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If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will

Maisha Film Lab 2014 Programs

Upcoming filmmakers, we have a number of opportunities for you this year. Maisha Film Lab will carry out four screenwriting labs made possible by the ACP Secretariat (African Caribbean Pacific group of states) under the European Union.

We will also have a documentary lab funded by the LUMA Foundation.

1.European Union (European Development Fund) and the assistance of the ACP Group of States: Four Screenwriting Labs

Maisha Film Lab has in January 2014 been awarded the ACPCulture+ Program contract under Lot 1 which covers support for audio visual and cinema in African Caribbean and Pacific regions.
What this means is Maisha will in 2014 have 4 annual 8-day intensive programs in each of Maisha’s target countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Participants are selected from a pool of applicants based on their short screenplay ideas. We will award 60 scholarships to participants from the EAC region. In about 8 days, the 60 selected participants ( 15 in each country ) will work with internationally renowned mentors to refine their work and broaden their horizons on the film business and the art of filmmaking.

The result is 60 screenwriting graduates. Each of the 60 total participants (15 per lab) selected for our screenwriting workshops will have a vetted and refined short screenplay. One screenplay will be selected at each lab to receive a grant to produce their films. Each participant will have access to Maisha’s equipment if they want to produce their own films.
The screenwriting lab participants will have networking opportunities with their fellow filmmakers and their community, as well as with their mentors, who are professional working writers and filmmakers from all over the world as the screenwriting labs will be held against the backdrop of the regional film festivals in each respective country.
The lab participants will gain exposure to films and filmmakers form all over the world and thus begin to actualize the idea of a career in filmmaking.
The screenwriting labs are the first step towards a fulfilling career in the film industry for these East African participants.
The screenwriting lab participants will use their refined screenplays to either make a film, raise funds to make a film, or apply to Maisha’s Annual Filmmaking and Technical Lab.
See our Calls for Application for the 2014 Screen Writer’ Labs to the right =>

Maisha Screen Writing Labs sponsored by EU/ACP/European Development Fund

Maisha Labs Lab Dates City Film Festival Festival Dates
Zanzibar 5-15 June Zanzibar Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) 14-21 June
Rwanda 6-14 July Kigali Rwanda Film Festival (RFF) 12-18 July
Uganda 11-18 October Kampala KLA ART 014 1-31 October
Kenya 3-10 November Nairobi Film Africa Documentary Film Festival 7-15 November

2. Tribeca Film Institute /Nelson Mandela Foundation: The Power of Words

This is an initiative spearheaded by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Tribeca Film Institute designed to give new life to Nelson Mandela’s influential, transformative ideas. Five directors were selected worldwide for this project and Mira Nair was one of them. With a focus on modern narratives, our film will be a dynamic contemporary depiction of the ideas behind Mandela’s words and a new platform to share his message; one of his quotes will be the premise of the film. The film will be produced by Maisha alumni and will premiere in the course of 2014 at Tribeca Film Institute. One of our top directing students from my Maisha will direct under Mira Nair’s supervision (8 of our alumni have already made competitive features).

3. Luma Foundation: 6th Annual Documentary Film Lab

Luma Foundation is in its sixth year of supporting our documentary film training initiative. We will be training 24 emerging filmmakers from East Africa. We have so far trained 81 documentary filmmakers and produced 21 short docs. Our documentary film lab is held in Uganda and is open to participants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. We also have run a one off documentary lab in Doha,Qatar in collaboration with Doha Film Institute.
The aim of the Lab is to help visionary East African artists become documentary filmmakers by giving them the tools to tell their stories.

Over the course of the lab, we will have several seminars on improving treatments, interviewing, cinematography, sound recording, editing and lighting.

Maisha Lab Lab Dates City Donors
Uganda Documentary Lab 17-29 November Kampala LUMA Foundation

4. CKU (Danish Centre for Culture & Development through Danish Foreign Ministry) : Maisha Youth & Film Project

We have just completed an initial three-year phase from 2011 to December 2013 in our Youth Training Program for 13 to 19 year old participants.
The program had the following goals:
Overall goal:
– To promote media literacy among youth.
Specific Goals
– To increase film access
– To promote productive dialogue on film content
– To improve analytical skills of youth

The main component of this project has been film clubs in five districts ( towns) in Uganda , namely – Kampala, Gulu, Mbale, Moroto and Mbarara. The other components were annual film labs in two districts – Gulu & Kampala, an annual master class for directors making film content for you facilitated by the Danish Film Institute and finally a collaboration between a Danish film director and a Ugandan director through CPH dox to produce a film for youth annually . We also had the youth in Kampala attended film festivals that screened film for youth audiences.
As we wind up the initial phase, we are pleased that the project was a success and as such , CKU has awarded us a new fund for two and half years from mid 2014 to December 2016 to continue with this project.

The new phase will have the following objectives:

  1. Improve access to diverse culture and active participation by disadvantaged groups in activities within literary arts, performing arts, and film.
  2. Support the development of networks and platforms for knowledge sharing; instigate reflection and public debate on key cultural, human and social issues and which facilitate peaceful coexistence in post-conflict arts using arts and culture as media to reconciliation.
  3. Empowerment of youth – mainly upcountry and with a particular focus on girls – through active participation in arts and culture activities, and through increasing job opportunities for youth in creative industries.
  4. Promoting sustainability in the arts and culture sector development by enhancing opportunities for learning, building capacities and strengthening arts project management for creative industries. We are still in the program development stage for this new phase.

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