Hollywood-based Ugandan star Ntare Mwine graces Amakula festival


He lost his dad only a couple of weeks ago.

And it appears American-based Ugandan actor, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, got the right kind of distraction at the ongoing Amakula International Film Festival in Kampala.

The Blood Diamond actor was among a slew of guests that graced the festival’s opening night at the Uganda Museum yesterday, and was seen happily posing for pictures with fans.

Mwine looked every bit the Hollywood star he is in an all-black fitting ensemble while sporting his signature shaven head and a round greying goatee.

“I was looking for something to cheer me up after losing my dad, and I thought coming here to support my friend Faisal Kiwewa (the festival’s new director) would be a great thing,” the 49-year-old New York University-educated multi-artist told guests at the event.

He said he was impressed with the steady progress of Uganda’s film industry, and went on to name-drop a few local stars that have done the country proud on international platforms.

Mwine credited veteran Ugandan actor Michael Wawuyo as an inspiration, and heaped praise on debutant filmmaker Bashir Lukyamuzi whose love story, Bala Bala Sese, opened the tenth edition of the popular annual cinema showcase.

The festival is returning after a three-year hiatus in which its Dutch-American founders passed the baton over to Kiwewa.

Under his Bayimba Cultural Foundation, Kiwewa has partnered with a number of locally-based arts institutions to guide Amakula’s new chapter. Some of the new partners include among others, Kampala Film School, Goethe Zentrum, Alliance Française, French Embassy and Institut Francais.

The March 16-20 cinema showcase boasts solid programming comprising of over film screenings, workshops and master classes. A total of 25 independent films from across the world have been selected to participate.

Kiwewa told journalists in an earlier press briefing that this year’s edition will mainly focus on distribution and building a young audience. A drive-in cinema will be held every day of the festival to give audiences a unique viewing experience.

As part of the festival’s programming, a team of international film distributors has been invited to interact with local filmmakers at a special cocktail on Friday.

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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