How to donate to and support my films

Donate. Art needs Patrons

How to support my work

I make science fiction films set in Uganda (East Africa) because we are often ignored in visualizations of the future. When they include us, we are portrayed negatively, or as victims, or our stories are told through their point of view. I want us all to dream, to imagine ourselves in pasts and futures not written by someone else, only then can we take control of our destiny.

This year, I will make four or possibly six short films. Last year I tried to make a film every month, but it was very expensive, and I only managed to make a few, which you can see for free online.

I want to succeed, so I’m asking for your support. The easiest way is to use because it has an automated system. Ugandans, East Africans, use your ATM card if it has a Visa logo, patreon is secure. Otherwise there is mobile money. You get a lot of rewards, even when you contribute as little as $1, or UGX 5000. Your support will help build an audience for our stories.

Remember, make the pledge now, and give the donation after I make each film. Your pledge will motivate me. You could also send money before I produce the film. I’ll thank you big time if you do.

The Fan Reward

First, a huge, huge THANK YOU! Then, you get a unique wallpaper every month, for your phones or desktop, made from the beautiful photos I take. PLUS a copy of the photo that you can print to hang on your living room wall. PLUS, as thank you for backing me, an ebook of the first four humorous short stories I published in 2001, with a bonus of two unpublished. PLUS access to my Patron-only feed. PLUS early access to an advert-free copy of the short films I make. All that for $1!?

BONUS! Those in Kampala get invited to the patron’s club, were we meet regularly, socialize over a few drinks and watch great films, or discuss art and literature and life.

The Fantasy Reward

Oh wow. You sure are in love with my work, and for this you get, every month, a unique wallpaper for your phone or desktop, from the cute digital images I make out of my graphic design talent. These images have a cool, family friendly sci-fi, fantasy, or otherworldly theme. PLUS, as thank you for backing me, an ebook of some the first horror short stories I published, with a bonus of one previously unpublished, in total about 20K words of sheer terror. This ebook includes the novelette, The Terminal Move, which was first published in 2014.
PLUS, all rewards above

The Poetic Reward

I write poetry. Mostly for my girlfriends. Now that you support me, you’ll get one too, every month! The poem will be exclusive to you and will come in different formats, as  ebook, as an e-card, as a plaque you can print and hang in your living room, as a wallpaper for your phone or desktop. PLUS a previously unpublished short story every two months PLUS, as thank you for backing me, an ebook of my first sci-fi novella, “The Flying Man of Stone,” which was nominated for a Nommo Award for Best Novella. PLUSall rewards above.

The Write Reward

You get a e-copy of the screenplay I used to make the short film of that month. PLUS you get a prose version of the story, also in e-book. It will be slightly different from the film, but just as enjoyable.  Ain’t that cool? PLUS, as thank you for backing me, an ebook with screenplays of all my previous produced short films, eight of them. PLUS, all rewards above.

BONUS! For those who pledge via mobile money, I gave your short script and give you feedback in a one-on-one session!

The Making-of Reward

So, I know how much you love my work, and I know you’ll love it more if you know how I made it. I’ll give you a tutorial through the whole process. You get the storyboards and director notes. PLUS download access to an .mp4 of the film. PLUS I’ll answer any question about making it. PLUS, as thank you for backing me, you get an ebook with screenplays of my two feature films, Her Broken Shadow (a scifi) and The Felistas Fable (a fairy tale comedy) PLUS, all rewards above.

Work in Progress Reward

This is the coolest of all! You’ll have exclusive access to something I’m working on, in part or in whole, a screenplay, a short story, a novel, a rough cut of a film (so you can have bragging rights when it’s out). This is a very hard thing for artists to share. Most won’t want anyone to peek at a WIP. But you support me so you have a stake in my creations :-)) I only ask that you respect the creative process and not share it with anyone. PLUS all rewards above!

Associate Producer

First, I want to clap and not stop clapping. Your heart is big and you are full of love. May your tomorrow be full of joy! For this you will get credit in my films as Associate Producer. Yes, that’s right. You get to put that in your CV, ‘I helped produce this film’ :-)) PLUS you get to email me any question you have, whether about my writing or my films or about film making and writing in general. PLUS all the rewards above.


Do you know how much inspire me? Anything you tell me is an idea for my next film. You could use the film as a gift to a loved one (or enemy :-o). Say it’s your girlfriend’s birthday. The main character could have her name, her photo could be a prop!, or the plot could be adapted from events in her life or from your relationship (provided it’s film-able on low budget)  :-)) Ain’t that a cool gift? 

