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Blogs - CinemaUg (Film and Beyond)
Foreign Investment vs. Local Investment: Where Should I Go?
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Foreign Investment vs. Local Investment: Where Should I Go?

I recently argued with someone about why Ugandan musicians have not tried to go continental on the African continent or global. Why is there so little effort towards that? We didn’t have an answer. However, there seems to be a reason why Ugandan creatives are comfortable with their local audience. In the film industry, it's even worse because they don’t even have a significant Ugandan audience. I want to compare this to filmmakers sourcing money from investors. What is smarter? To go out or stay local?First of all, who is a Film Investor?A film investor is basically an individual or entity that provides financial backing for film productions. They could be motivated by the potential for profit, a passion for film, or a desire to support certain themes or filmmakers. I'm going to classify them into four categories to make it easier for you to know where you can find them.1. Government and Public FundsThis includes something like the Ugandan Communications Commission's Content Development Support Program, or any other fund set up by the government to help creatives. It's already happening in Uganda, and UCC has spent close to two billion Ugandan shillings on funding film projects. They have also created smaller tiers for newcomers to compete in regional film competitions. These funds are usually easier to handle as the money from these funds is not typically demanded back from the creators. So, if you see such an opportunity, grab it because very few investors don’t operate that way.This can be classified as local investment, and I encourage anyone to participate if there is an opportunity. I will not discuss the effectiveness of these funds in helping the industry because, as is always the case with the public sector, ticking boxes is often prioritized over creating real change, especially in Africa. We’ll talk about that another time.2. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Cultural OrganizationsOther organizations that may not give you a headache when it comes to return on investment are NGOs. They will, however, influence your creativity as they will demand what they want to push as an agenda. NGOs fund content for social reasons and use that content to teach, and advocate for changes either in society as a whole or in the public sector. Usually, executives in NGOs are not creatives and rarely put in the effort to hire creatives to represent them. They will always try to influence the content to ensure “the message is as clear as possible”.There are also NGOs focused on arts and culture, and these tend to be better when it comes to the creativity of the content you produce since they have creatives in their administrations. I will pair these with cultural organizations like kingdoms. These also fund film projects, an example being Goethe-Zentrum Kampala, UNESCO, which funded the African Folktales Reimagined, Buganda Kingdom, and other arts and culture institutions. We have many NGOs in Uganda that have funded content programs, but they can also be international. Most NGOs currently funding film content in Uganda are international.3. Institutional Investors.These might or might not be on your neck for return on investment depending on the agreements you make with them. Institutions like production companies may provide funding for a movie they want to market and sell, and your only responsibility will be to produce the film. These are easy to deal with as there is no pressure to sell the movie. Examples include entities like Netflix, MultiChoice, and StarTimes.Some institutions will give you money but want their money back with profits. In Uganda, I have not seen them yet, and I hope they don’t think they can make that bet here, as the audience is scarce. I don't want to see a filmmaker in jail over unpaid profits from a film.These investors can be both local or international depending on how good your pitch is. Institutional investors are good because they are businessmen who want to make money off the content you’re producing. They will use all their necessary structures to make that happen, saving you the hassle of marketing. In Uganda, since we have a very limited number of these, I could even say it’s only one who is serious, the industry and filmmakers have not really benefited on a grand scale as we would expect from such huge investment. This is because monopoly breeds complacency, resulting in low-quality movies. Additionally, their distribution is so poor that we never get to watch these movies. If they are losing money, that's on them. However, it would be great if we had these movies screened through known channels for Ugandan audiences to build from there.Nevertheless, our lone institutional investor is doing better than anyone (or none), and we hope, as filmmakers, you’ve had your chance of getting paid by them​​​​​​​4. Individual InvestorsFinally, some individuals decide to fund movies. These can be for-profit or non-profit depending on their reasons for funding. For example, when you crowdfund for a movie, the people who donate may not expect profits in return. It’s not common in Uganda to crowdfund for a movie, but I have seen one movie do that and get some money – the short film Nambi, which got close to 5k USD.Other individual film funders will likely want to make money on the movie to recoup their investment. So, if you’re considering going to them for money, make sure you can pay them back. There are also individual arrangements where the filmmaker doesn’t need to pay the money back; always go for those.So, Where Should You Go?Should you go international or stay local? Even though there is so much money in international funding, it’s much harder to get funding from there. The only known international funding in Uganda so far was Loukman Ali’s Katera of the Punishment Island, which was funded by UNESCO and Netflix as part of the six-part short anthology series African Folktales: Reimagined. Should you aim for the big leagues? Absolutely. But should you focus solely on them? I wouldn’t advise that. It’s hard out there. The easy ones will always need you to compromise your creativity, which should be a big deal for you as a filmmaker.There are a couple of opportunities that can work easily for you on the local scene, even though there aren't many. Diversify your efforts, and if that's a hard pill to swallow, collaborate with fellow filmmakers and self-fund. That is always the easier way out, although it seems hard for most Ugandan filmmakers.For musicians, there is nothing that should stop you from aiming as high as possible. The audiences and opportunities are very different for music and film, and you can make it if you put in the effort. Joshua Baraka can testify to that.Written by Martin Kabagambe.

