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Matatu Film Stage: A Showcase of Ugandan Cinematic Brilliance.
Matatu Film Stage: A Showcase of Ugandan Cinematic Brilliance.
Matatu Film Stage: A Showcase of Ugandan Cinematic Brilliance.

On Friday, October 6th, the curtains drew to a close on the second edition of the Matatu Film Stage at Century Cinemax Acacia in Uganda. The event marked a return after four years, with the first edition held in December 2018. The intervening years were fraught with challenges, notably the global pandemic, which disrupted countless cultural events. However, the Matatu Film Stage has emerged resilient and stronger, pledging to be an annual cinematic extravaganza. This platform, created by Film Possible, serves as a vital distribution hub for high-quality Ugandan films, showcasing the nation's diverse storytelling prowess.

This year's edition featured a lineup of six films. The event, hosted by the Clotilda Inapo, kicked off at 5 pm with a blue carpet affair, complete with cocktails, snacks, shots, and music. As guests mingled, the screenings began, culminating in a vibrant afterparty at Cielo Lounge, just opposite Acacia Mall.

The evening commenced with "Key Card" by Angie Emurwon, a crime narrative set in a Kampala hotel. A detective is called to unravel a complex web of deception, where trust is in short supply.

One of the standout films of the evening was "Jangu," directed by Patience Nitumwesiga and produced by Shagika Tales Productions and Stone Age Pictures. This story follows two sisters who are robbed at night and seek refuge with a witch. However, their journey takes an unexpected and surreal turn, transforming their world by morning. Attendee Rashid praised "Jangu" for its concise storytelling and awarded it 7.5/10, describing it as a perfect example of short and impactful filmmaking.

Another noteworthy inclusion was "Ttula," an animation by Benjamin Mwesigwa that delves into the theme of mental health. Rendered in 2D animation, the film uses humor and wit to navigate the turbulent waters of a young child's mental breakdown, touching upon issues related to bipolar disorder.

"I Eat What I Like" and "Sungura" explored the fear and stigma surrounding discussions about sexuality, especially when it contradicts societal expectations. These films brought to light the challenges individuals face when attempting to reconcile their true selves with society's preconceived notions of righteousness.

Finally, the evening reached its climax with the premiere screening of "The Last Shoemaker." Directed by Ali Musoke, the film explores themes of neocolonialism beneath the surface story of shoes. It tells a tale of people who pretend to help while exploiting valuable resources. Featuring emerging talents like King Missy and Agume Mark, as well as industry legends like Sarah Kisauzi, the film also boasts an album of six songs set to be released on the 13th of this month, available on all platforms.

For those who missed the Matatu Film Stage, fear not. These films will continue to screen throughout the month. Mark your calendars for the 13th at Century Cinemas Acacia Mall, and the 20th and 27th at Century Cinemax Arena Mall. The Matatu Film Stage promises to be an annual celebration of Ugandan cinematic brilliance, and its second edition has certainly left audiences eager for more.

By Martin Kabagambe

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