In the last seven months, MultiChoice Uganda has made several landmark additions to its content offerings, delivering further on its promise to support Ugandan content by showcasing local films and entertainment.
MultiChoice Uganda on Friday held its annual media showcase under the theme “Celebrating Our Voices, Telling Our Stories.”
The virtual showcase was carried on MultiChoice Uganda’s DStv and GOtv social media platforms showcasing the wide range of entertaining content that the Pay-TV giant has added since September 2020 when the inaugural showcase was held.
For Uganda, the launch of Pearl Magic Prime, the second channel dedicated to Ugandan content, was perhaps the biggest highlight. The channel is now home to riveting drama series Prestige and Sanyu. Both shows were nominated for Best TV Drama in the 2021 Uganda Film Festival Awards and Prestige won the accolade.
The promise to showcase the best of Ugandan storytelling is perfectly captured in this year’s theme which explores telling stories of diversity, local content, culture, innovation and celebration of the life MultiChoice has breathed into these stories, enabling various Ugandan voices be heard across its viewing platforms.
Speaking at the event, Hassan Saleh, the Managing Director, MultiChoice Uganda said; “As we celebrate our brand history, I want to resound MultiChoice’s commitment to investment and strategic partnerships as we strive to deliver outstanding value for our customers. Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory, a CSR initiative intended to train passionate film actors, producers and writers, we have provided immense opportunities and harnessed skills of youth that we believe will play a pivotal role in shaping the film industry in the country.”
Saleh added: “We have also gone ahead to recognize the talents that we have in our country, by offering a platform for content to be showcased. Through strategic partnerships we’ve also been able to award outstanding film creations in Uganda. For instance, with the recently held Uganda Film Festival, MultiChoice Uganda as a platinum sponsor staked millions of cash prizes for best creative films and offered sponsorship for film mentorship programs with M-Net studios for the best performers.”
As a fulfilment of the promise to deliver great entertainment, Saleh disclosed that there will be a new East African channel launching later this year. The channel will showcase premium East African productions from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Colin Asiimwe, the Head of Marketing, MultiChoice Uganda remarked that, “As MultiChoice Uganda, we are mandated to provide our viewers with thought-provoking and entertaining content hence the expansion and addition of several new channels curated to fit our Ugandan cultural nuances. Pearl Magic Prime, a homegrown entertainment channel is set to amplify viewing experiences with world-class content like Sanyu, a telenovela, Prestige, a drama series, Mama and Me, a dramedy, Story Yangeso much more as we look to connect with our audiences.”
“We also recently launched HONEY TV, our first pan African lifestyle channel that offers an exciting blend of African lifestyle content, including bold and unscripted shows by African producers and talented personalities for curious and connected African audiences,” Asiimwe added.
Wild Earth, a real-time wildlife channel that circumnavigates the action in the jungle and offers a thrilling wild life adventure is also a recent addition to MultiChoice’s content offering.
“Premium content and quality viewing is at the heart of MultiChoice Uganda therefore we shall be launching new channels and adding a variety of content specs to keep you locked and entertained 24/7,” Mr. Asiimwe concluded.
Celebrated filmmaker, Matthew Nabwiso, who directed and produced Sanyu, commended MultiChoice Uganda for supporting Ugandan filmmakers by providing the much-needed training, the budget and the platform where Ugandan films can be showcased internationally.
Nabwiso who started his acting career in 2006 in The Hostel series said it wasn’t easy making films back then as there wasn’t much training. He’s a beneficiary of the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Masterclasses which equipped him with skills in sound production, scriptwriting, lighting, set design and video production.
This skillset came in handy during projects like Prickly Roses, Bed of Thorns and Sanyu, which his production house (Nabwiso Films) has made.
On making Sanyu, he said; “MultiChoice had the budget, it was easy to execute it. We produced 100 Episodes for Season One and we’re now shooting Season Two which will have about 200 Episodes. Sanyu has challenged the mentality that corporates don’t watch TV shows and that that’s cool”.
“In the past, TVs had denied us airtime for locally made TV shows saying they wouldn’t get viewership. But MultiChoice has given filmmakers hope. Back then, you would do a project and finish it but you were not sure where to show it. MultiChoice does not only give us a platform, it also pays,” Mr. Nabwiso, the first Ugandan filmmaker to win the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award, said during the Media Showcase.
That notwithstanding, Nabwiso calls for more support especially from government, saying there is need for mindset change in terms of the impact film can make in promoting brand Uganda.
Victoria Nakimbowa Philomena, an alumnus of the MTF academy recounted her experience on the program describing it as an all-round training. She urged aspiring filmmakers to apply for the training underscoring the need to be original.
“Don’t be discouraged. They (MTF) have high standards and you have to bring it. My advice would be, be yourself, don’t try to mirror the West. We have our own story angles and our language is beautiful. Most importantly, get the skills and monetize them,” Ms. Nakimbowa said.
Speaking on behalf of Dorothy Kisaka, the Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Daniel NuweAbine, the Public Relations Officer, KCCA lauded MultiChoice Uganda for the previous partnerships, citing the timely contribution towards the city in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
MultiChoice Uganda donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth Ushs. 281.3 million (US$75,000) intended for people in high-risk areas and those at the frontline in support towards the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is cognizant of the impact MultiChoice Uganda has on the arts and creative industry in Uganda. KCCA has a youth skilling unit that through a partnership with MultiChoice Uganda enable more young people excel in film. KCCA is also very open, to providing spaces around the city to support film producers in their work, as long as permission is sought in time,” Mr. Nuweabine affirmed.
Multichoice has been telling African stories for over 20 years, reaching far and wide across the continent. Its DStv and GOtv platforms have continued to grow over the years, launching numerous local channels with more planned as the group increases its local content investment.