The Co-Producer Reward

I thank you for your support. At this point, it’s not just support but you are part of me. So you get to be a co-producer of the short films I make in the months of your support. This includes credit to your company, if you have one, and your company logo will be included in the film where other company logos appear, provided you and your company uphold values that promote social justice and respect the dignity of every human and of the planet. PLUS, all the rewards above!

Why I’ll Focus on Making Films for Online Distribution

My New Year resolution is to make a short film every month. I started very early, with this scifi/horror, What Happened to Jilted Lovers, and I hope to carry the momentum into the new year. I had this same ambition way back in 2008, the year I quit a salaried job to focus on writing and filmmaking. Back then, I didn’t achieve it because I had no equipment, filmmaking was way too expensive, and there was no market. Today, I have no excuse. Only motivation. And each film I make will be strictly for direct-to-consumer distribution online.

Me, somewhere in Nothern Uganda,
making a documentary.
 I’m not giving up on festivals, or on being discovered by the big players, I’m just not going to throw my energy and resources into that direction anymore. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s just that the films I make can’t get their attention. Or maybe there is a systematic bottleneck that ignores independent films produced in sub-Saharan Africa? Many indie films from Europe, America, or Asia, produced entirely in the country of origin, go on to make it big on the world stage, but I’m yet to see one produced entirely in sub-Saharan Africa, without a grant from the likes of World Cinema Fund, and without a co-producer from Europe or America attached, making it (and by making it I don’t mean a token selection in one or two or a few of the major festivals). This makes me wonder; Is it a reflection of the broader picture framed in neo-colonialism and imperialism? Is it a symptom of how the system perpetuates Africa’s dependence on the West?
Kansiime Anne in my film, What Happened in Room 13
In 2007, I made my first professional short film, What Happened in Room 13. Some people, who have had successful careers in Hollywood, saw it, and called it a masterpiece. With their connections, I submitted it to many festivals, without success. They put it in the hands of programmers, made sure the programmers saw it, but none of the festivals took it on. Only a few little ones bothered to show it. 

 Watch my new short film, What Happened to Jilted Lovers, on YouTube

I tried again, with my first feature film, The Felistas Fable, but I didn’t push that too much, for I had made a few mistakes in it, and I knew early on that it would not make it big internationally. So when I got making my second film, I played my cards right. I had made contacts with programmers at major festivals, and as they advised, I shared with them the script before going into production. Three of them read it, and gave me feedback. ‘Yes! If you shoot this film, it could be in our festival!’ they all said words to that effect. So I threw all my energy into production, using money I had made from working on Disney’s Queen of Katwe. Once I had a rough cut, I again contacted the programmers, and all three said; ‘Very exciting stuff! Send us the final cut by this date and we’ll consider it for the next edition of our festival.’ And again, I threw all my heart into the final cut, running very broke in the process. They were all kind enough to give me promo codes so I wouldn’t have to pay a fortune in entry fees. I was very excited. I knew one of them would say yes. My big moment had come. Alas. One by one, they said, ‘We liked it very much. Your film was shortlisted, your film was there right up to the last selection round, but unfortunately we got a high number of very high quality submissions blah blah blah…’
Shooting a film, with high-end equipment.
That was my wake up call. After the third rejection, I sat on my bed and thought hard about my career. It’s not that I’m a bad filmmaker. It’s not that these programmers lied to me. They surely loved my film and they surely thought it was the kind the big festivals would fall in love with. But so were a hundred other films. Sadly, festivals have only a very limited slot. They can’t accept all films they like. It had happened with Room 13. It was happening again. I felt suffocated. I felt like a bird without wings. What could I do? Keep waiting for a major breakthrough in the traditional platforms, or respond to the fact that my short film has attracted over six million views on YouTube?
Me, making a documentary in Nepal. This was during teej.
This film is What Happened in Room 13, the same film the festivals rejected. People love it. People are watching it and sharing it and commenting on it. Over six million views! And above that, I get paid for Google runs ads on the film. Some months it’s as little as US $100. Other months it’s as much as US $600. Festivals wouldn’t pay me anything to show it!