What Challenges Do Ugandan Filmmakers Face?

What Challenges Do Ugandan Filmmakers Face?Uganda has a rich and vibrant film industry, with talented filmmakers producing high-quality content. However, like many independent filmmakers around the world, they face unique challenges that can hinder their success. In this article, we will explore some of the challenges that Ugandan filmmakers face and how they are overcoming them.1. Limited Funding.One of the biggest challenges for Ugandan filmmakers is limited funding. Unlike big-budget Hollywood productions, independent filmmakers often have to rely on their own resources or seek out funding from grants and investors. In Uganda, less knowledge about how to source filmmaking money from investors makes it difficult for filmmakers to secure the necessary funds to bring their visions to life. This can result in low production values and limited resources for marketing and distribution. There is a change happening since the entry of big movie financiers like Multichoice, StarTimes, and the Uganda Communications Commission. We hope that change accelerates the learning curve for pitching for Ugandan filmmakers so that they can access other sources of filmmaking resources.There are alternatives to pitching for resources, such as combining resources among independent filmmakers through collaborations. However, this hasn’t been a popular approach in Uganda due to most filmmakers' creative differences and sometimes rigidity in creativity.2. Limited Access to Equipment and Technology;Another challenge for Ugandan filmmakers is limited access to state-of-the-art modern equipment and filmmaking technology. Many filmmakers do not have access to high-quality cameras, lighting equipment, and editing software, which can impact the overall quality of their films. This can also make it difficult for them to keep up with the constantly evolving technology in the film industry.Reasons for the limited access to modern technology range from the expensiveness of the technology to the lack of skill to use it. The latter wouldn’t have been a big issue since every technology is learned and skills are acquired; the former is usually the obstacle to access. We have seen movies in Uganda that have tried to use current technology in the visual effects department, like the short film Nambi and the film The Lions of Buganda, which was shot mostly using green screens, among others. However, these methods still remain within affordable means of filmmaking. The best cameras and some necessary gears to create good films remain expensive and inaccessible to the Uganda filmmaking community.3. Lack of Distribution Channels;Once a film is completed, the next challenge for Ugandan filmmakers is finding distribution channels. With limited access to cinemas and traditional distribution methods, many filmmakers struggle to get their films seen by a wider audience. This can result in low box office numbers and limited exposure for their work. Most movies in Uganda literally make less than $1,000, which is far below the cost of making a film anywhere in the world. It becomes extremely difficult to recoup the money these filmmakers invest in movies, given the fact that it’s even their money, as we’ve already explained above, which adds another level of difficulty to filmmaking in Uganda.To make matters worse, even the few available distribution channels are not being utilized fully by filmmakers either because of ignorance or inability to support their movies to use those channels.For example, there have been distribution opportunities on airlines like Qatar and Emirates, but only a few Ugandan filmmakers have had their films on either because they don’t know such opportunities exist or they don’t know how to exploit them. There are over seven cinema halls across the country and thousands of video halls, commonly known as Bibanda, but even these have not been utilized well for common film screenings in these areas. Unlike the airline example, filmmakers know about these channels (Cinemas and Bibanda) but have not tried to use them due to issues regarding marketing and promotion of their movies (we’ll talk about that another day). So, this challenge of lack of distribution channels is somehow self-inflicted and can be solved with baby steps of utilizing the already available channels gradually until they become popular.With the available channels not being utilized, filmmakers have turned to festivals to earn some money back. However, festival earnings are usually small, and very few festivals around the world pay money for movies winning awards. It would be unfair to finish this without acknowledging filmmakers who are doing great when it comes to distributing their content. Filmmakers like Loukman Ali have had some success on international distribution channels like Netflix. Of course, it was a big challenge, but it’s that one drop in the ocean that matters.ConclusionDespite the challenges they face, Ugandan filmmakers continue to produce compelling and thought-provoking films. With limited funding, limited access to equipment, and limited proper distribution channels, they have shown resilience and resourcefulness in pursuing their passion for filmmaking.These are very few and part of the larger problems that we’ll keep exploring as time goes. Today, we decided to just look at those.Let us know what you think is the biggest problem Ugandan filmmakers are facing.Let us know in the comments.Written by Cinema UG.​​​​​​​

