It was August 28 and courtesy of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), I was at the Hub in Oasis mall for the Uganda Film Festival.
The film I was about to watch, State Research Bureau, reminded me of an experience I had a few weeks back. I was sitting in a restaurant in Centenary Park when a strange man came and sat opposite me.
After ascertaining that there were other available seats, I asked him to leave. The man was not amused and began to educate me about 'his rights' to sit in a place of his choosing. I educated him about my right to not having strange men sit opposite me.
The situation escalated to the point where a bouncer had to intervene. The stranger flashed an ID and the bouncer whispered to me that the man was 'Security'.
Mr 'Security' then told me: "I can teach you a lesson and I can teach you a lesson tonight."
So, how did State Research Bureau remind me of this? The film, shot in Jinja and featuring Cleopatra Koheirwe and Roger Mugisha among others, basically showed what happens when individuals without discipline and maturity are given power.
Giving us a look into what really went down in governments before 1986, it follows the exploits of one Captain Yusuf, who calls his unit the State Research Bureau. Yusuf uses his power to arrest and kill innocent civilians, rape women and demand exorbitant bribes.
While the movie, directed by Matt Bish, disappointed me with the accents not sounding Ugandan, or Koheirwe's character constantly looking like she had just climbed out of the shower, or even the male prisoners whose hair was well combed and skin glowed with Vaseline, once you got into the film, the educational aspects of it rendered these little flaws minor.
Although it was released two years ago, I had never watched it. I was happy to be there, and happy to learn that this is the first film festival to be chiefly organized by the government. To see the government facilitating an environment conducive for the arts is a good sign in building our creative industry.
The festival shall be an annual event that will support and promote all genres and components of film.
Visit www.ugandafilmfestival.ug for details about the next festival or how to submit works.