 Donate. Support me on

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to put energy into making films for YouTube, and other online platforms. If I have several that people are enjoying, and sharing, then my revenue might go well into thousands of dollars a month. 
Filming the wonderful poet, Linda Nabasa, Nada
I have several ideas running through my head. The first, and the easiest to get off, is #HorrorRomance, a series of loosely interconnected films, told very much like What Happened in Room 13, dark, thrilling, no dialog, and with romance that goes horribly wrong. There’s a group of bad guys, The Clique of Jilted Hearts, who vow to avenge broken hearts, and who I hope will someday be as famous as SPECTRE. What Happened to Jilted Lovers, which you can see on youtube, sets the pace. Then I plan to produce Safari Nyota, a multimedia project featuring prose, a graphic novel, interactive fiction, and a film series. Safari Nyota is Kiswahili for ‘journey to the stars’, and it is about a pioneer space trip that goes horribly wrong. Being a little too expensive, that might wait a while. What I will produce alongside HorrorRomance is Fashion Fixer, a comedy series about a girl who fixes people’s relationships by advising couples on what to wear. 

This is very ambitious Dilman, how will you manage? You might ask. That’s why I need your support. It’s simple. Subscribe to Watch my films. Share my films. Tell all your friends about them. And, you can support me on patreon. Patreon is a little bit like Kickstarter and indiegogo, but the contributions are not one-off. Instead, you get to contribute every time I make a film, and there are a lot of rewards for each contribution you make. For as little as $1 a film, you get stories, photographs, digital art, wallpapers, tutorials and behind-the-scenes, and many, many other cool perks. Head over to and give me wings to fly.
Producing a TV series.
Filming a documentary in Biratnagar, Nepal

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My Friend is a Prostitute

The Quiet Before the Storm

The Fun of Backpacking in Nigeria Pt 2: Mistaken for a Terrorist

After the Storm?

How to Enjoy A Holiday in Nigeria

Everything they told me about Nigeria turned out to be true. They are loud people. They talk as though they are quarreling, much like Indians and Nepalis. I have a theory that a combination of high temperatures, humidity, and eating too much pepper (piro in South Asia, pepe in Nigeria), gives one a big mouth and a hot temper.

A street food vendor in Lagos. The city is full of yellow and green.

On the plane, one Nigerian man made the Ethiopian air-hostess cry, because she couldn’t give him the food he wanted. She tried to tell him, ‘I’m sorry I can’t serve you that,’ but she doesn’t know proper English, so she said, ‘I’m sorry for you.’ The Nigerian exploded. ‘Sorry for me? Did you pay my air ticket?’ The others seated around him soon joined in harassing her. They wanted wine. She served them. They insisted on getting more than the tiny bottle they were being given. It nearly turned into a riot. Too much pepe, I think. Their outburst made the poor woman cry. I felt bad for her. I nearly cried too. I had to explain to the ogah what the woman was trying to tell him, and then he felt so ashamed of himself that he followed her to the back room (what do they call that room in the airplane where hostesses hang out?) and he apologized to her.

Boarding the Ethiopian airlines
Granted, not all Nigerians are like this. I was there for only a short time, and didn’t get the chance to see the places I wanted to visit, like the Badagry slave museum and the Fela Kuti museum. But I totally enjoyed it. And would love to go back there. The thing about Nigeria is not its many attractions, but it’s people. They have a unique culture, a way of life that is close to the comical, for an outsider, and for me who sees humor in everything, I had a great time. I would love to go back.

The streets of Lagos are full of Maruwa, three-wheel cars.

They warned me before setting off that I needed to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate, that I would not be allowed into the country if I did not have one. I set off with a vaccination card, which had a bunch of shots that I had got before going to Nepal. I assumed yellow fever was one of them. But at Entebbe airport, an official almost stopped me from boarding the plane. I think she wanted a bribe. She said I did not have a yellow fever vaccination. It had happened to me before, but this was at the boarder inMalaba, never at the airport. I told her that I travel a lot, and surely of the twenty or so shots listed in that card, yellow fever had to be one of them. She insisted she could not see it, and so she would not let me board the plane. She claimed she was doing me a favor since the moment I reach Nigeria without a yellow fever card they would deport me immediately. That is when I became certain that she wanted a bribe.

They call this a bus.  They overload passengers.