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Embracing Opportunities: How to Succeed as a Ugandan Actor in 2024

Happy New Year, and let’s make 2024 count, with mostly the wins to make it count, by being intentional with our moves. This is the year we stop allowing fear to steal the opportunities for growth of our career from us.So, let’s face the new year with boldness and spear through to reach the goals we have set. Welcome to 2024.In this article, we will be talking about how to set goals, and how to achieve them in 2024 as actors in the Ugandan Film Industry, what lies ahead for the actor, what opportunities are there for you and everything you need to look out  for in 2024.Many actors say that they never audition , reason "I didn't receive an answer on the previous audition." Dear, the NOs are part of this job, you are going to have to push beyond the feelings of rejection and you will see that the NOs can and will turn into YESs.Being an actor in 2024 is all about commitment, resilience and diversifying your talent. Keep growing, invest in knowledge, networking, volunteering and mentorship. Take a look at your 2023 and audit it, find the areas in which you have grown, and do a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.What do you have to do in 2024 as an actor?Before we get into what you have to do, let's share some good news you probably missed last year. Uganda Communication Commission gave a grant of over 1.5 billion Ugandan Shillings to over 14 films. Let’s say if every feature film set hires 40 people those will be 560 jobs created and that’s not all, have you seen Sanyu Series, Beloved or Damalie? These TV series hired close to 300 people in 2023 each, The jobs are there. How are you positioning yourself as an actor?1. Set clear Goals for being an Actor in 2024.Iyanla Vanzant wrote: “If you don’t have a vision, you’re going to be stuck in what you know. And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen.”  That statement is valid until you take a bold move, I pray that by the end of this article, you will set SMART goals. Think about what you want, and what it will take for you to get it, then write it down. For example, I will audition 5 times this year, I will attend 3 masterclasses in line with my career. I will do 2 professional photoshoots this year or I will work on my brand to mention but a few make them specific and work towards growing your career milestones.SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound Keep your goals realistic/relevant. Keep the goals realistic about what you can achieve, if you set out to take on 5 audition roles, this is going to require that you list down the projects that you want to work on whether short film, feature film or documentaries, reach out to the directors and express your interests. Remember NOs are part of this job , always pick up yourself and board the next bus to a YES.Set deadlines or targets for your goals. Targets will help you to stay in check. For example, by March I want to be done with 1 masterclass in self-tape, this will help you to look out for that training but also remind you of the effort that you are making to be better. Diversify your craft and goals. You might be a great actor/actres but when your heart starts to pick interest in another field in film, do it- it might be in costume design, makeup, or DOP don’t hesitate to take a chance on yourself, it's worth the try.2. Learn from 2023. There is a saying- you can’t see the future if you don’t learn from your past. Have you had a day in 2023 when they asked for your headshots and you sent selfies because you didn’t have any professional headshots? Don’t make that mistake again, casting directors move on quickly. Have you had a day where they asked for your monologues and you didn’t have any to share? We want to challenge you this year to learn from your past. Take a professional headshot and store the photos on a cloud where you can easily share a link. Pick a monologue from your favorite film, do it, and store it on the cloud as well for easy sharing. Make sure the mistakes you made in 2023 are lessons that push you to do better this year.3. Take an assessment of your achievements. Recently one of the best actors Robina Akello got a role on Sanyu TV series as a maid "Alunyu" she has gone ahead to capture the hearts of many telenovela lovers that her character is becoming one of the most loved and related to she didn’t know she will be this far with the role but she has achieved it. Celebrate all your wins, small or big, they will empower you to move forward.4. Have the boldness to acknowledge how far you've come. Last year at the second edition of Theatre and Performing Arts, Mumbejja Mariam Ndagire shared how they started at Bat Valley, how they used whatever they had to see that people came to the theater, the years of practice, showing up, the discipline of not giving up. When you ask today who are the Best Actresses we have in Uganda, Mumbejja Mariam Ndagire's name will be the 3rd if not the 1st on that list, she made that name on stage. You need to give yourself some credit, you must not lose focus on the future, and take stock of how far you have come. If you manage to achieve your 2024 goals, look back and appreciate the work you are doing. Always remember you are your biggest cheerleader.5. Learn from the good and the bad. Remember we told you that the NOs are part of this job, but you need to make an effort and see why you are not getting the roles. Here is a tip- on the day of auditions, look out for the casting director, share your sincere desire to receive feedback and tell them it will help you to grow and also how to handle the next audition.We have already shared some of the opportunities that are in 2024 and here is what you have to do.Work on your professional Actor's tool - Kit: Casting profiles. CV. Showreel. Headshots. If you have been sending selfies to casting directors, 2024 is the year you brush up and level up. At Cinema UG we have an actor professional CV package starting from 150,000 Ugx. Don’t forget that you are in a competitive world, put your best foot forward and promote and brand yourself well.Diversify: Remember how we told you to get engaged in other film fields that speak   to the core of your heart, this will help you earn an extra income as a makeup artist, a costume designer or any other field you choose.Network: There is power in networking events and we believe 2024 has a number of them loaded i.e. Ikon Awards 2024, UFF 2024, Women in Film second edition, Ngalabi Short Film Festival, Film Club Uganda that happens every Tuesday at National Theatre, try to have a purpose for every event that you attend this coming year i.e. meeting the casting director of Beloved, Damalie or Sanyu can be your target and remember always have your kit ready.Take an acting class Ahh!! you might wonder, YES take that class, when was the last time you took a month or 3 months of serious study in your line of work? When was the last time you enrolled for an online film class? It's time this year you take back your boat of knowledge and purpose to expand your interact. The acting class will help you learn how to secure the next job but also see the acting job professionally.Finally, but not least6. Grow your creative community. Do you honestly have a group of accountable partners that will tell you about your mistakes? Those who will celebrate with you during your wins but also hold you when your ship feels stranded? The creative sector registers high rates of mental illness, depression, anxiety and suicide because oftentimes the journey gets lonely but will a lot of doubts and fears of how genuinely celebrate you when you win. Grow your community.In conclusion, 2024 is going to be the year that you make it to be.Written by Cinema UG

