Jazz appreciation in Uganda straddles two audience divides; the purists and pretenders. The former are the kind that can tell Miles Davis from Earl Klugh while the latter are the kind that will tag along to a jazz event for the snob value that brings. The purists are most likely the lot that grew up with playing LPs as a family ritual complete with removing a giant black disc from its sleeve, delicately placing it on a circular revolving platform and placing a needle onto it to elicit the crackle of Davis’ trumpet. The pretenders are mostly the come-latelys for whom any saxophonist is by default a jazz artiste even when that musician is simply a fine instrumentalist. Their regular jazz fix is the measly hour-long weekly radio show installment where the purist would binge on at least a jazz CD a day.
Screenwriters are more often than not the underappreciated lot of the film industry, what with the biggest attention being paid to actors/ actresses and directors. But it is they that craft the stories that directors bring to life cinematically. Anyone whose cinematic story has been mostly stuck in their head can now take advantage of the return of the Maisha Screenwriting Labs. Maisha Film Lab will this year hold four programmes each lasting eight days in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Prospective screenwriters will be selected from a pool of applicants based on their outstanding short screenplay ideas. There are 60 scholarships up for grabs; 15 for each of the participating countries. Each of the selected participants will work with internationally renowned mentors to refine their work and broaden their horizons on the film business and the art of filmmaking. At the end of the intensive creative process, each of the 60 total participants attending the screenwriting workshops will have a vetted and refined short screenplay. One screenplay will be selected at each lab to receive a grant of $2000 (about UGX5m) to produce their films.