UFF 2014 Awards predictions: Our picks in every category

POLLY KAMUKAMA

Nominees for this year’s Uganda Film Festival (UFF) awards are waiting with bated breath as to who will walk away victorious at tomorrow’s glamorous closing ceremony to be held at Serena Hotel in Kampala.

A total of 18 films – six features, five shorts, four animations and two documentaries – are up for awards in a tight 12-category competition that including among others Best Feature Film, Film of the Year, Best Script, Best Actor and Best Actress. Each category pits three nominees.

In this review, we bring you our predictions on how the awards will likely be distributed. Obviously we are not the judges, and things can go either way with awards. But after thoroughly analyzing each nominee, we feel that our picks are the favorite to win.

This year's UFF awards will apparently come with huge bonuses.

This year’s UFF awards will apparently come with huge bonuses.

BEST STUDENT FILM

  1. The 7-11
  2. Nyugunya – Winner*
  3. Trash Cash 

This is one of the least competitive categories in the race with Nyugunya beating the other two contenders by a mile in all fronts. The three-minute silent film by first-time director, Vince Musisi (Kampala Film School) boasts tight scripting, great visuals and an interesting storyline – a notorious phone snatcher finally meets his brutal fate. It should easily take this one. 

BEST SHORT FILM

  1. Missing
  2. Crying for Help – Winner*
  3. Haunted Christmas 

This is the least competitive category for two reasons: Two of the films (Haunted Christmas and Crying for Help) are by one director/producer, Daniel Komakech, which obviously gives him a numerical advantage. And of the two films, Haunted Christmas clearly stands out as a master piece. It’s main arsenal is its breathtaking setting – it was shot in Gulu – and a human interest story – a young rape victim on a desperate quest for justice. A sure win, this one.

 BEST ANIMATION

  1. The Vow
  2. Arms of Clay – Winner*
  3. Mr. Kaye: Olwatuuka 

It is very rare that a short film will beat a full feature in the same category, which is why Arms of Clay has that natural advantage over the two shorts. But it’s not all about having a longer runtime for this film about a greedy rich man’s fall from grace. It boasts an interesting story, has great visuals and was crisply edited. 

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  1. Hooked: Joe’s Story
  2. Afronaut
  3. The Zamrock Survivors – Winner* 

I’m torn on which to give this one because I enjoyed watching all the three films. They are all very educative, informative and tell unique stories. But after a thorough analysis, I have zeroed down on Zamrock for its entertaining nature and the fact that it has a deeper and more informed analysis of its subject matter. It offers a rather refreshing look at one of the forgotten original African music genres. 

BEST SCREENPLAY

  1. Felistas Fable – Winner*
  2. Reform
  3. Superstition 

This is a two-horse race between Felistas and Reform. Both dramas tell interesting stories with themes of redemption and self-realization. Felistas however has an edge when it comes to solid character development, story pacing and the entertainment factor. 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  1. Zamora – Winner*
  2. Superstition
  3. Reform 

I could as well bet all my life’s savings on Zamora in this category. With the eerie streets, sprawling ocean, beaches and the mixed culture of Zanzibar forming the backdrop for this Tanzanian film, I honestly don’t see the other two competitors standing a chance. The ingenuity of its cinematographer, Cyril Ducottet, further more stands out in the form of blurry inter-lapping images to cover up the explicit scenes and to mirror the characters’ twisted emotions. What an artful piece of work! 

BEST SOUND

  1. Felistas Fable
  2. Zamora
  3. Spying on Susana – Winner* 

It is always hard to predict the technical categories. It’s even harder in this case where all the three films upheld nearly all the classic elements of sound management – catchy original soundtracks, crisp clear synchronized dialogues, use of effects, etc. My bet is that it will all come down to which film has the most infectious, most powerful soundtrack – which clearly goes to Susana. Susana, oliwa mama?… 

BEST EDITING/POST PRODUCTION

  1. Felistas Fable – Winner*
  2. Spying on Susana
  3. Superstition 

This is another hard category to predict but we nonetheless feel it’s a race between Susana and Felistas, with the latter eventually emerging as winner. The major undoing for Susana here is the fact that it has some continuity issues that couldn’t be corrected in the post stage having been shot across a rather lengthy period of five years. 

BEST ACTOR

  1. Yasin Lubowa (Clan’s Wife) – Winner*
  2. Isaac Kuddzu (Felistas Fable)
  3. Robert Enerst Bbumba (Superstition) 

Bbumba was very terrifying as the chain-smoking child kidnapper in Superstition, but his rather impressive performance is overshowed by the fact that he was only in a supporting role while his two competitors were the main men in their films.  On the other, Kuddzu’s character as a lovesick cry-baby man comes off as ‘unserious’ compared to Mzee Lubowa’s dynamic role as a monstrous and womanizing  family figure. 

BEST ACTRESS

  1. Joanita-Bewulira-Wandera (Felistas)
  2. Faridah Kuteesa (Clan’s Wife) – Winner*
  3. Justine Namuganda (Reform) 

Like Bbumba, Bewulira put on an amazing performance in her supporting role as a domineering and foul-mouthed mother. But she’s nonetheless at a disadvantage because her rivals had more screentime in their lead roles. 17-year-old Namuganda on the other hand struggled to show emotions in some parts of her performance. The same however can’t be said of Kuteesa who reduced audiences to tears with her heartbreaking performance as an abused young wife who contracts and eventually dies of HIV/AIDS. 

BEST FEATURE FILM

  1. Felistas Fable – Winner*
  2. Superstition
  3. Zamora 

This is another two-horse race between Zamora and Felistas, and I’m not sure the judges want to give such an important award to a non-Ugandan film. Felistas thus takes it, simple as that. 

FILM OF THE YEAR

  1. Felistas Fable
  2. Superstition – Winner*
  3. Zamora 

In this category, the film’s originality, themes and socio-economic importance supersede its technical perfection. The award thus goes to the most inspiring, critical and socially-conscious film, which undoubtedly in this case is Superstition. The film offers a critical look at the myth and politics surrounding the evil practice of child sacrifice in Uganda. 

kamukamapolly@gmail.com

 

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