Dilman Dila

storyteller. writer. filmmaker.


I am a writer, film maker and a social activist who believes that stories are an important tool in creating a better world.

In 2014, I published my first collection of speculative short stories, A Killing in the Sun, which has gotten a warm reception from critics and readers. My debut novel, Dreams of a Yellow Balloon, is out early next year, while my new scifi feature film, Her Broken Shadow (2014), is on the festival run.

My works have been recognized in many international awards, including the Nommo Awards for African Speculative fiction (2017), the BBC International Radio Scriptwriting Competition (2014), the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2013), Short Story Day Africa prize, (2013 and 2014), and a nomination for the 2008 Million Writers Awards. My first works appeared in print in The Sunday Vision in 2001, and have since featured in several e-zines and book anthologies, including the Apex Book of World SF 4, AfroSF v2, and Unconventional Fantasy: 40 Years of the World Fantasy Convention. My first novella, a romance, Cranes Crest at Sunset, was released in 2013 during the Hay Festival in Nairobi.

As a self-taught film maker, I benefited greatly from the Maisha Film Lab. Many regard my first short film, What Happened in Room 13 (2007), as a masterpiece from Uganda’s young industry. The film has attracted over 6.5 million views on YouTube. The Young Ones Who Won’t Stay Behind (2008) was my first collaboration with the world famous film maker, Mira Nair. I spent two years in Nepal, where I made several documentaries, including Untouchable Love (2011) and The Sound of One Leg Dancing (2011), which won The Jury Award at the Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival in 2012.

My first narrative feature, The Felistas Fable (2013) was nominated for Best First Feature by a Director at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (2014), and for Best Make-Up Artist in the same awards the same year. It also got a nomination for Best Make-Up Artist at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards 2014.

The Felistas Fable won four of the seven awards for which it was nominated during the Uganda Film Festival 2014. These were, Film of the Year (Best Director), Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor. The other nominations included Best Actress, Best Sound, and Best Post-Production.