I then played a trick that I always do whenever confronted with such corrupt officials. In the pretext of looking for my wallet, I opened my bag and pulled out my DSLR camera. When she saw it, like all the other corrupt officials, I saw panic leap onto her face. ‘Are you a journalist?’ she asked. I smiled at her, and she gave me a nervous laugh. She handed me back my vaccination card and passport, and said, ‘If the Nigerians ask you for yellow fever, say it is this one.’ She pointed at an item in the list of shots, Typhod, and before I could say anything, she shoved me away towards the Ethiopian Airlines desk.

Lagos is full of vehicles in
dangerous mechanical conditions

But all the way to Nigeria, I was worried. The camera trick worked on the Ugandan official, because she was afraid of the Ugandan media, but a Nigerian wouldn’t give a rats ass about my camera. I was nervous as we queued up to face the immigration officer. A guy from Curacao was pulled out of the line. ‘You don’t have yellow fever vaccination’, they told him. Of course all this was done hush-hush, without anyone overhearing, but he later told me what happened, when we met at the function which we both were going to attend. ‘Why do I need it?’ he asked the official. ‘To enter the country,’ the official said. ‘Isn’t my passport and visa enough?’ he asked. ‘No. The yellow fever vaccination is more important. If you don’t have it, you will be deported.’ The poor guy was at a loss of what to say. Just as he thought they would deny him entry, the official said, ‘But if you have a hundred dollars…’ The Curacao guy’s face lit up with a smile. ‘No,’ he said, I don’t have a hundred. But I have fifty.’ The official then walked over to his boss, whispered, and the boss gave a slight nod. The official came back to the Curacao, ‘Boss says fifty is okay. But you have to add ten for me. Put it in your passport.’

A palm wine seller. When in Nigeria, make it a point to taste it!

They took his money. Crafty like immigration officials everywhere. At least in Kenya, when they fleeced Reiza of a hundred dollars because she did not have a yellow fever vaccination (and she was not even going to Kenya, she was changing planes enroute to South Sudan), they gave her a certificate. The Nigerians just took the sixty dollars and sent the poor guy on his way.

When my turn reached, they did not even bother to look into the card I was carrying. They saw it was a vaccination card and assumed it had a yellow fever shot. I secretly sighed in relief.
The airport itself was hot and stuffy, without any air conditioning. It looked dirty and overcrowded, too noisy, with hundreds of Nigerians screaming at immigration and customs officials. It might be richer than Uganda, but at least we know how to give visitors a good impression of our country. The Nigerians had to pass their baggage through customs. Foreigners however were not required to go through customs, which I found weird. They do not trust their own people? One very fat custom official was yelling into the face of a pregnant woman, in pidgin English. I didn’t understand most of it. Two of his friends were trying to calm him down. ‘She’s pregnant, don’t shout at her.’ The woman was shouting back. I wonder what that was all about.
eba, one of the delicacies of Nigeria.
And below, wild meat on sale at the roadside.

Outside the airport, we were taken to a taxi that had been sent to pick us up. ‘Hurry! Get in!’ the driver shouted at us. Then I saw two soldiers running towards us, weilding guns. ‘Go! Go!’ One soldier shouted, holding his gun like he wanted to shoot. ‘Get in quick!’ the driver yelled at us again. We scrambled into the van. I was certain Boko Haram had attacked the airport, and they were whisking us quickly to safety. The vehicle sped away. My heart was pumping fast, like in the cliché, expecting to hear gunfire at any moment now.

Only then did I notice that we were the only ones being whisked away. Other people stood idly on the kerb. Other soldiers looked bored. ‘What was that about?’ I asked the driver. I did expect to hear something about terrorism, but he instead said, ‘We had parked in a restricted area. You see, you are international guests. We did not want you to walk all the way to the car park, and the soldiers gave us only one minute to let you board.’ I felt anger stir. I would not have minded the walk to the park to board the taxi without any drama. Maybe this guy gave the soldiers kitu kidogo to allow him to park in a restricted area, but I never understood why he did it. The soldiers must have put a ‘No Parking’ sign in that area for a reason, but why then do they allow some people to park for only one minute, even if it is to pick ‘international guests?’

The word international, I later came to learn, has a special place in Nigera. I spent so short a time that I never fully comprehended the value they put on that word. But I’ll give you two examples to illustrate. Markets and churches. We went to a rundown market along the Highway from Port Harcout to Bayelsa. It had only a few vegetable stalls, and a few concrete stands, but it had a big sign proclaiming it to be an ‘international market’, because it sold goods from outside Nigeria. I wondered what then they called the high class shopping malls in Lagos, ‘super international markets’?Yet, calling a market ‘international’ just because it sells goods from across the boarder would mean every market and every shop is ‘international’, why then call some local? It defeated my understanding. But I could see why churches include the word in their names. To attract more worshipers (and therefore more money). It seems to me that to say something is ‘international’, it then is of superior quality. In Bayelsa state, I had a chance to see one of these international churches. The photo says it all.

