It is 2pm on a hot Thursday afternoon and inside a gated, eight bedroomed bungalow in a flashy Kampala suburb of Mutungo hill is a multitude of activities as several people are seen pacing up and down.
These are part of a full-fledged crew visibly busy in a set-up , only similar to those seen in the behind the scenes clips to detail the making of blockbuster Hollywood movies.
At the scene is a gentleman clad in black suit and his face as seen from afar seems familiar, having featured in international movies like Sometimes in April, Last King of Scotland and Silent Army- this is Abby Mukiibi.
Eleanor Nabwiso and MushemaHousen are two other faces familiar at the scene.
Meanwhile, the most common face at the scene is Uganda’s lone winner of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA), Mathew Nabwiso who can clearly be seen pacing up and down and also asking the cast to repeat some of the scenes in a bid to perfect whatever they are doing.
This is the situation at the shooting of the second season of Sanyu series, a riveting telenovela produced by Nabwiso films and commissioned by MultiChoice Uganda during a guided media location tour at the facility.
“It has been challenging but exciting journey. I must say the lockdown was a blessing in disguise because we used it to do something out of our creativity,”Nabwiso tells journalists.
He explains that they started shooting the TV show at the onset of the lockdown , adding that on many occasions, the crew would sleep at the location .
“Curfew then was at 7pm and on many days we stopped filming past midnight. We had to bring matresses where we would sleep. We would shoot and later sleep at this facility.”
Nabwiso, who is the TV show director says they were at one time arrested for violating the lockdown measures put in place by government to control the spread of the deadly virus.
“We were filming a scene about a bar in a village setup and police arrived. To them(police) someone had seen people in a bar drinking alcohol. Despite having a letter from the Inspector General of Police, we were briefly detained before being released.”
He adds, “We moved all through mansions in Kampala and it was almost impossible to get a location to shoot the movie. It took us time to get this place.”
Uganda’s lone winner of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards is however quick to say he is happy that the lockdown set in, for it has helped him and colleagues work on one of the biggest movie in the country.
“This has been great blessing in disguise. This is the first time somebody says they are acting for a living. With projects like Sanyu you know you are to do project for period of more than a year. I can say i have a job for the next five years and feels like security to us,” he said, adding that they employ over 60 crew members.
According to Joan Ssemanda, the Public and Communications Manager of Multichoice Uganda, when the lockdown set in, they saw an opportunity to continue entertaining the public.
“We saw an opportunity when Covid hit. People were at home and needed content to watch something different on their TV. We needed to continue on our approach of availing space to tell the local story. That is how Sanyu came on board,”Ssemanda says.
She says they will continue supporting the local film industry as part of their efforts to ensure both the industry and talent grow.