They made a profit of over Shs10m auctioning DVDs, but producers of Hanged for Love irked guests at the film’s premiere last Friday by screening it half way.
Hosted at Grand Imperial hotel in Kampala, the show started on a good note with swarms of excited moviegoers making their way to the venue ahead of the scheduled time.
There were free drinks and some thrilling dance and music performances to chill the excitement while the film’s cast and crew hit the red carpet dressed to the nines in honor of the big day.
But the evening soon took a dramatic twist as the film was stopped midway its screening to sell DVDs and allow sponsors to promote their products and services in a market-like atmosphere.
Lack of a strong distribution chain in Uganda makes it hard for filmmakers to make money off their movies beyond the premiere.
There is thus a necessary evil to capitalize on big audience numbers at premieres by attempting to sell copies of the film’s DVDs at inflated prices.
Quite often, the move backfires. But at least it was a success in the case of Hanged for Love, which managed to make a killing off original DVD sales on Friday.
Guests were however left crying foul considering some of them had to pay up to Shs500, 000 for the privileged VIP tables.
But the film’s writer and director, Richard Mulindwa, says it was better off that way because the later part of the film was poorly edited and thus would irritate the viewers.
The film fetched a total of up to Shs10m in DVD sales and pledges from a number of sponsors and members of the audience.
Namunkekera Rural Industrial Center (NRIC), an agro-business company owned by President Museveni’s younger brother, Gen Salim Saleh, bought ten copies of the film each at Shs500,000.
The hefty financial support comes hot on the heels of a much bigger endorsement given to Miss Uganda 2014 by the same Nakaseke-based demonstration farm.
“We are committed to supporting any activities that bring about youth employment,” Desire Muhoozi, NRIC’s Youth Department head, told guests at the premiere.
She was in company of five of the Miss Uganda 2014 finalists although the pageant’s controversial winner Leah Kalanguka was a no-show courtesy of her participation at the ongoing Miss World contest in London.
Much to the bemusement of the audience, the beauty queens were called to the podium to receive herbal cosmetics as a present from Alinyikira, a renowned downtown-based herbal products company and one of the show’s sponsors.
The company bought DVDs worth Shs700,000 while Uganda Police pledged Shs300,000.
Uganda National Cultural Centre (UCC) bought one CD at Shs400000 on top of offering to host one free screening of the film at their National Theatre.
But there wasn’t as much love from the critics for the film that revolves around a fatal love triangle involving two men and one woman.
The drama thriller stars fashion designer-cum-actress Deyby Wadsen in the lead role as Mia, an outcast girl who struggles with chronic menstrual bleeding.
She gets a new lease of life in a loving boyfriend Steve (Ronnie Rujumba) who gets her cured only to unfairly ditch him for a new man Mark (Bobby Tamale).
Feeling jilted and unable to reunite with his ex-flame, Jackie (Nisha Kalema), who once was desperate to patch things up, Steve murders Mark sparking off a sensational court battle that ends in a death sentence.
Before the film was suddenly stopped, critics had noted its mundane storyline, flimsy character development and some dragging scenes.
Wadsen, who had to take regular breaks during the shoot due to pregnancy complications, also wore the same emotionless demeanor throughout her otherwise dynamic role.
But there’s no denying the picture’s good graphics and editing, as well as a standout performance from Kalema.
The 21-year-old Journalism student and a spitting image of embattled singer Desire Luzinda said it was never her dream to act, but that she had reluctant bowed to pleas from family and friends to join the art.
She had her debut just this year in the WBS TV series It Can’t Be in which she plays the character of a promiscuous girl who is sleeping with a father and his son.
Hanged for Love will next screen at the National Theatre next week in the coming days.