MTN’s Kibanda Xpress welcomed a new blockbuster to its collection last Friday, following the premier of ‘Omuyaga mu bwakabaka’ by Pearlwood, the association of local film producers.
Launched in April, Kibanda Xpress is a Video on Demand channel housed on the YOTv channels app and created in partnership with MTN Uganda with the sole aim of boosting the local film industry.
Speaking at the premier of the movie at National Theater in Kampala, the film producer, Segawa JohnBosco revealed that Omuyaga mu Bwakabaka depicts the theme of love as the movie displays a crown prince’s resolution to marry a simpleton woman in defiance of a cultural betrothal to another.
The movie, he explained seeks to educate the youth about culture whilst also exporting Uganda and her traditions all over the world.
“The movie will educate people across the world about Uganda’s customs as the story is based on the 1st prince in the Buganda culture, (Kiweewa), who according to norms was never raised within the father’s palace. He is faced with a catastrophic return to the kingdom as he rejects the would-be cultural wife after falling in love with his childhood friend. They must defy every custom to survive,” he said.
Discussing the state of Uganda’s local film industry, Segawa highlighted the challenge of marketing and piracy which rids the players of the fruits of their labour and in turn affects further investment into the sector.
“As a film industry, we really struggled because we invested but never earned because of piracy. Selling one Compact disc to a person meant that you sold it to the entire village. But when MTN and YOTv introduced Kibanda Xpress, they came to our rescue because atleast now we earn from the movies aired on the platform,” he said.
Kibanda Xpress allows customers using the Yotv channels application to watch local films at only UGX1,000.
MTN Uganda’s Manager Digital Services, Onyait Odeke said MTN subsidized the service to enable Ugandans to access the films affordably to support the local film industry.
He reassured the film industry of MTN’s commitment to support the arts and local film industry which employs many youth in the country.
“This is a huge milestone because while we were always served with international content,we didn’t have opportunities to showcase our own but now, the world can see what we have to offer as Uganda,” he noted.
Odeke was reiterated by the guest of honor, honorable Harriet Ntabazi, the state minister of trade, industry and cooperatives who lauded MTN for its continuous support of the youth in Uganda especially highlighting the Kibanda Xpress initiative to boost local content.
While congratulating the actors upon accomplishing the movie, the state minister urged the actors to embrace quality production and incorporate locally made costumes in a bid to promote the Ugandan culture and the local film industry.
“I am urging the local film industry to prioritize quality production of the movies in order to have competitive advantage over the regional and international productions,” she said.
Hon Ntabazi said that government is committed to creating 2 million more jobs by 2023 in the film industry which she says currently employs about 50,000 people.
In her conclusion, state minister Ntabazi highlighted the potential of the local film industry saying if well promoted, it can contribute significantly to the country’s coffers.