New Ugandan film Freedom got off to a dazzling start as it took home six awards and Shs 37m in cash rewards at last Friday’s Uganda Film Festival (UFF) Awards.
The Richard Mulindwa-directed picture won awards for Film of the Year, Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography which came with cash tokens of Shs 20m, Shs 5m and Shs 3m, respectively.
The 80s-set feature film also scooped accolades for Best Costume, Best Editing and Best Actress (Nisha Kalema) which also came with bonuses of Shs 3m each.
It was Kalema’s second UFF Best Actress award in a row having shared it with arch rival Faridah Kutesa at last year’s edition of the annual awards.
The 23-year-old starlet got emotional as she accepted the award for her heartbreaking performance as lead character Amelia, an orphaned girl that suffers despicable abuse at the hands of her adoptive father in the thrilling drama.
Thanking her rumoured screenwriter boyfriend Samuel Saviour for discovering her, the fast-rising actress told the audience how she’s yet to come to terms with her meteoric rise having burst onto the local film scene just last year.
Mulindwa on his part thanked God for the success of the film that’s set to officially premiere in Kampala next month.
Freedom indeed lived up to its billing having headed to the Serena Hotel event last Friday as a clear favourite with a whooping nine nods.
In the end, it only lost out on the Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Actor categories.
Hassan Mageye’s Invisible Cuffs, a chilling tale of a family man’s struggle with cannibalism, on the other hand only managed to win two of its eight nominations. It took awards for Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Mageye).
It was however a disappointing evening for New Intentions, the latest directorial effort from Kennedy Kihire, as it failed to make any good on its six nods.
The film’s greatest strength perhaps lies in its lead actor John Wayne Muganza whose momentous performance as a child molester was surprisingly overlooked by the five-man UFF 2016 jury.
Urban TV’s Coffee Shop also reigned supreme in the TV categories beating arch rival NTV’s Deception to the Best TV Drama, Best Actor in a TV Drama (Arnold Muhereza) and Best Actress in a TV Drama (Pamela Karyeko).
The jury, headed for the fourth consecutive time by Nigerian film expert Femi Odugbemi, noted that there was a significant improvement in the general quality of submissions this year.
They advised local filmmakers to avail their films for critical and scholarly review so as to get expert opinions that would help them improve their craft.
It was the first time in the awards’ four-year history that all winners got feted with cash rewards on top of the crested crane-shaped crests.
The red carpet event opened with a short documentary about the festival’s journey in which a couple of filmmakers were featured complaining about government’s failure to fully support the local sector.
In his speech as Guest of Honour, however, Vice President Edward Sekandi said government was committed to support the burgeoning industry, even hinting on the possibility of setting up a film fund in the next financial year.
Organised by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the national communications regulator, UFF seeks to provide a platform for the promotion and exhibition of Ugandan cinema.
This year’s festival was themed ‘Promoting Culture Through Film’ and featured a number of weeklong activities that culminated with the glamorous awards gala on Friday.
Full list of UFF 2016 Award winners
- Best Student Film –The Touch
- Best Short Film – Jinxed
- Best Documentary – Heritage
- Best Animation – The Runaway Rolex
- Best TV Drama – Coffee Shop
- Best Actor in a TV Drama – Anorld Muhereza (Coffee Shop)
- Best Actress in a TV Drama – Pamela Karyeko (Coffee Shop)
- Best Screenplay – Invisible Cuffs
- Best Costume/Production Design – Freedom
- Best Cinematography – Freedom
- Best Sound – Wako
- Best Editing/Post Production – Freedom
- Best East African Film – Majembere (Burundi)
- Best Actor – Hassan Mageye (Invisible Cuffs)
- Best Actress – Nisha Kalema (Freedom)
- Best Feature Film – Freedom
- Film of the Year/Best Director – Freedom