As violence hangs over the Ugandan capital, Kampala, while the country (with the legacy of Idi Amin’s dictatorship and a civil war that propelled its current president to power in 1986) heads to the polls today to decide whether to re-elect as president a man who has held power for 30 years, who faces a number of challengers…
A side of the country (specifically Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda) that we often don’t get to see here in the USA, and which I hope you will appreciate…
Poetry has become something of a phenomenon in Kampala in recent years, just as much as the political turmoil that tends to dominate headlines both locally, and internationally.
In the below 10-minute short film directed by the Brazilian filmmaker Luciana Farah, titled “Somebody Clap For Me,” learn about this so-called “Poetry Movement.”
This film focuses on characters like Medals, the Born-Again Politician, from whose poem the documentary title is taken, and follows the poets’ daily lives, weekly performances and numerous interactions with live audiences throughout the city.
It was actually made via Mira Nair’s Maisha Labs in Uganda, which I’ve written about on this blog numerous times. In 2004, Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “Salaam Bombay!,” “Mississipi Masala” & others) founded Maisha Film Labs – a Uganda-based film training initiative (not-so unlike the Sundance filmmaker labs, or the IFP’s filmmaker labs). The goal of the Maisha Film Labs is to give aspiring filmmakers in the East African country the tools & knowledge to tell their own stories through film, which would then help foster a self-sustaining film industry in Uganda and vicinity, that will support and represent the interests of local audiences.
I should note that the director of “Somebody Clap for Me” is expanding the short film into a feature, which is currently in post-production, made with support from the Doha Film Institute, and Mira Nair’s Maisha Foundation.
So we’ll be watching for the feature version of the below short in the coming year or two. Learn more about it here: www.somebodyclapfor.me.
In the meantime, here’s the short version: