Entertainment

Ugawood Must Adopt A Pan-African Approach

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purchase http://dentistryatthepark.com/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/modules/quiz.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>In film workshops and conferences, viagra sale inadequate funding, poor quality of actors, lack of right equipment, untrained screenwriters and directors, lack of marketers and distributors, etc, are some of the hindrances that arise as far as the Uganda film or ‘Kinna-Uganda’ is concerned.

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Rarely do we challenge ourselves to the question of the philosophies embedded in our films. As you will soon realise, many of us make videos which will call movies.

According to Dr Kihura Nkuba, the executive director TV Africa, a film is judged from its philosophical content supplemented by the technical content but a video is any recording on the camera that has no philosophy at all.

I think the very idea of writing is to represent the values, beliefs, perceptions and ways of life of the community you are writing for or writing from.

Do we ever think about this before we begin scripting?

Predators chopping off people’s heads in Mabira forest or Nubili, the green men from mars stealing cows from a farm in Ndeeba, the film will be such a hit but the believability will be doubted by even nursery kids!

Not to be mistaken for doubting creativity, I must hastily clarify that my quarrel is limited to the kind of stories we tell and whether they are purposeful to our immediate communities or not.

Ugandan cinema is part of the huge African Cinema or Third Cinema which started in the early 1960s and whose founders emphasised a pan-African approach to movie making.

Alternative or Third Cinema

Earliest African filmmakers like Sembene Ousmane, Souleyman Cisse, Haile Gerima, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Youseef Chahine, Safi Faye, Djibril Diop Mabety, among others, all wanted to tell alternative stories about Africa.

The alternative story is that which does not appear in the British formal histories about Africa.

These filmmakers wanted to rewrite the history of Africa but to reach a wider audience; they needed the camera to speak on their behalf.

Haile Gerima says that he did not make his film Sankofa to entertain but “to make us think”.

The benefit of the alternative story is that it gives one a personal point of view, asserts individual identities and offers a chance for self-recreation.

The above African icons advocated for a Pan-African philosophy which is concerned with struggling for a collective good thus the director became a griot or the eye and ear of his people.

Directors As Modern Griots

According Sembene Ousmane, Senegalese novelist and the father of African cinema, the modern filmmaker is the modern griot.

A griot is an oral story teller, a historian, poet/bad, praise singer or literary critic.

The role of a modern director, therefore, is to document, chronicle, interpret and record the life experiences of his people.

If the ancient griot was concerned with extraordinary heroes and fantasies, the modern griot (director) is a pan-Africanist concerned with cultural loss, oppression, neo-colonial challenges, civil rights, values and emancipation.

There is art for art’s sake which is beautiful and entertains and there is art for man’s sake which edu-tains because it has a purpose.

A Pan-African Film Festival is already in operation to cater for movies that boost and sell a positive African image, so no one should be discourage in terms of a market for these movies.

Tenets Of A Pan-African Story

What influences you to write or tell that specific story?

I believe that an African filmmaker ought to address issues that affect his or her immediate society by educating and entertaining at the same time.

“A civilisation that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken (dead) civilisation,” wrote philosopher Aime Cesaire.

From this assertion, therefore, your story should be an eye opener because you have the poetic licence to say whatever you want to say.

If our culture and identity is key, then our story will be community-driven not the individualistic Hollywood story.

“The African story has no major character, it is the issues that become the main character,” states Cindy Magara, Uganda’s first professional filmmaker.

Magara further explains that when the African story becomes character-driven, then “the character becomes symbolic of a certain group or social predicament”.

To her, what really matters in the end is the fact that your story addresses issues that cut across all ethnic backgrounds.

“The filmmaker is a philosopher; he can guide the scientist, the economist or the politician. We have the power to influence,” asserts Magara.

How To Tell The Pan-African Story

Like African Literature, the African film story has its roots in the ancient oral tales.

Telling the African story is quite easy because our oral tale was finely structured.

Make it visual. Show and don’t tell.

Whereas you decorate history and praise the worthy, remember to reflect the realities of the time so as to challenge your audience to critical thinking.

rodgers@chimpreports.com

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