UNESCO Report Offers Solutions To Boost Income For Ugandan Film Makers

Minister Peace Mutuzo alongside a UNESCO official, unveiling the 5-year strategic film plan

By Our Reporter

After several years of struggling, the Cultural and Creative Industries in Uganda, especially the Film industry, have finally got a bailout from government, which is set to invest close to Shs3Bn in a bid to boost the lucrative industry.
The move was announced last week by the Minister of State for Gender and Culture honourable Peace Mutuzo, who was unveiling the 5-year strategic Film Plan during the launch of the UNESCO Film project report at Imperial Royale Hotel.

For close to two years UNESCO has been conducting consultations in film regulation with policymakers and industry practitioners in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.
Mutuzo revealed that this was done through the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility Project on the Governance of Culture in Developing Countries, which seeks to support the strengthening of policy and regulatory frameworks for Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs).

According to the report, the four-year project, which is funded by the European Union and managed by UNESCO in partnership with local implementing partners in the respective countries, is based upon the goals and principles of a series of international conventions and statutes, notably the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, which recognizes the obligation of governments to establish a conducive regulatory environment to facilitate the development of strong and dynamic CCIs.

Each of the 12 beneficiary countries has implemented an individual project that is specific to the core needs of its cultural industry within the context of the broader EU/UNESCO project, with country projects ranging from development of copyright law to transversal interventions aimed at supporting the CCIs as a whole.

The project results are contributing to the 2030 Agenda, of a renewed vision of cultural policies in Uganda based on a better understanding of what impacts the diversity of cultural expressions in the broader public policy spectrum.

Some of the local film directors posing for a photo

It was revealed that the Culture and Creative Industries generate revenue of about Shs220Bn of the GDP.
The outcomes of the project therefore are in line with the government’s core values of ending poverty, through building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. The project aims at increasing and sustaining employment opportunities among young people, ensuring inclusive economic growth and reducing inequalities as well as contributing to the goals set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Experts revealed that Uganda’s film market is estimated to employ over 500,000 people most of who are young people, and targets to employ up to 2 million Ugandans in the next 5 years, thus driving economic growth of Ugandan cinema.
The minister unveiled the 5-year strategic plan where the government, through ministry Gender, Labour, and Social Development, will inject Shs3Bn in the industry and also establish a Film Fund, Production Hub and the Pearlwood Head Offices.

Estimated at a cost of Shs251,984,200 (USD 66,000), the hub shall enable the sustainable production of at least 9 quality films per month, plus directly employing and skilling of approximately 2,400 stakeholders across the year.
The arrangements are to be effected in a bid to support Local Content Development whereby the report suggests that government should regulate the DVD, TV and VOD platforms in order to enhance the market for Ugandan films.
It further reveals that there is need for stronger implementation of copyright laws and regulation of film importation through imposition of strict import quotas and strengthening film classification.
The report suggests that a Private Copying Levy should be introduced to cushion film makers against losses accrued from rampant piracy.

Among other implementations that were cited in the report is the Registration and licensing of Ugandan film distributors and cinemas.
On the other hand, the report also recommends a stronger enforcement of the 70% local content quota to compel local TVs to adhere to the directive, among other solutions.

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