A film on the scars of political brutality and repression and the healing effect of art, is being made in Kampala, Uganda. Winnie Gamisha, a young and promising screen writer and film director fresh from the London Film School in Britain, is on location in a Kampala informal settlement shooting what is likely to be an exciting short film if she remains true to and accurately interprets what has been described by the East and Central Africa jury of a Goethe-Institut and Art in Africa Foundation-organised Africa-wide short film scripwriting competition jury as capturing “a contemporary African dilemma in an honest and vibrant way”. OGOVA ONDEGO reports.
“The Painter will be a short film of about 25 minutes and apart from being in the Goethe competition,” Gamisha says, “it will also be used as my graduation film for the London Film School. I will be directing it and Andreas will be the Director of Photography and cameraman. His company, Andreas Frowein Film, will be producing it in co-operation with Goethe-Institut and the London Film School.”
The script of THE PAINTER takes the reader through the life of a young artist whose community does not understand his aspirations in fine art. Like any African family, that of the lead character, Kefa, craves status, wealth and respect at the expense of his own vision.
Gamisha’s script was the best in the East and Central Africa region and the jury praised her for treating “her characters with a gentle humour and punishing wit.”
Whether Gamisha lives up to the expectation of the jury who ‘very highly recommended’ her script noting that “Art, if well utilised, can help heal Africa and change perception” remains to be seen after the 14-day (May 18-31, 2009) shoot of THE PAINTER.
But Gamisha, who has just completed her studies at London Film School and has honed her skills in directing a documentary film on bicycle riding in Jinja that was broadcast on the French-German channel ARTE, should have little difficult living up to expectation. Though scripting and directing are two different things, a well trained writer and director should have little problem in turning the script into an action-packed fiction film.
“This film explores how political brutality and poverty shape people’s personalities in making them introverts but how persistent love can bring the best out of people like Kefa and let it flourish. It also suggests a way of protecting these gifts and talents from envious relatives and neighbours who will seek to destroy creativity if they cannot directly benefit from it,” Gamisha, 29, says.
The film begins when the artist’s mother visits him one morning to, once again, persuade him to take up a ‘real’ paying job instead of insisting on doing art which is not bringing him any proceeds. The mother compares him to the neighbour’s son who, even without the benefit of university education, is ‘very clever’ because over a period of five years, he has built several rental houses, never mind that this has been achieved from not-so-honest means. She also pesters him marry a real woman ‘a village girl’ instead of living with his ‘come-we-stay’ university-educated girlfriend, Rita.
The main character, Kefa, is played by Ugandan soul, afro and R & B musician Maurice Kirya while the role of Rita is played by Tindi of the Theatre Factory/NTV’s Barbed Wire television show fame. Kefa’s mother, Phina, is played by Keloy Kemigisha who was hair dresser of the Academy Award-winning THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND that was shot on location in Uganda in 2006.
Gamisha, who was born in Mbale, Uganda in August 1979, has now settled in Uganda where, with Frowein “her husband” she will concentrate on writing and directing films.
THE PAINTER is produced by Goethe-Institut, London Film School and Andreas Frowein Film.