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The 7 Ps of Film Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide to Promoting Your Movie.

Marketing for Film is the process of getting people interested in your film. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal target audience and their interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.The market research stage will therefore provide data regarding the 7 P's of marketing. These are Product/ service, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Packaging, and Process.Product: in film, the product will be the film however the nature of the film will be the determinant. The film is defined through its themes. So any filmmaker should be able to identify the theme in the story they’re telling. Is it about love, family drama, horror, adventure, sci-fi, historical, biopic, high school classic, musical, or sport? This different theme will be fundamental in helping the marketing team identify the target audience and how to package/brand the film.Price: after identifying the target audience, it is important to analyze the pricing theory that will be most viable in achieving the financial goal of the film. The distribution plan will also be considered for example how much will theater ticket cost, how much will the DVD cost, and how much should be expected from the SVOD, VOD, and probably the pay TV.Promotion: this is the process of creating awareness of the product within the target audience. This is a lengthy and demanding process that will require the use of ABOVE THE LINE, THROUGH THE LINE, and BELOW THE LINE marketing strategies.People: this is the most important utility in the distribution chain. People are the target audience, the reason why possible you’re making the film. It is therefore crucial to identify the right audience and understand their interests as a move to create a film family that will guarantee a market for your film.Packaging: we have already discussed branding your film. Packaging is the look and feel of any product. The film will also require a good package. This will be achieved through identifying the themes and giving the film a look that says everything about the themes within. When we package, you will create a brand identity that your film family will religiously want to associate with. This in turn will enable the creation of a film franchise. Symbolism is also very key in this element.Process: this now answers the question of how everything is going to be achieved. Yes, you have developed an amazing marketing and distribution plan but how will it be achieved? This will include strategizing and drawing time frames as well as achieving target dates.This is therefore referred to as strategic marketing analysis. The main reason and advantage of engaging the marketing agency or company team is to have a risk assessment process and potential return on investment (ROI).Any filmmaker therefore with the intention of doing a film project as a business should understand the relevance and importance of the marketing team from the very start. One of the things very crucial about any product or service is packaging or the look and feel of your product. This is the process of creating a brand. Through the process of marketing research, the film will get an identity which is the brand. This is a powerful tool that will help you create a passionate brand family. You will develop a culture where people feel attached to the film brand and this will help you in trying to monetize the film beyond screenings and franchises as well.The film marketing budget will therefore take a good portion of the entire film budget because of the essence of marketing to film. Filmmakers should have a clear marketing and distribution roadmap right from the start as long as the ultimate goal is to achieve a return on investment.It is therefore very challenging for any producer to achieve financial returns on their film if they only start marketing after production. It is like starting a beef business without knowing the community is vegetarian.Oftentimes filmmakers are not good at business/ marketing, it is therefore imperative for the writer to consult a distributor or marketing agency about their film idea, where and how it will make economic sense, and what idea can be of help in identifying the target audience. Sharing ideas with the marketing team at the initial stage makes the entire marketing plan/ road map more smooth and seemingly achievable.NOTE: Whether for profit or not, marketing is a very crucial part of filmmaking and the stages of engagement will depend on the audience, purpose, and sources of funding.​​​​​​​By Dialo Ssekidde - Film instructor/ Writer/ Director

