By Florence Kyohangirwe (Kakatshozi)
“Film is arguably the most powerful and global artform today. Art not only creates but influences how we see each other. The power of film is in who is seeing. Who is behind our lenses? The short answer is not enough women,” says Kemiyondo Coutinho , a Ugandan filmmaker and Forbes Africa 30 under 30 recipient. Kemiyondo is not new to the film or arts scene. In fact, she has been writing and acting since age 17 and started a production company, Kemistry Klass, to disrupt the harmful narratives targeting African women. She is also the mind behind A ka Dope Fusion, a monthly music extravaganza promoting young artists in Uganda and her phenomenal work has earned her some awards. She is the inaugural recipient of Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud filmmaking fellowship, Shadow & Act Rising Star Award & OKAYAfrica100 Women of Africa to watch. The frustration of seeing women filmmakers in Uganda struggle with low or no budget for their films has pushed Kemiyondo to do something about it, create the #Fivefor5 Film Fund. The initiative aims to bring five female filmmakers from Uganda behind the lens so that they can truly just do what they love, which is to tell stories and share their art with the world!
“Often, as female filmmakers, we get told to “just do it!” Whilst that tenacious mindset is valuable, it fails to recognize the very real costs surrounding filmmaking. There is not enough “just do it” to pay for a DP, lighting, sound etc.” Kemiyondo says.
The Film Fund’s goal is to raise $25,000 to give five filmmakers the chance to make a five minute short film in partnership with Media256, who are giving a heavily discounted production rate. Kemiyondo says that Media256 will produce the full short film for $4500 and the remaining $500 will go towards festival fees so that the films get the platforms, get seen by as many people possible, and open doors for the filmmakers.
Kemiyondo is no stranger to the tough circumstances surrounding making a film either. In 2018, she wrote, directed and produced KYENVU, a short film that won the Pan African Film Festival’s Best Narrative Short Film award and was the first Ugandan film to ever qualify for an Oscar. Kyenvu made a loud directorial debut with its 100% Ugandan Cast & Crew including winning the coveted NBC’s Social Harness Award. Kyenvu was also the first Ugandan film to premiere on streaming platform, Hulu. With the success of Kyenvu, Kemiyondo now works as a TV & Film writer/director in Los Angeles. Without the financial support she got to make Kyenvu, none of these doors would have opened. With Fivefor5 Film fund, the filmmaker hopes more doors will open for more female Ugandans telling stories through film.
Ugandan female filmmakers will be able to submit their short film ideas for consideration from January 1st till January 31st 2020 after which a jury will shortlist possible beneficiaries, then there will be in-person interviews and a final selection in March. Production will kick off in April.
We join the cause by calling upon East Africa, Africa and the world to support the #Fivefor5 Film Fund by spreading the word or donating Here