I am George Stanley Nsamba a filmmaker from Uganda and the Executive Director of The Ghetto Film Project, a non-governmental organization that uses film to mentor, inspire and tell stories from the slums in Kampala.
I was born 14th October 1989 to a middle class family. Six years into my childhood my parents divorced and I ended up in the hands of my mother who brought me up. After the divorce, my mother moved us to a huge slum called Naguru and that’s where my life story begins. Two years into our new life, my mum was diagnosed with HIV two years later and admitted in Nsambya hospital for 6 months. We later lost our last sibling due to lack of money for upkeep food and basic essentials. After spending many days hungry, I resorted to eating left over mainly found in garbage sites. With no roof over my head I ended up being a homeless street kid begging on the streets of Kampala where I first got exposed to drugs.
My film journey dates back to 1998 when I sat with my siblings under the moon and told them stories that never existed. In my high school years I tried to fight my addiction and I was convinced I wouldn’t live to see my 20’s so I wrote a lot about how envisioned life, what it meant being me and that’s when I wrote the short film DRUG DRAG which was selected for the M-net shorts in 2012. In that period I came up with multiple films centered around drugs, loneliness, self hate, suicide, dreams and ambitions among others.
In 2012 while in my second year at Makerere University pursuing a Bachelors degree in Industrial and Fine Arts, I quit mid semester to focus on my research in cinematography and I set off to be a documentary filmmaker to test my skills for 2 years.
In 2013 I started up my organization to equip youths and kids with various skills in film because I realized there was that void in the Ugandan film industry. This year in January we produced one of the 6 short films we are doing this year called CRAFTS: The Value Of Life which was followed by Silent Depression.
Joseph Wairimu nicknamed ‘Babu’ is an award winning Actor, Acting coach and a teacher. He has received international recognition through his work like Best Actor, Durban International Film Festival 2012, Best Actor, Kenya Film Festival, Kalasha Awards 2012, Best Actor, Nashville International Film Festival 2013, Best Promising Actor Africa, Movie Academy Awards 2013 and Best Actor, Color of the Nile International Film Festival 2014 and Nominated Best African Actor, Africa Film Development Awards 2013.In his quest to better himself and his craft he attended Acting studios in Durban Talent Campus (Durban Talents)and Berlinale Talents in Durban, South Africa and Berlin ,Germany in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Wairimu has love for arts, he uses arts to address for change where he teaches drama, puppetry and art in Kenyan slums with Annos Africa and One Fine Day. He was also part of the Jury for Slum Film Festival and will be part of SFF 2015 Mentors.
The workshop that was held between 11th and 19th August focussed mainly on script writing and sought to engage the participants through the journey of making a short film right from conception to completion.
The training started off with the basics of storytelling which went on for two days. This was followed by screenwriting and screenwriting techniques. At the start of the master class about 5 members admitted to never hoping to come up with a script due to the complex nature of storytelling yet in the end, 2 of the top 3 scripts considered for production were by the students who at the beginning thought it was impossible.
‘Best of Luck’ was a personal story in which the director Maxwell Odhiambo, witnessed policemen collaborating with criminals in the slums. The film features the story of Max who records policemen collaborating with criminals and he takes the footage to a media house in a bid to expose the rogue cops.
The film offered the participants an opportunity to practice their craft and apply the lessons they had received from their mentors. This is the first short film produced as part of the SFF film Lab.