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Introducing Uganda’s Maisha Film Labs…

In 2004, filmmaker Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Salaam Bombay!, Mississipi Masala & others) founded Maisha Film Labs - a Uganda-based film training initiative (not-so unlike the Sundance Film Festival’s 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 they currently lack, 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.

So, why Uganda? Well… Mira Nair’s award-winning 1991 film, Mississipi Masala (which starred Denzel Washington, by the way, and probably my favorite of all her films), was shot, on location, in Kampala, Uganda! AND, it’s also in Uganda, in 1988, where she met her husband, scholar, Mahmood Mamdani, while she was doing research for the film.

The first Maisha workshop took place in Kampala in 2005. Since then, 300 participants have attended Maisha labs on full scholarships, producing 29 short films that have screened in multiple international film festivals.

Past mentors and advisers include Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck (Lumumba, Moloch Tropical), Chadian filmmaker Mahamat Saleh-Haroun, (A Screaming Man, Daratt), British/Nigeria writer Biyi Bandele (Fela), Mira Nair herself, and several others.

To learn more about the program, like how to apply to the program, contribute, sponsor, and watch some of the films that came out of the program, CLICK HERE to visit the Maisha Film Labs website. I’ll be checking out all the short films myself, and sharing a few on this blog.

In the meantime, watch the short video intro to the program below:

2 comments to Introducing Uganda’s Maisha Film Labs…

  • NothingButAMan

    Nair is one of my fav’s. Everything about the way she has approached her career I would love to emulate. Quality, not quantity folks…

  • Paresh.M.Patel.

    I have registered with Maisha that I will recieve mails about the conferences but so far I have not even recieved a single mail. I had even tried to contact Maisha when it was based in National Theatre but I did not get satisfied inspite of Maisha being connected to Hollywood & Bollywood. I want to produce a film in Uganda. What are prospects & potential of films in Uganda.