By Ogova Ondego
Published August 29, 2015
An annual film festival whose demise was regarded as a major setback to eastern Africa’s creative sector three years ago is set to return in March 2016.
Amakula Kampala International Film Festival was for a while the initiative worth talking about from its inception in 2004 to about 2012 when it faltered, dashing the hopes of lovers and practitioners of African movies and cultures across the world.
Now, almost four years later, the festival that was initially presented by Amakula Cultural Foundation, shall now come under the umbrella of another initiative known as Bayimba Cultural Foundation and its partners in what is seen as efforts to put the festival under the control of local Ugandans.
Dutch film historian Alice Smits and American filmmaker Lee Elickson who launched what was then East Africa’s cutting-edge movie festival and managed it for almost 10 years, say the festival will now be run by Bayimba Cultural Foundation, Maisha Film Lab, Kampala Film School and Goethe Zentrum/UGCS.
“Bayimba has a proven track record in organising large scale cultural events while its director, Faisal Kiwewa, with a passion for film, worked with Amakula in his younger years and therefore knows Amakula well,” Smits and Elickson write in their latest Amakula Cultural Foundation newsletter. “We are grateful to our former partners Maisha Film Lab and Kampala Film School, that have both played a crucial role in enhancing the cinema culture in Uganda, for their desire to join in the effort to revive Amakula. And we welcome Goethe Zentrum/UGCS with a long-standing history of film industry development support as an additional partner in this.”
Inviting “all our friends, fans and supporters to pledge their support to Bayimba Cultural Foundation, Maisha Film Lab, Kampala Film School and Goethe Zentrum/UGCS who will be developing Amakula into new and exciting directions,” co-directors Smits and Elickson say the new presenters of Amakula that appears to have dropped ‘Kampala’ from its name, “will help Amakula re-emerge in Uganda and continue the effort of inspiration with the return of the annual Amakula International Film Festival in March 2016. We have full trust that Amakula, led by these local organisations, will again be at the forefront of the cultural scene, as a thriving force to reinvigorate the Ugandan film community and industry.”