Organized by European countries under the flagship of the European Union, stake holders kicked off with a promise of strengthening culture between Uganda and the EU states.
By 5pm, different film lovers had already thronged the theatre to kick off the festivities – talk about Ugandans and new things.
The organisers hosted their guests to a lavish celebration and dining that included lots of free drinks. Another cock tail of the type was organized by British Council the following day in celebration of the screening of the first United Kingdom film, Searching for Sugar man.
However, before the festival opened, there was a brief press conference in which over 12 ambassadors discussed their respective country’s plan for Ugandan cinema.
“We (EU) hope to use this platform to facilitate intercultural exchanges between Africa and Europe by screening the best films from either continent. We are particularly looking at future collaborations between Ugandan and European artistes,” the EU ambassador to Kampala, Kristian Schmidt, told journalists.
Schmidt explained that there is an urgent need to tap into European filmmakers’ growing interest in African stories and generally African cinema. If well harnessed, he said, it could lead to the two continents emerging as the new frontier in word cinema.
The festival comes at a time when local cinema is taking major strides to keep up with the big boys of African Cinema like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. One of the local movies screened, The Ugandan was voted as one of the top ten African films of 2013 by Entertainment.howizit.msn.com plus Sharpe Ssewali’s short film Is this love?, that has won him critical acclaim across the continent.
“This festival is a starting point to a long partnership that will involve exchange of knowledge, capacity building and increased funding for Ugandan filmmakers,” said Maisha’s programmes director, Fibby Kioria.
EU will this year fund Maisha’s four screen writing labs and hopes to continue working with other local cultural institutions and film authorities to boost the emerging industry.
Screening kicked off with thirteen minute collaboration between Ugandans and the Danish, Walk with me. A movie about 5 year old Melanie, who’s forced out of day dreaming and discovers death.
Then it was time for the 2010 Academy award winning Danish hit, In a Better World. The film is about Anton a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark, and his work at an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness.
Every day, more than six movies are showing and these include at least three short films locally produced by the Maisha initiative.
A total of 45 outstanding movies from Europe and Africa are lined up to screen during the seven-day course.
The Euro-Africa Film festival is collaboration between the European Union to Uganda, the Embassies and the Cultural Institutes of the European Union Member States, Maisha Films, Garage Films and the Embassy of Norway.