Usama Mukwaya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Usama Mukwaya
Portrait of Usama in 2014
Born Usama Mukwaya Nyanzi
(1989-12-12) 12 December 1989 (age 27)
Mulago, Kampala, Uganda
Nationality Ugandan
Alma mater Makerere University
Occupation Screenwriter, film director, actor, tv personality
Years active 2010–present
Notable work Bala Bala Sese
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Awards Full list

Usama (/ʊˈsɑːmə/) "Osam" Mukwaya Nyanzi (born 12 December 1989) is a Ugandan film director,[1] screenwriter, producer, actor, and television host. He broke through his writing career with his short film Hello that won overall best film in the 2010 MNFPAC Students Awards.

He is set to release his debut film Love Faces as a director in late 2017. His other film credits include Bala Bala Sese, his latest film as a writer and producer directed by Lukyamuzi Bashir.[2] The film was nominated in the Africa Movie Academy Awards for Best Film in an African Language.

Early life[edit]

Born in Mulago Hospital, Kampala-Uganda, Usama hails his ancestry from Ganda, Ankole and Rwanda. He is the son of Abdullah Muhammad Mukwaya and Aziidah Mariam. After the death of his mother when he was 8, Usama's aunt took him in; when she died too, Usama had to move in with his father and later on with his grandfather.[2]

He attended Linnet Primary School in Wakiso District, for his primary school education, Shuhada'e Islamic Secondary School in Mbarara for his O level, Nyamitanga Secondary School for his A level and studied information technology at Makerere University under the Cisco Career Certifications. He has numerous siblings from both his father and mother.[2]

Early career[edit]

Usama standing in-front, first from right with fellow 2011 Maisha participants and Mentors

Usama started his writing career as a child. In 2010 he joined Dan Kiggundu's Maryland Productions where he debuted as a script editor and supporting actor in the TV drama Pain of lies that premiered in 2011.[2] Through Uganda film network, he later joined Mariam Ndagire Film and Performing Arts Center where he worked on his first short film, Hello[3] which won the overall best film in the MNFPAC awards 2010. In July 2011, he then made it to the final selection of the 12 screenwriters from all over East Africa to participate in the 7th Maisha Film Lab ending up with a collaboration with Diana Karua in the making of the movie She Likes Prada.[2]

Later in 2011, Usama won the African Young Achievers Award[4][5] in the film and television category, the youngest among the winners to win the award in the newly introduced category alongside Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who won the Lifetime achievement award.[6]

Kinna-Uganda (Ugandan film) has something to do with mediocrity. We should follow the trends of other industries like Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood; let us call our industry Ugawood.
– Usama Mukwaya via The Observer[7]

Amidst other four young directors in August 2012, he directed his first film, Smart Attempt written by Julian Nabunya and Abel Mwesigwa during the first season of the Movie Furnace programme. He went on to participate in the program's second season with his short film In Just Hours that had him emerge the season's winner for best short film director.[8][9][10] He has worked as a general secretary and treasurer Screenwriter’s guild of Uganda Film Network and as general secretary Pearl International Film Festival.[2][11] He was quoted by The Observer Newspaper alongside Ashraf Ssemwogerere on an interview about naming the growing film industry in Uganda where he stated that Ugawood could have been the appropriate citing that Kinna-Uganda had to do with mediocrity.[7] In July 2014, Usama started his own film production company O Studios, based in Uganda that immediately opened with the production of a short film Tiktok written and directed by himself.


Bala Bala Sese (2015)[edit]

Bala Bala Sese is Usama's first film as producer and writer and was released on 3 July 2015 at theatre Labonita.[12][13] The film became the first Ugandan project to receive a professional marketing touch and the top Ugandan film of 2015 and the following year.[14][15] It was nominated in the 12th Africa Movie Academy Awards for Best Film in an African Language.[16] It has also been featured in various international film festivals, including the Luxor African Film Festival in Cairo, Egypt where it held its African premiere and competed in the long Narrative category among 13 other African films.[17][18][19] It then followed up as an opening film at the 10th Amakula International Film Festival automatically qualifying for the Golden Impala Award in the best African film category which was won by De Noir.[20][21] The film also debuted its European release at the Helsinki African Film Festival in Finland.[22] The directory debut by music video director Lukyamuzi Bashir features former celebrity couple Natasha Sinayobye and Michael Kasaija as on-screen lovers, first time film actor and former Ebonies member Raymond Rushabiro with veteran stage actor Ashraf Ssemwogerere.[citation needed]

