MIFT Mbale Edition

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On Friday 7th June 2024, we set off for Mbale district in Eastern Uganda for the Moving Identities Fim Tour via Gayaza onto Jinja-Iganga highway to avoid the morning traffic. Soon the flat landscape that is a staple to the Eastern region greeted us as we drew closer to our accommodation.

We checked in and settled for a quick lunch while the rain washed away the fatigue, heat, and dust we had arrived with from Kampala.

As a custom from the Mbarara trip, we shuttled to the film screening venue, Mbale Crickets Ground under the direction of our MIFT project manager, Ntale Bahana. It was an open field as our desire was for the venue to be accessible to all people. A few discussions on setup ensued with the team agreeing on screen and chair placement. We then proceeded to Mbale Sports Club, the workshop venue, five minutes away. The essence of the site visits before the big day is to familiarize ourselves with the spaces and curb any issues but also have the workshop mentors situate themselves.

After catching up over a meal, we each retired to our rooms at the hotel with plans for the next day.

The day broke with a breakfast buffet and the team set off for The Sports Club where the participants streamed in from 10:00 am and the session kicked off. The participants, most of whom were aged between 18 to 35 years old, were keen to learn about filmmaking from the well-equipped mentors.

The day kicked off with a session on visual storytelling with a focus on camera angles, lighting, and basic camera operations led by Mbale based cinematographer, Brian Massa. His session set the pace for the day as he broke the ice and drew the participants in with his knowledge of camera angles and their importance to storytelling. He adequately answered the participants’ questions

We transitioned into a session on sound as a creative storytelling tool by Rebecca Amulen, a sound production recordist. She emphasized to the participants the vitality of sound to film. It can make or break a film. She also showed participants how to practically master the settings of a recorder, how to use different equipment, boom operating, mic-ing for film, branding self, and communication.

The participants were excited to come in touch with sound equipment from the Zoom F8 recorder, lapels, and boom set. Rebecca guided them on how to use them, as they familiarized themselves with the equipment, their faces changed and took on a permanent smile that communicated, ‘I can’t believe this is happening. It feels like I’m on a film set.’

The last session of the day was led by award-winning filmmaker Angie Emurwon, who brought her gentle spirit and calm demeanour to the session on improv writing and scene work.

We broke off for lunch break with participants and in the afternoon session, the participants were tasked by Angie with creating stories/skits and presenting them using static images (“photographs”), moving images, and scenes with dialogue. The story prompts required an iconic Mbale location, an interesting theme, and a well-known object that signifies the communities in Mbale.

The participants broke out into groups and off they went to shoot their scenes while putting into practice everything they had been taught throughout the day. Upon submission of the scenes to be viewed by all on a project, their writing and acting skills mesmerized the workshop mentors. The skill was undeniable.

As per custom, the Mbale residents were treated to a film screening of five short films at Mbale Cricket Grounds. These included Ttula by Benjamin Mwesigwa, Keycard by Angela Emurwon, A Void Life by Ian Nnyanzi, Facing North by Tukei Peter Muhumuza, and Mawe! by That Malcolm Guy.