UGANDA’S GIANT STRIDES AS AN INTERNATIONAL FILM DESTINATION HUB
UGANDA’S GIANT STRIDES AS AN INTERNATIONAL FILM DESTINATION HUB: FAST TRACKING COMPETITIVE FILM POLICY, A FILM SLATE, STATE OF ART STUDIO, AND PRO ACTIVE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT LED BY THE PRESIDENT
Washington, D.C. 12/22/22
Last week, on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leader’s summit in Washington DC, H.E. President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni held a meeting with top government officials and film industry practicioners in the United States right before his keynote speech at the summit a bold statement of his faith and commitment to film as a social economic essential on his development agenda.
With President Yoweri Museveni and daughter Natasha Karugire in center
The meeting was attended by Uganda’s Honorary Consul in Florida Mr. Pete Nielsen, who is producing a bible epic story “Betrayal’’, that would be produced in Uganda with a budget of $32m, Mr. Joshua Sentongo who is co-producing a slate of five globally resonant Ugandan tourism and cultural themed film projects to be unveiled early 2023 through a notable international studio, while Mr. Brian Kayongo is a real estate developer that is part of conglomerate setting up a state-of-the-art studio to drive international film production to Uganda working with David Godfrey the industry “go to guy’’ of studio management and build. The First Daughter Natasha M Karugire a film producer and founder Isaiah 60 productions was also in attendance.
President Museveni was informed that the economic synergies created by the slate can inject $150m in wages and service provision and a joint foreign investment effect of $1bn in 3 years with ancillary benefits like capacity building for the film industry and destination marketing of tourism sites.
Mr. Nielsen who set up Uganda’s first internet service provider Starcom, in 1995, informed the President of his full support to see Uganda attract international productions beyond Uganda stories and that his film “Betrayal” would serve as an example given the right incentive support.
Describing the projects as the “dot.com economy”, H.E. the President expressed his unequivocal support, stating that innovative ideas that lead to diversification of the economy and the widening of the tax base were his priorities. He instructed that a “Film Office” be created at global industry standard of a one stop center under the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development to oversee the requirements to develop the industry and a committee to facilitate the transition by ensuring a swift film policy enactment.
With Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Jeje Odongo and Minister of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaijja
Mr. Sentongo emphasized Uganda as “uniquely advantaged”, with globally resonant high interest stories, thriving diaspora human resource pool, scenic landscape, and diverse climate, the fledgling industry had potential that could be realized by increased proactive government intervention and that this would boost industries like tourism, construction, cosmetics, textile, telecom, catering, and hospitality, as well as legal and accounting service sectors.
Highlighting the importance of proactive Government support, President Museveni also directed the Minister of Finance to fast-track packages of non-cash incentives to strengthen Uganda’s negotiating power and give a competitive edge when pitching for film projects or their financing.
From the government, in attendance, at the meeting, were Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Odongo Jeje, Minister of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaija, Principle Private Secretary to the President, Dr. Kenneth Omona and newly appointed Ambassador of Uganda to the United States, Robie Kakonge.