Drive-in cinema excites guests at Amakula


It used to be a popular fad for moviegoers back in the 70s and 80s.

And yesterday, the drive-in cinema experience was brought back to life at Amakula Film Festival as the annual cinema showcase bounced back from a three-year hiatus to put on an impressive opening for their tenth edition.

Audiences who flocked the Uganda Museum for the unveiling were treated to the fancy viewing experience by watching the opening film through their car windshields.

A giant screen elected in the museum gardens beamed the video of Ugandan filmmaker Bashir Lukyamuzi’s directorial debut, Bala Bala Sese, allowing viewers to pick the audio through wireless headphones from within the comfort of their vehicles.

In an earlier press briefing, the festival’s new director, Faisal Kiwewa, told journalists that his team was looking to spice up things with the drive-in experience.

“It offers a whole new exciting viewing experience for the audience. This is one of the many exciting changes that will be associated with the new Amakula,” Kiwewa said.


Kiwewa, under his Bayimba Cultural Foundation, this year partnered with a number of locally-based cultural institutions to revive Amakula after the premium festival took an abrupt break following its ninth consecutive annual edition in 2012.Some of the new partners include among others, Kampala Film School, Goethe Zentrum, Alliance Française, French Embassy and Institut Francais.


The independent festival, Uganda’s oldest and one of the most revered across East African, was founded in 2004 by a Dutch-American couple, and has since been credited for laying the foundation for modern cinema practice in Uganda.

Alice Smits, one half of the original founders, yesterday told guests that it had always been their development plan to hand over the festival to local management.

Smits endorsed Kiwewa as the right person to lead Amakula on its new journey, citing the arts manager’s vast experience in organizing big arts festivals as a key factor.

She dedicated this year’s edition to two of Africa’s cinema legends, Moustapha Alassane and Gadalla Gubara, whom she said she had the pleasure to work with in the earlier editions of the festival.

This year’s edition boasts an eclectic programming comprising of screenings, workshops, master classes and a video installation.

A total of 25 films – including features, shorts, documentaries and animations – have been selected from across the globe to participate at this year’s Amakula. Uganda is represented by eight films.

Lukyamuzi, who later today flies out to Luxor Film Festival in Egypt where Bala Bala Sese is selected to participate, said he felt honored for his first film to be selected as the opener.

Timbuktu, the highly-acclaimed French-Mauritanian film about Jihadi activities in Mali, is tipped to be today’s highlight when it screens at 8pm. Other films including Hope (Cameroon), B’ella (Malawi) and Jinxed (Uganda) are also lined up to play in the earlier hours of the day.

Hollywood-based Ugandan-Indian filmmaker, Mira Nair of the Mississippi Masala fame is scheduled to host a master class at the Museum main hall tomorrow at 2pm.

Tickets to the festival are still selling at the Uganda Museum, Bayimba offices, National Theatre, Goethe Zentrum and Kampala Film School at Shs20,000 and Shs50,000 for single-day and full-pack tickets, respectively. Students are only paying Shs30,000 for a full-pack ticket.


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