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Interview With Ugandan Filmmaker Patrick Sekyaya



Patrick Sekyaya is a Ugandan film director who is passionately driven with the main goal being success. His expressions and how he responds to questions  about film making are evident about his love for the work that he does.



Here's how it all went down:

Who is Patrick.....

Patrick is an African film director born and raised in Uganda.

Where does the passion for film making originate from........

Has made a name for himself as an actor, writer and director in Uganda and Africa. In 2010, he became best director out of 8 other directors at the film Africa mini film school in Nairobi Kenya under the mentorship of “The International” acclaimed German filmmaker Tom Tykwer. (Clive Owen & Naomi Watts). Patrick has also attended Durban talent campus in 2010 and Berlinale talent campus in 2011.

 You are the founder of Afri Plus Films, how did this come about and what was the inspiration behind it....

 Well, doing film has always been a passion since I was a kid I was always blown away by the ‘magic’ that I saw in movies – so I always imagined my self as a hero in a movie one day. After maisha film lab in 2007 as an editor having worked on a documentary that happened to screen at CHOGM (common wealth heads of government meeting ) in Kampala I became more inspired to do film than every before and having watched so many of spike lee films – I started believing in my self that one day I could be like spike lee. I was always drawn to spike lee since he had managed to make films despite all that was said behind him he still kept his focus and that’s what I also needed someone to inspire me to that grid. So spike lee was there all I had to do next was to keep my focus and to do that I decided to form Afri-Plus films which could start out as a company doing Ugandan films and later head for co-productions beyond Uganda and also beyond Africa. Today Afri-plus films is a house hold name in the Ugandan film industry and a respected film company.



For how long have you been in the film industry.....


Basically I got the passion and belief that I could actually do film in 2007 after I attended a training workshop with maisha. Since Uganda didn't have any film schools. And put my first feature film out in 2009 – so I would say 5 years in the industry.


Given how long you've been in the industry, what's your take on the Ugandan film industry and Africa at large....
I would say, the Ugandan film industry has really kept its pace every year it keeps on increasing with aspiring film directors improving on the production values on their works. I remember in 2009 I read a report that was comparing nollywood to Ugadan film industry that had stated that nollywood produced 70 movies a week compared to Uganda by then producing 30 movies a year. But today I can say Uganda produces quite more films and the recent years. Though we ought not to forget that the Ugandan film industry is driven with a force of about 80% youth. – which I believe is a interesting thing because the youth are always young and energetic and are always yearning to learn more and trying out different styles. All in all I can say that the Ugandan industry is moving steadily with improved quality in picture, sound and better stories.
And looking at Africa at large I still give credit to nollywood which produces more movies than any other African country on the continent. I think nollywood has also managed to make it with its unique style not really a copy of Hollywood / bollywood and I think that identity is quite I deal in the film industry. Another thing is that on the African continent we have filmmakers that are quite making headlines like the south African film industry that has even had nominations into the Oscars and also our neighbours – the Kenyans that have gotten a nomination recently in the Oscars with their new movie “Nairobi half life”.

What is  your typical day like as a film director.....

Well, being a film director it basically like any other person nothing really special I guess the only difference is the way I perceive things and happenings say if on my way to office I bump into a scuffle say a brawl I look at it in depth say looking at the facial detail the body movement and how the public watches from a distance. –(since I always want to learn more about how different people handle different situations.)
But other than that I wake up by 5am – between 5:30 to 7am I do fitness exercises. After that I take a shower, have breakfast and by 9 I head to the office, about 12:00pm lunch then 5pm out of office between 6 to 7pm – fitness exercise again 8 dinner and after 8 depends on how my day will be like the next day so I plan for it from 8.

 What are the ups and downs of this industry......

Financial problems definitely as a director you would love to work with a comfortable budget for the movies. But I guess so far on my projects somewhere somehow the budget doesn't add up but of course that doesn't stop me from completing the project I am very ambitious and I love what I do so I play around with the budget to have the project done.

 Another problem would be locations esp. in central Uganda. The public usually crowd at every shooting which is fine but again it time wastes time as you have to explain to them they have to watch from a far and as you have a take 2 another passerby walks into shot and on and on it goes.

Mayne the only good thing is that once people notice you are doing a film. They are very willing to be coopertaive say with small props . gathering extras so some times it could be a lucky day and they provide you with all the extras you need actually some people in Kampala after a shoot they feel like providing lunch to the actors and also applaud them for their performance but like its has always been said every film has its own trail one day it’s the other way round with people pushing you around even when they see police on ya set they think it’s a political cause.




What do you enjoy most about your job...


I definitely enjoy results. Is I go through the dairy of a day’s shoot and they are all fine I feel like a winner already even before  post post production.
I also enjoy being a director coz you get to meet as many people.


 Do you have a favourite movie and why...


Do the right thing. By spike lee. – well I guess it’s the reason I am a filmmaker today. It inspired me and I guess I have 3 copies of it at home.


 Which African county would you like to shoot in besides Uganda.....

Very funny but I always feel I wanna shoot in Somalia I know people have always wondered why I would love to shoot in Somalia but the truth is I see something in Somali the infrastructure the empty lands the landscape is just it. Anything can work there from an adventure, a science fiction a horror I think its just a blessed area apart from the war. I could call it our ‘wood'.


What is your advise for aspiring African film makers....

Keep your hope high and avoid negative minds as much as you can and always ask better filmmakers that you for help. And remember that film is a universal language so it shouldn't be limited i.e for only your own people.



 How would you like to be remembered.......

I want to be remembered as the greatest African filmmaker who through film brought positive change to the continent.

What can we expect from Afri Plus Films? Any future plans.....

We are looking forward to a major co-production with Ghana and also a TV series.

 How can people get hold of you? Website, twitter or facebook......


Website: www.afriplusfilms.com

 Twitter:@psekyaya

Facebook: psekyaya
Thank you very much for sharing this piece of information. Wishing you all the best!


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Stella is the founder of WaAfrikaOnline.  A Pan-African at heart, passionate about Africa, human rights, women empowerment and girl child education. She's also into broadcasting. 
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