The US Embassy in Uganda has donated film training equipment to the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF), Makerere University.
The equipment worth over 9,000 US dollars includes a sony handycam digital camcorder, sony vario-tessar interchangeable full fram, a zoom digital multitrack recorder, glide gear vest and arm stabilization system, sennheiser wind muff for ME66 microphone, sennheiser shotgum microphone system, and a flolight fluorescent lighting kit.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held today, 17th March, 2017 at the Performing Arts premises, the Head of the Department, Assoc. Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga – Tamusuza, expressed gratitude to the US Embassy noting that it was the first time PAF was acquiring film training equipment. She said the Embassy had also extended a grant to the Department to host a Fulbright scholar to offer specialized training in Film. Dr Lana Garland, the Fulbright Specialist will review and teach film and television drama production to undergraduate students as well as work with staff in the Department to develop short-term certificate programmes in film and television drama production. Dr Lana was here last year and will be returning in April to conduct “from script to screen” practical workshops not only for the Department students, but also for students from other media schools in Kampala as well as practicing film makers and television drama producers.
Assoc. Prof. Nannyonga - Tamusuza specifically thanked Mr Niles Cole and Ms Dorothy Ngalombi for their support in securing the equipment. Mr Niles Cole is the Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy whereas Ms Dorothy Ngalombi is the Cultural Affairs Specialist. She also thanked the University Management, specifically the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration for the support extended to the Department in its efforts to construct a Performing Arts Centre. The Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration allocated the flame tree land to the Department for the construction of a Performing Arts Centre. The Center is a collaborative project between Makerere University Department of Performing Arts and Film and The Norwegian University College of Dance. The overarching goal of the project is to improve and strengthen the Performing Arts and Film industry in Uganda, with a focus on training in dance, music, drama and film. The multi-million centre will house, among others, a 350-seater amphi theatre, a 250-seater auditorium, a music archive, music practice rooms, music, dance and film studios, lecture theatres and conference rooms. Assoc. Prof. Nannyonga -Tamusuza said the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the centre will take place on 31st March, 2017. “It will also be an open day for the Department where students and staff will showcase their work,” she noted. She thanked the Norwegian College of Dance under the leadership of Prof. Ann-Kristin Norum for supporting the Department in this initiative and many other efforts aimed at reviving the glory of PAF.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of Management, appreciated to the US government for its continued support to Makerere University. Over the years, Makerere University has benefited a lot from the American People through various agencies including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Rockefeller Foundation and USAID. Prof. Nawangwe expressed gratitude for the donation saying the equipment will help students achieve a lot more than they have without sufficient technology. Commenting on the film productions showcased at the ceremony, Prof. Nawangwe said the students had demonstrated that even in the midst of scarcity, they can do good work. “We have high expectations that those who will have chance to train with this equipment will be in better position to make perfect productions. Excellence is not in buildings or technology. It’s in the brains of people. Believe in yourselves because you are the most important person in the struggle to achieve what you want,” he explained. He thanked Ms Dorothy Ngalombi for her support to the University over the years of her service at the US Embassy noting that with her, ‘Uganda has a very special representative at the Embassy’. He also appreciated the support rendered by the Norwegian government to PAF and Makerere in general. The Norwegian government has over the years supported numerous projects at Makerere University. At PAF, the Norwegian University College of Dance through its Rector, Prof. Ann-Kristin Norum, has been very supportive in the training of students and staff. The College is also supporting the Department to set up a Performing Arts Centre.
In his remarks, the Principal of CHUSS, Prof. Edward Kirumira, said the ceremony was a defining moment for the College and in particular the Department of Performing Arts and Film and the students. “The students we train have a significant role in improving livelihoods. It is therefore important that we invest in them to acquire the much needed skills for the development of our country. Like others, Prof. Kirumira expressed gratitude to the US Embassy for the donation. He also appreciated the support from the University Management and the Norwegian University College of Dance towards the College projects. He appealed to PAF to put the equipment to proper use.
Explaining the significance of a ‘camera’ in the work of performing artistes, the Dean School of Liberal and Performing Arts also former Head of the Department of Performing Arts and Film, Assoc. Prof. Patrick Mangeni, said the equipment was extremely crucial in the training of students.
The Master of Ceremony also Lecturer in the Department of Performing Arts and Film, Dr Jessica Kaahwa, emphasized the importance of the donation saying initially students were failing to graduate in time due to lack of film training equipment.