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Why Uganda Tourism Players Should Invest In Film Industry?

Nigeria, which is Africa’s giant in the movie business, reaps over USD 3 billion from the industry. It’s also among the Top 5 global earners in the film business. The money is generated from the box office, local market, and tourism fuelled by films. That is what is missing in Uganda’s tourism industry. Uganda seems to be rich in stories, and physical features for shooting locations, and actually, we also have the talent. So, what is the real problem? Unlike Uganda, South Africa offers tax holidays, and waivers, and even reimburses money when a filmmaker spends more than a million dollars on film production in South Africa. Foreign filmmakers are encouraged to hire local South African talent in their production. This is not the case for Uganda, which still lags in harnessing opportunities. “Seven Days at Entebbe was shot in Malta because it gave the production company tax waivers and an airport that resembled the old Entebbe Airport. We missed seeing our local attire, aerial view of Lake Victoria, and scenes of Entebbe.Most of these scenes would have turned into tourism spots,” Mr. Kagwa, who sits on the Uganda Oscars selection committee, told Daily Monitor. Someone may underestimate the power of film but the facts will prove you wrong.According to some reports, the Queen of Katwe movie increased the number of foreign tourists in the slum areas of Katwe and Kampala as a whole. The movie was screened on the Disney Channel with an average of 1.23 million viewers. The Disney Facebook page has over 30 million followers, not forgetting the rest of the social media platforms. Actor David Oyelowo has over a million followers on social media while Lupita Nyong’o has over 5 million followers on Facebook and Twitter combined. That means Uganda was exposed to the rest of the world, and this did not only happen once (during its theatrical time) but also afterward because movies continue to be viewed even after their Cinema time.​​​​​​​With shooting locations such as River Nile where the Hollywood movie “African Queen” was shot, Queen Elizabeth National Park with a good Savannah climate for action movies, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Lake Bunyonyi which inspired some features in Black Panther, and many others, Uganda’s physical, cultural and social features hold big potential for film investment.The film Last King of Scotland increased awareness (knowledge) about Uganda more than anything else as it attracted Hollywood and world cameras to Uganda. The actor Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for the film, making it even more popular. The film did not only bring Hollywood stars such as Kelly Washington and James McAvoy to Uganda, but it also boosted Uganda’s tourism appeal abroad. One of Uganda’s most famous locally produced movies, “Who Killed Captain Alex” got over 2 million views on YouTube just for its trailer. Imagine it was shot in one of the best tourist sites around the country! Investing in the film industry to promote tourism is way cheaper than direct advertising by the Uganda Tourism Board. An average Ugandan movie goes for USD 15,000, which is over 60 million Ugandan shillings, and on average it reaches at least 2 million Ugandans. A simple advert on television can cost up to Shs 400 million depending on the time it runs. The former stays for many years (if not forever) but the latter might be forgotten a month after it has stopped running. So, how can this be done?Reduce taxes on high-quality film materials such as cameras for private investors to afford them. This will promote quality in the film industry, restore confidence in the Ugandan film fan base, and increase its viewing.  Sponsor film writers, producers, and directors to produce films that show the beauty (physical) and culture of Uganda directly by injecting money not only into the film-making business but also into the distribution process. Take advantage of Uganda having a famous decision-maker in Hollywood. Tendo Nagenda is the Vice President of Production in the biggest production house in the world but has only managed to lobby one movie out of Uganda - Queen of Katwe. By Martin Kabagambe​​​​​​​

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Why as a filmmaker you need a press kit for your film?

