The Ugandan film Industry is termed as Ugawood or KinaUganda (Ugandan) and these two terms identify the movies acted and produced from Uganda and by Ugandans specifically.
The industry started way back with movies like Feelings Struggle produced by Ashraf Ssemwogerere and has been growing steadily since then. Some of the famous Ugandan film producers are Roland Ibanda George (On the Other side" Which advocates for Justice in a corrupt community. Genres: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Action, Adventure, Drama), Robert Nyanzi (DEDDAC FILMS) among others.
The famous Ugandan movies on top so far include; The last king of Scotland, Who killed Captain Alex(2010), The Ugandan (2013), Bala Bala sense(2015) and they have been a success due to the effort of famous Ugandan actors like Mariam Ndagire, Ntale Maine, Madina Nalwanga, Ashraf Semwogerere, Natasha Sinayobe and Laura Kahunde among the many others.
These people pay to watch the movie! Yes, they do exist although in continuingly different channels. People now watch movies on a variety of platforms: traditional theatrical release, television, and online streaming, depending on what is convenient for them.
The moviemakers on a large scale are required to finance them which is so expensive for them and therefore leads to less input, the biggest reason why most Ugawood movies don't make it to the top because though the storylines are good, the quality of output is always low.
Some other few movies are funded by NGOs to put across a given message to a given group of people, for example, TASO for HIV/AIDS sensitization, The Human Rights Network - Uganda (HURINET) for human rights enforcement among others. Besides, all these, the government also comes in through UCC( The Uganda Communications Commission) to organize the Uganda Film Festival to promote the film industry.
The Ugandan film business is not easy due to several challenges faced by the production bodies, actors and distributors limited funding, poor distribution networks and lack of government support, there are no managers for actresses in Uganda, a scenario that has seen producers of movies like Queen of Katwe bring in foreigners as actresses and production assistants to do basic things like moving tables and cables, piracy and unending fights between UCC and Ministry of Gender over who should handle the task of managing the industry.
These can be solved by establishing systems like a Film Commission or an authority that will oversee the activities of the industry as well as come up with a copyright law that will deter piracy of movies produced. This will boot the industry in terms of revenue generation. We can export our movies taking advantage of cable TV's because they offer a higher price and the audience is bigger compared to local TV stations. Film producers and directors can also take on co-production roles in the region.
Marketing and distribution:
The films are marketed through film festivals like the Uganda Film Festival (UFF) organized by UCC which recently also signed an agreement with Hollywood Film Festival to pave way for Ugandan content to showcase in Hollywood.
In terms of distribution, films are distributed in video halls where narrators called "video jokers" translate the dialogue and add their commentary for the audience.
Of recent, the movies can also be advertised on different apps like ours here, CINEMA UG APP where you find different trailers and their showing details of the Ugandan movies and the apps are a form of digital marketing among other forms.
Earning from the Film Business:
Display Ugandan films in various cinema halls, Makeshift cinema halls, commonly known as Bibanda, are not left out especially for translation purposes.
In Uganda, the film industry is estimated to generate about USD50m per year. Unfortunately, most of that revenue is lost through piracy and sheer disorganization within the sector.
Film producers today release over 150 films annually. Each of these films employs over 50 people both directly and indirectly. For the distribution role alone, the industry today employs over 600 people directly.
However, with the advent of the new distribution platform, more Ugandans will be employed hence benefiting the economy. Besides distribution, the industry also has opportunities like digital marketing where digitally skilled Ugandans can help take Ugandan films to a global level and earn money too.
In conclusion, the Ugandan film business is promising and growing steadily but will grow faster when problems of piracy, low budget, and poor marketing skills among others are dealt with. It also employs a huge population and earns it a certain percentage of income.