge, which will see a total of five Kiswahili language feature film scripts from across East Africa sponsored for production, is primarily aimed at generating content for Zuku TV’s premium movie channel – Zuku Swahili Movies.
The competition was launched early this year in partnership with Zanzibar International Film Festival (Ziff), and was scheduled to close submissions last week. But in an email sent to this blog today, Ziff director Martin Mhando said it became inevitable to extend the call by two weeks.
According to competition guidelines, the script must be of feature length and must have a dominant Kiswahili dialogue. It must also have a compelling plot, believable story, unforgettable characters and a captivating setting.
At a recent local industry forum facilitated by Dr Mhando, however, Ugandan filmmakers said they felt segregated and offended by the Kiswahili language requisite.
Although an official language widely spoken in other parts of East and Central Africa, Kiswahili is shunned by most Ugandans due to its association with political and social oppression when it was used by the brutal armed forces during the past regimes.
But as a film expert who is keen on helping East African filmmakers to earn from their craft, Mhando says the prospect of finding ready market with the over 140 million Kiswahili speakers worldwide supersedes the language’s turbulent history.
We have also been told that Zuku is considering opening the competition to English language entries in the later editions to come.
Applications must contain a synopsis, full script, character/cast biographies, a detailed treatment, shooting schedule and a preliminary budget among others. Proposals should be addressed to the following address: The Commissioning Editor; Wananchi Programming Ltd; Gateway Business Park, Block E, Mombasa Road; P. O. Box 10286-00100,Nairobi, Kenya; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selected participants will be contacted by email and taken for further training at this year’s Ziff to be held June 14-22 in Zanzibar, Tanzania. For more information about the competition, please visit here.