We often get requests from filmmakers to advertise and market their films on Cinema UG's social media platforms. The first thing we usually ask for is the press kit. Unfortunately, very few filmmakers always provide the press kit for their films. So what’s the press kit and why is it important for your film?A press kit is a page or a folder on a film’s website, that talks about the film It includes, a synopsis, cast, and their photos, selected cast and crew biography, a few behind-scenes photos, and all the necessary information about your film. It makes it easy for journalists to get the facts, information, and media of your movie from one spot.  It serves as a comprehensive package of information and promotional materials designed to generate interest and coverage from the media, critics, and potential distributors or investors. ​​​​​​​Here are some key reasons why a press kit is important in film marketing:1. Media Coverage: Journalists and critics often need quick access to information and materials for their articles and reviews. Providing a press kit with high-quality images, trailers, and relevant documents can make their job easier and increase the chances of getting media coverage.2. Festival Submissions: When submitting your film to film festivals, having a press kit can be a requirement. Festivals use press kits to evaluate the films they select and to prepare materials for their own promotional efforts.3. Marketing and Promotion: Distributors, sales agents, and other industry professionals may use your press kit as a resource when considering whether to acquire or promote your film. It provides them with a comprehensive overview of the film's potential.4. Consistency: A press kit helps ensure that everyone involved in promoting your film has access to the same information and materials. This ensures consistency in messaging and branding.5. Networking: When attending film festivals, markets, or industry events, having physical copies of your press kit to distribute can help you network with potential partners, investors, and collaborators.6. Online Presence: A digital press kit can be easily shared on your film's website, social media platforms, and through email. This allows you to reach a wider audience and generate buzz online.7. Information Dissemination: A press kit contains all the necessary information about your film, such as the synopsis, cast and crew bios, production notes, and other relevant details. This makes it easy for journalists to write articles or reviews about your film.The journalist looking for a press kit already knows about your film and wants to get his facts right and the right media that he will publish about your movie. Unfortunately, most of the filmmakers we have talked to will send you one thing at a time as you ask. Some journalists do not have that time.  The press kit won’t only make it easy for you to promote your film here in Uganda but will also be required in some submissions to festivals.The press kit is sent to the organizing committee of the festival along with an application for participation or at the festival request when the film is already included in the competition program. Some festivals will publish press kits on their websites, others place print versions at the information desks in the press rooms and distribute them to the media before press shows.Most times the press kit comes into the hands of journalists before the screening of the film, forming the first impression of the film and its author. So, you must work on it in the best way you can.Learn what are the key elements to include in an Electronic Press kit in our next blog.By Jesca Ahimbisibwe and Martin Kabagambe.

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How to identify your film's market at script level?

Film as a business means the final product which is either a short film, feature film or series becomes a commodity of demand which will require the principle of marketing. The big question therefore remains, ‘How then do I identify my target market at the initial stages?’The most important element in any story is its “theme.” Theme drives the plot within any given story. As a storyteller, what themes drive your story is a fundamental question in helping you identify your target market.  Themes in the film refer to a central unifying concept. It evokes a universal human experience and can be stated in one word or short phrase, for example, love, death, or coming to age. A theme may never be stated explicitly but is exemplified by the film's plot, dialogue, cinematography, and music. (Lion King song). So it is the theme that will ideally identify what your plot is all about and who could be interested in it. On several occasions when you interest people about your film, the first question they might ask you is, “What is your film all about?” In short, they are trying to ask you what the theme of the film is and if it could be in their interest. Therefore being able to identify the themes within the film will greatly help in identifying the marketing plan or direction. Most film festivals Will actually be very specific on the themes they require for any film to participate in the festival. So if you intend to use the festival as a distribution platform, knowing the theme for the festival will help you know if your film qualifies or not.THEMES answer the question “What story am I telling and who could it relate with because it is most likely that only those people who relate to the themes within your film will spend on it and that is your primary market. Themes as described earlier will drive your plot/ story and this will be manifested in different forms like the character, dialogue, sound, color themes, and cinematography. This is exactly what marketing is all about. Marketing your film will require your characters, unique quotes within their dialogue, amazing sound, symbolic color themes and all this explains why and how themes are very important in identifying your target market. Factually if you’re unable to identify any themes within the film script, possible you have no target market and nobody could be interested in watching your film.Finally, the marketing team will ask you what themes the film incorporates in a bid to identify the potential market and how best to reach them while using the theme codes. It will therefore be a mountain task for the marketing team to successfully reach and exhaust the market if the film can’t exhibit any themes. It will be like winking at a girl in the dark, you know what you’re doing but she has no idea whatsoever.By: Dialo Ssekidde - Film instructor / Writer / Director / Consultant​​​​​​

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When does marketing for film start?