God’s Grace Ministry Inc. Worlwide, Bayelsa, Nigeria.
Why would a church have the word incorporation in its name?
A friend who is married to a Nigerian woman told me that their version of Christianity is rather comical. They are very religious people, I think. As we drove to our hotel, I asked the taxi-driver, ‘Who is Murtala Muhammed?’ for I noticed that the airport is called Murtala Muhammed International Airport. And he replied, ‘A prophet’. I was stunned. Why would they name such an important airport after a prophet? Is he a very powerful prophet? ‘He is a dead man,’ the driver said. ‘They cannot name a place after a person who is still alive.’ Only after I had reached the hotel did google tell me that Murtala Muhammed was once a military ruler of Nigeria, and is considered a hero. It amazed me that the taxi-driver did not know this, and instead associated the name with some religious figure. 
The nine commandments of dressing, according to
this church in Bayelsa, Nigeria.

It confirmed to me what I had heard, that Nigerians take their religions too seriously, maybe so seriously that it becomes rather comical. Like this church in Bayelsa, that has a set of guidelines for its worshipers. I have heard of other crazy churches, like the one in South Africa where they eat grass, and those in Uganda where they have banned offering coins and where blessings are on sale. But this one, with its own version of the ten commandments, which you can see in the inset, made me laugh out loud! Women, among other things, cannot wear wigs and attachments, nor can they wear trousers, or open back dresses that show off their breasts or shoulders. Reading this list of prohibitions makes me think of radical Islam, not Christianity, yet it is called God’s Grace Ministry Inc. Worldwide. The term Inc., (an incorporation) should give you a hint on what it’s motivation really is. 

Next time I come to Nigeria, I will look out for such hilarious churches. But I will also look out for the food. It’s the one thing I totally enjoyed there, and it’s the one thing you should look forward to in case you ever find yourself in Nigera. I ate snails, for the first time in my life. They taste like chicken gizzards. I ate bush meat, antelope, the butcher told me, though I wonder if that was really true. And then there was the palm wine, which deserves a whole post on its own. It gave us diarrhea though, so maybe I shouldn’t be talking about that!

A snail on a plate, ready to eat, and below, snails on sell.
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Call for Actresses and Actors

Dilstories is in the pre-production for a TV comedy series, tentatively titled The Love Makanika. We are seeking actors and actresses for the lead roles in this offbeat comedy. We will not hold an open-call audition. Rather, interested persons should send us an email (see details below), and we shall then contact potential candidates to audition. The series will be filmed in Kampala, and so interested persons must be able to travel to, or reside within, this city.

MAGGIE (late twenties, early thirties): She has a bachelor’s degree in commerce, but became a hair dresser on failing to find a job. She works from home. She loves African hairstyles, and wears a big Afro. She likes spending on clothing, cook books and food. Her business is struggling. She becomes a relationship counselor to supplement her income. She has never been in a relationship, following a traumatic event in her teenage years, but she believes she knows a lot about love. Many people seek her advice. Though an honest woman, she ends up being something of a con artist. The advice she gives her clients are sometimes outrageous, out of this world, and sends her clients into hilarious adventures as they struggle to find love, and to hold on to their messy relationships.
What Maggie might look like.
Picture borrowed from

BITU (mid twenties): She likes her hair natural, and is sometimes bald. She has been Maggie’s employee and friend for many years. She grew up in a small town, until Maggie brought her to the city to braid hair. She dropped out of school because of a pregnancy. Her child lives with her mother upcountry. She is unmarried, but is keen on a village pastor, the father of her child, who she wants to get rich before she can accept to be his wife. She has a sharp tongue, and her witty punchlines put her in trouble. She is flirty, but not promiscuous, many men bring her expensive gifts, but she never gives in to any.

What Bitu might look like.
Picture borrowed from:


PASTOR (mid twenties to mid thirties): He comes from a strict religious family. After his father dies, he steps into the helm of the village church. It is a broke church, and he is looking for American sympathizers to inject money into it so he can become rich and marry the love of his wife, Bitu, with whom he has a child. When this money doesn’t come, he wants to leave the church and find a real job, but his mother will not hear of it. He still lives with her and she rules his life.

