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Ugandan films for international festivals

This year is already registering lots of success for film. Joseph Ken Ssebaggala’s House Arrest is vying for the biggest award at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) – Best Film Overall – against the likes of Ayanda and Tell Me A Sweet Something, among others.

But before the country even gets over that excitement, more good news came trickling in last week with the nomination of Boda Boda Thieves and Bala Bala Sese for the biggest award at the Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) in Egypt.

Boda Boda Thieves had a good year having been nominated for the Best Feature Film at the Durban International Film Festival, Nigeria’s Africa International Film Festival, Berlinale Internationale Film Festival and at the African Academy Film Festival.

Directed by Donald Mugisha, the film scooped two awards at the 2015 Uganda Film Festival, although its competition, Bala Bala Sese was highly overlooked in all categories of the Ugandan showpiece.

Bala Bala Sese stars performing couple Michael Kasaija and Natasha Sinayobye and is a story about lovers that go through deceit, greed and betrayal while trying to stay together.

The film boasts of good cinematography, sound and the Kasaijas were both amazing, but like Boda Boda Thieves, they will have to compete with Lamb, an Ethiopian film that gained a lot of positive international reviews last year.

If one of the two films wins, they will walk away with $4,000 (about Shs 13.8m) as the prize money.

In the other categories at LAFF, two more local short films White Faces (Robert Katogo) and Kai: The Vendor (Robert Nyanzi) will also compete for the Best Short Film prize.

The LAFF are organised by the Independent Shabab Foundation, an NGO in Egypt, and under the auspices of the country’s ministry of Culture.

Besides LAFF, Kennedy Kihire’s Drawn Together is nominated for Best Short Film at the Cameroon International Film Festival (CAMIFF) and will face off with films such as Nigerian Tope Oshin’s Ireti; HUM!! by Cameroonian Nabe Daone, and United Kingdom’s Andrew Oldbury’s War.

The CAMIFF is due in Cameroon this April.

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