Mark Kaigwa

Mawulire ki Kampala? Here I Come!

In Film, Happenings, Perspective, Real Talk on July 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

It’s been a minute since I hit up the blog, I know…but in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pleasantly distracted by Posterous and Twitter, on which I proclaim you can follow me much closer, and much better. Blog is for big news, like this news. With that, I might as well make it formal: I have good news. I’ve been selected as a finalist in the Annual Maisha Filmmakers Lab Program for 2009.

Maisha lab snippet

The Maisha Film Lab is arguably the best Filmmaking and Technical Lab in the region and it’s main lab is it’s Annual 23 day lab in Kampala, Uganda. This is one of the greatest stepping stones for filmmakers in Eastern Africa with many Maisha Alumni going on to chart out some serious headway in their respective film industries. Besides the Annual 23 Day lab, they also conduct 4 shorter Screenwriting Labs (8-days) at 4 Regional Film Festivals (I was a part of last year’s at the Kenya International Film Fest in Nairobi.) I’d encourage you, if you’d be interested in filmmaking or writing for screen to participate and apply for one of their labs.

So I leave for the beautiful city of Kampala from the 25th of July to August 16th. Hopefully, if I don’t actually direct my film, I’ll assist in directing someone else’s. (fingers crossed) Directing is something I’ve really wanted to get into for the past couple months. I’ve been patiently writing, and though I’m yet to see a film through to production, it seems this might be my chance to do both. A quick recap into how I got into screenwriting.
In December ’07 I attended a Theatre Company Playwriting workshop with Playwright Roberta Levitow. I wasn’t a selected participant, but with some free time on my hands after finishing uni, I was so glad that Keith Pearson and Mumbi Kaigwa let me attend as the Go-pher :). I ended up participating and eventually writing a comedic play on an altercation I had with The Kenya Police regarding a safety-belt in what could (only in Kenya) be referred to as ‘The Crackdown Era’ – Where The Great Matatu Reforms of 2007(R) occured. The skills I learnt there were (and continue to be) invaluable to me. They were the best foundation and exposure anyone could ask for. I served some great tea as well, by the way 🙂
From then on, I went on to co-write the Warner Bros. Interactive  Project ‘Pamoja Mtaani‘ (Part of the HIV Free Generation Project) and work on 5 Animated Short Films. Cajetan Boy worked with me on Pamoja Mtaani, and he introduced me to Maisha. I sent in an application to the first Maisha Screenwriting Lab at KIFF (Kenya International Film Festival) and was accepted into the week-long screenwriters lab. I kept excellent notes and learnt plenty. I also developed a couple better screenplays, not to mention Radio and TV Scripts for Advertising (The industry, I’m slowly beginning to call House – not Home i.e. you can move house, you can’t move home… But no lie, it’s growing on me. 🙂
Of that lab, came out Writer/Director Paul Ekuru’s The Dance for Wives (Which premiered in Kenya at Alliance Francaise on Monday 6th July after screening at the Zanzibar International Film Fest and The Rwanda International Film Fest…I was at the premiere and uploaded pics to my Posterous. View them here) I’m so glad to see Paul’s film get the attention it has had. It was nominated for two Kalasha Awards recently, Best Short Film and Best Leading Actress (Karen Lucas aka Kaz)
So, long story short, applied as soon as I found out about this years lab, back in May and I got the call on the 2nd of July. Can’t wait to see what will come out of this Lab. I don’t know all of the other finalists personally, but I know that my friend Bernadette, also at last years Maisha Lab @ KIFF and Richard from Big Brother Africa 2 were selected.
Can’t wait to meet, study, re-write, re-write, re-write and make movies! Wish me luck!

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  1. Congratulations for making it as a finalist… that’s a mean feat!

    • Thanks. To be honest, I thought my script was pretty crazy as in mentally, but it seems to have caught their attention. Happy about it!

  2. Well done brother I personally also have a bias for film making guess I just lack the extra push to do it. Kudos keep it up we will def be looking out for you in kampala

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