What might pastor look like? You!

If you would like to be part of this, please send us an email with the following information:
      1)     A professional bio-filmography. No more than  200 words.
      2)     A sample of your work, either as a link to youtube/vimeo, or on DVD.
            Post the DVD to Dilstories, P.O. Box 59, Seeta, Uganda.
      3)    A headshot. Jpg files no larger than 1mb.  
Send the email to productions@dilstories.comwith ACTOR/ACTRESS APPLICATION in the subject line.

Only those who get in touch before 15th April 2014 will be considered for the pilot, the shooting of which is scheduled for the last week of April, in Kampala. Those who get in touch after this date will be considered for roles in future episodes.

For more info about dilstories, please visit

Enjoy our hilarious web series on YouTube: The Total Agony of Being in Love

The Total Agony of Being in Love

A few days back, my facebook status read: Dear God, please help me. I want to be funny, but the only jokes I can come up with have either sex or poop in them. I don’t know why I’m fascinated with the two, but I also do not know why they are taboo. It’s something everybody does, and both are vital to human life. Still, they do not seem to be something people want to talk about. Or joke about. So recently, I set out to make a series of funny videos, for distribution via youtube. In this series, I will try very hard to make only clean jokes that can be enjoyed around the family dinner table, in front of your children.

That I called it The Total Agony of Being in Love should tell you where I got inspiration. Love Actually. That film. I loved it when I first watch it, sometime in 2004, and I loved the way they portrayed sex, and relationships, and it made me want to tell funny stories. I believe many stories I’ve come up with were inspired by this film. I have made four episodes of the series, and I plan to make more. Like the title says, the series will revolve around the pains of being in love.

The episode I love the most is When An African Man Cheats. I first heard a similar joke in secondary school, and it made us laugh real hard at that time. It is a man’s joke. I don’t think women will find it funny. Well, I adapted the joke, and added a whole new punchline to it. You can enjoy it below.

The other episodes include this one, Why do Men Make Love. We were one time having a chat, a few mornings ago, and a woman was complaining that her husband only makes love to her when he wants to go to sleep. He uses her as a sleeping pill. I at once thought it’s something worth talking about. I wonder, how many men use women in this way?

One of the first episodes we did was about a Lonely Girl. It is based on a poem by Rashida Namulondo, who won the BN Poetry Prize in 2013. I have had this wild idea for a long time now, of turning poems into videos, the way they make music videos. It’s not an entirely new idea, and several people have already made video poems, but I’m thinking it could be a way to help poets earn cash from their creations.

Well, so there we are. A few videos to give you a great laugh, and you should expect more. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and you won’t be disappointed!

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A Statement On the Sex-Tape Hoax

This is a public apology to Mathew Nabwiso and Tibba Murungi Kabugu, whose reputation is suffering because of a misconception over a video I uploaded on YouTube, a few months ago. The video is being taken out of context. It is not porn, or a sex tape. I appeal to all media houses and tabloids in the country to desist from spreading the lies around this video.

Mathew and Tibba in a scene in The Felistas Fable

I first met both Mathew and Tibba when I was working for The Hostel, a short lived stint that lasted only two months or so, late in 2011. I saw they were fine actors, and since I had a feature film project, The Felistas Fable, I invited them to audition for parts in the movie. I was glad to work with them in this film. It is not a pornographic film. However, there involved a sex scene between the two characters that they would both be portraying. This scene was not simply for the sake of having graphic displays of sex, but it was a plot device and it was also for comic purposes.

It maybe not be possible to show you how we used sex as a plot device or for comic purposes, but I will invite you to watch another short film that I made, in which we use it to great effect. What Happened in Room 13

Filming sex scenes are the most boring part of making a film. Anyone who works in the industry knows that. There is a certain degree of undressing, to make the audience believe that it is an actual sex scene, but the actors will remain decently clothed throughout the filming process. However, during one of the takes of this scene, our cleaner interrupted, saying she wanted to wash dishes. Being a low budget production, we were filming on location, and therefore any noises in the kitchen would interrupt us.

