Gary Mugisha might still be pursuing his film studies but his career as a filmmaker is almost certainly assured.
The 26-year-old was on Thursday the star of the moment as his debut film Jinxed premiered to rave reviews at the ongoing Amakula International Film Festival in Kampala.
The 15-minute short was particularly hailed for its high production value, tight scripting and a compelling performance from lead actress Nisha Kalema.
The film, winner of the $5,000 production grant at last year’s Maisha Film Lab, tells the story of a very nightmarish night-out for party girl and lead character Prossy.
What starts out as a normal outing soon spirals into a cascade of scary events as Prossy gets her phone snatched, serves a stint in jail, comes face-to-face with a rapist and eventually ends up in the arms of a serial killer.
Mugisha, who lives in the upscale city suburb of Ntinda, told audiences at Uganda Museum that his film sought to portray the double-life of his neighborhood.
“During day, it’s all calm and peaceful but in the night it turns into something else all together with lots of dubious activities going on,” the IT graduate said of his film’s inspiration.
Mugisha developed the film’s script as a thesis for his Diploma in Film Studies course at the Kampala Film School under the expert guidance of British screenwriter Ian Masters.
The script went on to win the $5,000 grand prize for production at last year’s Maisha Film Lab where Mugisha further horned his writing skills.
Mugisha, who has previously served as editor or production assistant on a few Ugandan projects, says it has so far been a humbling experience showing the film in Kigali at the Mashariki Africa Film Festival.
Kalema on her part said it was a great honour working with the visionary filmmaker.
Jinxed is in competition for the Best East Africa Short Film award at Amakula.
Polly Kamukama, the author, is a journalist