Marketing as a noun is the activity or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. Therefore film as a form of entertainment can be classified as a service and thereby calls for marketing.Marketing for Film is the process of getting people interested in your film. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal target audience and their interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.When does marketing for film start then? Since marketing isn’t just an invention but a process that takes several stages, marketing film therefore starts immediately after you conceive the idea. Like any other new product or service, when an idea is generated the marketing team starts the market research process to try and identify things like the potential target audience, their interests, the competitors, distribution channels, and any relevant data that will make the product/ service a success.The market research stage will therefore provide data regarding the 7 P's of marketing. These are Product/ service, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Packaging, and Process.This is therefore referred to as strategic marketing analysis. The main reason and advantage of engaging the marketing agency or company team is to have a risk assessment process and potential return on investment (ROI).Any filmmaker therefore with an intention of doing a film project as a business should understand the relevance and importance of the marketing team from the very start. One of the things very crucial about any product or service is packaging or the look and feel of your product. This is the process of creating a brand. Through the process of marketing research, the film will get an identity which is the brand. This is a powerful tool that will help you create a passionate brand family. You will develop a culture where people feel attached to the film brand and this will help you in trying to monetize the film beyond screenings and franchises as well.The film marketing budget will therefore take a good portion of the entire film budget because of the essence of marketing to film. Filmmakers should have a clear marketing and distribution roadmap right from the start as long as the ultimate goal is to achieve a return on investment.It is therefore very challenging for any producer to achieve financial returns on their film if they only start marketing after production. It is like starting a beef business without knowing the community is vegetarian.Oftentimes filmmakers are not good at business/ marketing, It is therefore imperative for the writer to consult a distributor or marketing agency about their film idea, where and how it will make economic sense, and what idea can be of help in identifying the target audience. Sharing ideas with the marketing team at the initial stage makes the entire marketing plan/ road map more smooth and seemingly achievable.IN WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU MARKET A FILM AFTER PRODUCTION?All those film projects are commissioned through grants and similar funding where the primary goal is not a return on investment but rather educational and societal awareness. Such projects will require marketing just to inform the audience of the screening schedules and the themes of the film. These are most non-profit making film projects with special and particular audiences.NOTE: Whether for profit or not, marketing is a very crucial part of filmmaking and the stages of engagement will depend on the audience, purpose, and sources of funding.By Dialo Ssekidde - Film instructor/ Writer/ Director

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Uganda Film Festival to Award Makeup Artists

For the past nine years, the Ugandan Film Festival has celebrated the best of Ugandan cinema. However, in those nine editions, there was no category that recognized the art of makeup. That all changed with the 10th edition. The festival organizers have finally acknowledged the significant contribution that makeup artists make to the film industry.Makeup has always been an essential component of filmmaking. It helps to transform actors into their characters, making them look and feel like someone else entirely. From creating wounds and scars to aging actors, makeup artists play a crucial role in bringing a film to life. In many ways, they are the unsung heroes of the film industry.Despite the vital role that makeup plays in filmmaking, it has often been overlooked in many film festivals, including the Ugandan Film Festival. For years, makeup artists have had to settle for recognition from their peers, and their work was not always appreciated by audiences or critics. That will change going forward.  This addition comes after several other events in the film makeup world that have happened this year so far, that is, Enakaziba Makeup Exhibition and the fact that the recently concluded iKon Awards has the category. The addition of the Best Makeup category is a significant step forward for the Ugandan Film Festival. It shows that the festival organizers recognize the value of makeup artists and their contribution to the industry. By creating a dedicated category for makeup, they are giving artists the recognition they deserve and encouraging more filmmakers to pay attention to this essential aspect of filmmaking.One of the main benefits of the new category is that it will help add efforts to already existing initiatives in raising awareness about makeup and its importance in filmmaking. This, in turn, will lead to more filmmakers prioritizing makeup in their productions, which will ultimately result in better-quality films. When makeup is done well, it can add an extra layer of depth to a character and help to create a more immersive experience for the audience. By recognizing the importance of makeup, the Ugandan Film Festival is encouraging filmmakers to pay attention to this crucial aspect of filmmaking and to produce better films as a result.For the filmmakers and the make-up artists, it’s your time to also shine at the Ugandan Film Festival with the faces you’ve created.