Love Faces (2017)[edit]

Usama will direct his debut film Love Faces teaming up again with Laura Kahunde (Hello) and Patriq Nkakalukanyi (Tiktok) alongside first timer, Moses Kiboneka Jr.[23]


Movie Digest Show 2013 cover

In July 2013, Usama debuted his television appearance as a host on the second season of the Movie Digest Show on Record TV Network Uganda with actress Monica Birwinyo replacing pioneer host and former Tusker Project Fame 3 contestant Jacob Nsaali.[24]


Usama is credited to be the co-founder of Pearl International Film Festival alongside Magezi Moses. The first of its kind indigenous film festival aims to draw attention to raise the profile of local films and filmmakers with the aim of contributing towards the development of the cinema of Uganda.[25]


Usama began his philanthropy work in January 2015 with the Empowerment of Disadvantaged Youth and Children (EDYAC) when he traveled to Tororo - northern Uganda to share their life experiences. Him with friend Bobby Tamale later made a documentary available on YouTube about the experience with the video featuring him in narration.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Usama currently lives in Kampala.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Iron Love Actor Official selection: Pearl International Film Festival
2010 Pain of Lies Actor, Script Supervisor Official selection: Pearl International Film Festival
2010 Hello Writer, First Assistant Director Nominated for – MNFPAC Awards for Best screenplay
2011 She Likes Prada Production Manager Official selection: Zanzibar International Film Festival
2012 Smart Attempt Director Movie Furnace 2012 finalist
2013 In Just Hours Writer, director Best Director – Short Film: Movie Furnace 2013

Official selection: 2nd Nile Diaspora International Film Festival[27][28]

Nominee – Best Student Film: Pearl International Film Festival (MNFPAC)

Official selection: 4th Manya Human Rights International Film Festival[29]

2012-2013 Movie Digest Show Host, Producer
2015 Tiktok Writer, Director Official selection: Mashariki African Film Festival[30]
2015 Bala Bala Sese Writer, producer Africa Movie Academy Awards nomination for Best Film in an African Language.[17][31]
2016 New Intentions Actor Bruno
2017 Rehema[32] Writer, producer Official selection: Durban International Film Festival
2017 Love Faces Writer, Director
2020 Saint Kizito Writer, Producer Announced

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kamukama, Polly (12 April 2012). "Mukwaya, the self made filmmaker". The Observer. Uganda. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Young Achievers Awards Uganda – Rewarding Innovation and Excellence". Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Previous Awards - Africa Young Achievers Awards". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Achiever Magazine 2011". Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "The Observer – Ugawood or Kinna-Uganda? Film stars split over name". Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Mulumba, Abu-Baker. "The Observer". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ LLC, Stage 32,. "Julian Nabunya: Actor, director and producer in Kampala, Uganda.". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Organising Committee". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  12. ^ Kaggwa, Andrew. "Natasha, Michael set to relive romance on screen". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Glitz and Glamour At The Premiere Of Bala Bala Sese Movie". 4 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  14. ^ "Ugandan cinema slowly getting deserved attention - News24 Africa". 6 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Bala Bala Ssese movie premieres". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Africa Movie Academy announces full list of 2016 Nominations". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Ugandan films vie for $4,000 prize at Luxor festival –". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  18. ^ "Bala Bala Sese". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  19. ^ Kaggwa, Andrew. "Ugandan films for international festivals". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  20. ^ "Bala Bala Sese - Uganda - Amakula". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  21. ^ "AMAKULA International Film Festival Returns - Proggie - Events in and around Kampala!". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  22. ^ "Bala Bala Sese • Haff". 3 April 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Bala Bala Sese Movie Producer Working On New Film - Chano8". 17 May 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Winners For Kenya’s Annual ‘Pearl International Film Festival (PIFF)’ Announced". 31 May 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Baranga, Samson. "The Observer". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Kaggwa, Andrew. "Ugandan films for international festivals". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  32. ^

External links[edit]