Actors in Uganda’s film industry under the umbrella body Pearlwood have praised MTN Uganda after it came up with a solution to the industry’s challenge of marketing.
Pearlwood is the umbrella body for a consortium of players in the film industry including video jockeys and film producers, actors and actresses
For some actresses, words could not do justice to the picture of enormous happiness they were feeling.
This was witnessed during the recently concluded launch of Kibanda Xpress, a video streaming channel for local content with the ability to showcase 150 local movies.
Speaking to crowds at the recently concluded launch of Kibanda Xpress, Mzee Bwanika, the spokesperson at Pearl wood, said: “We went to MTN because we wanted a company that really matters, a company that was not going to look at our status quo because we are nothing at the moment. We wanted a company that would look at our big dream, our possibilities,” he explained adding that Pearlwood wishes to make Uganda the African film capital.
Sheebah Eva Mwanganje, a film actress from Fly Films production said she is now empowered to act even more movies as the Kibanda Xpress breeds certainty of movie consumption and demand to the industry.
“It gives us energy that someone out there is watching our content. It also gives us the ability to improve where we have been falling short. People should watch it because it will help both us and the viewers,” she explains.
The impact of the channel spreads to as far as the young and aspiring in film school to whom the introduction of Kibanda Xpress is an even stronger affirmation that they have a bright future after education.
Jovia Nalujja, a third year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Arts in Drama and Film who also part times as an actress in local films predicted that the channel will register tremendous success in the country.
“In school, you are taught how to become film makers, writers and actresses but there is a challenge of distributing our work. With Kibanda Xpress, as students we now have hope that our work will be recognized,” she affirms.
MTN Uganda general manager Somdev Sen says that MTN created Kibanda Xpress with the aim of harnessing the impact and possibility of Uganda’s local content through the movie industry.
“We believe that we need to promote Ugandan content because at the end of the day; why can’t we build Netflix for Uganda, for us, Kibanda Xpress is Netflix for Uganda so be it actresses, viewers or MTN being part of the telecom space, we wanted to do this together,” he said.
The international recognition is partly as a result of promotion and improvement in quality of movies which is in part hinged on initiatives such as the Uganda Film festival spearheaded by sector regulator Uganda Communications Commission in partnership with MTN Uganda.
UCC recently concluded the eighth edition of the Uganda Film festival where multiple Ugandans received recognition for their works across different categories.
Ibrahim Bosa, the spokesperson UCC says the film festival for the last seven years has culminated into a mammoth benefits for the industry.
During the festival, MTN’s chief marketing officer while handing over Shs70m contribution at the awards ceremony reaffirmed MTN’s commitment to promote the local film industry.