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Trying to get hired as an actor? Listen …

Getting hired as an actor in this Ugandan Film Industry isn’t easy, especially for the new actors in the game. I will be listing down what you need as an actor to excel at auditions. Okay, let’s talk about auditions. Auditions! are an interview for a role or job as a singer, actor, dancer, or musician, consisting of a practical demonstration of the candidate's suitability and skill. Auditioning for a movie is not a cup of tea, especially when you are new to the process. It’s always the anxiety and insecurity.​​​​​​​I will take you through some of the things you should know before you go for the auditions. What to do and what not to do during that moment to please the casting directors. I will use examples and explanations given by the three guest speakers at a recently concluded Film Club Uganda meeting on Tuesday 5th April 2022.  The guest speakers of the sessions were Richard Mulindwa a director with Limit Production, Andrew Kagwa Mayiga a season art journalist, and Michael Wawuyo Jr an actor.        I will break this into three to approach this problem;How to do what is expected of you?How not to do what is not expected of you?What is the one thing you need to do before the audition that will help you at the audition? When these three are understood well, one is expected to get a gig, but even when he doesn’t get it, if the casting directors love you, you may be called on their next project.How to do what is expected of you dress appropriately. The dress code gives the casting director an impression of you even before acting. I will just say, don’t be shabby, but don’t be over-fashionable. “Don’t overthink this one. You’re going to a job audition. Be professional without overdressing. Don’t dress too “part specific.” If you are reading for a doctor and show up in scrubs, it’s harder for anyone to imagine you as the lawyer—especially if the producers are choosing from tape.” Jeremy Gordon, an L.A.-based casting director says.  Use your waiting time wisely. There is a lot to talk about but I will summarize it as much as possible. Arrive as early as possible, if possible, earlier than the set time by the casting directors. Don’t use your waiting time gossiping, instead use it as a time to rehearse and master your lines to relieve all the stress and pressure. Introduce yourself. This is a tricky one, you have to be ready to read the room and know what to do when, and how. First, the casting director(s) will likely tell you what to do once you enter. If they don’t ask you anything, just say the name and the role you are auditioning for. Be confident, it’s usually a likable character. It sounds simple but it takes practice. Walk in the door with your head held high. Be wary of shuffling feet. 1. How not to do what is not expected of you.Don’t be overconfident. Being overconfident makes you do things that you think are right when in actual sense you are messing up. Be humble and do what you should be doing and don’t cross the line. Don’t be rude and a know-it-all. Michael Wawuyo called it a diva. No one wants to interact with someone who thinks he/she knows more than them. Directors want actors who are directable and can do what exactly is told to them. Be that actor in the room. Don’t watch the directors. Act it out from your heart and make the body bring out what is inside the character. Don’t yell throughout your entire audition. No one wants to be screamed at for two minutes… or five minutes. Find levels, dynamics, natural builds, and rhythms within your audition material.2. What is the one thing you need to do/know before the audition that will help you at the audition? You need to work at it every day. If you want to be good at something, work on it every day as you add a brick to the house you are building. This is the same for acting; auditions portray what you have been doing all along as an actor. If you can do a monologue every day, that means that every day that passes you become better at it. Expect rejections. You will not get a role every time you go for an audition; it doesn’t mean you are too bad to act. In fact, you will get many of those, but the more you go to auditions the more you learn what is required of you and make yourself better for the next one.Know your “type”. Knowing yourself is the first step towards improvement. Knowing your strength and weakness will help go for those roles you will most likely win, or those roles you will execute best.Work on yourself. By this, I mean your body's physical appearance and smell. Director Mulindwa emphasized that an actor must look good. If you can go to the gym, please go there; if you can do anything to look good please do. Although there is always a role for anyone, the good-looking actor will always get the first cut unless they are looking for a specific person of your type. If you can get an acting coach, please do. This goes to especially those that aren’t signed under any production company. Those in a production house practice almost every day because they have projects to work on.Written by Martin Kabagambe 

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