During the editing, I saw this clip, and I thought it was funny. I laughed every time I saw it. I thought it would be a good tool to promote the film, especially on YouTube, because there was humor in it, and we are trying to market the film as a romantic comedy. Please note that I have already uploaded other behind the scenes or unused sequences from the film, which are not sex related, but which have humor in them. For example this video clip,

Unfortunately, after I uploaded this behind-the-scenes clip, some people mistook it as a sex video. They did not see beyond the characters re-enacting the scene. This forced us to remove the video from YouTube. It’s also unfortunate that the moment we removed the video, after it was online for about three months, some people uploaded illegal copies on social media. I think that it’s because we removed the official video that the false rumors began to spread, and I’m sorry about that. It was been online for more than three months.

I would like to now clarify two things.

1) The clip being spread is not from a pornographic film, nor is it a sex tape. It is from a decent film. That YouTube permitted it to be uploaded testifies to the fact that it falls within YouTube guidelines of acceptable family entertainment. You can watch the trailer of the film here.

2) The scene was not shot in The Hostel. The Hostel, and the team behind The Hostel, have nothing to do with the video.

I would like to apologize to Mathew and Tibba, and to their families, for the hurt this has done. It was not my intention to profit from their embarrassment. The moment the video was misunderstood, I removed it. The video clip was misunderstood and is being spread out of context. I do not understand why, nor why they are associating it with The Hostel, because the clip has text files identifying the true film from which it was taken. My apologies to Fast Track, and the team behind The Hostel.

I would like to end by appealing to all Ugandans, to media houses and to tabloids, and to social media platforms, to please verify the truth behind a rumor before spreading it. It is your social responsibility to spread only what is the truth, and not to take things out of context.

For more details about the film, you can contact me via this website. 

I remain yours,

Dilman Dila
The Felistas Fable.

The Liebster Blog Awards

Sometime towards the end of last year, Matt Ewens nominated my blog for the Liebster Blog Awards. Yay! It humbled me, for this guy, Matt, who I hardly know, but who I met in a google plus writing group,  thought my blog is worth a read. You can see list of nominees here. There are rules for accepting the Liebster Blog Award. You can read them below. I have to accept the award by answering questions he has asked, and in turn nominate eleven blogs that I think are worth a read. Well, I’ll start by answering questions that Matt asked.

What is the meaning of life?

1. What’s the meaning of life to you, what’s the point?

When I was a little boy, going through pretty tough times and asking God that age old question, ‘Why did you create me?’, and asking my parents that timeless question, ‘Why did you produce me?’, I went to church one Saturday. We were taking Baptism lessons. The priest asked us that same question, what is life? And a boy, who had only one eye, stood up and gave an answer that has lived with me ever since. In the darkest of times, I hear his voice, sounding like the voice of God, saying, ‘Life is something that cannot be explained, but lived.’

2. What are you best at?
I guess I’m best at telling lies. Isn’t that what all writers do? They come up with these weird stories, and they will say, ‘It’s totally fiction. It’s not based on real life.’ And yet it is often based on their personal lives, for every story ever told has the emotional footprint of the person who told it. I do it all the time. Even when I’m writing my blog, which is supposed to be a factual thing, I’ll add a bit of lies here and there to spice things up. I once told someone that my blog is 90% truth, which is the truth, but I revel in the 10% lies that I put in, for that’s actually what makes the readers come back again and again. I think.

3. If you were captured by aliens and put into an arena and they used their power of divination to determine your greatest fear or the one creature/animal/monster fake or real – what would appear out of the shadows to face you?
A woman. 😀

4. Favourite gig of all time?
My first job, when I was barely a month out of university. It took me to a world I had never been to before. I not only visited, and for the first time in my life slept in, a village, but I met people living with AIDS, who were about to die. Just talking to them influenced my writing for the next few years.

5. How do you boil an egg?
I don’t boil eggs. I swallow them raw. It’s supposed to be good for creativity. Ah, so now you know where I get all those crazy ideas from. You see, an egg is like a seed, like life itself. If you cook it, you destroy that life. If you swallow it raw, another life will grow inside you, and materialize in the form of a story. 

6. If you could magic your mind into the body of any living human being on planet Earth, who would it be and why? (keep in mind this is a lifetime swap there’s no going back)
A Pinoy bombshell called Reiza, my fiancee, so I can know what makes her tick, how to love her without making her go off the edge in a cloud of anger.

7. If a clown jumped out of a van in the street while you were minding your own business and handed you a big pot of pink paint and a big brush and said ‘You must paint that house over there pink, if you do then you’ll get this,’ he shows you the biggest diamond you have ever seen in your life.
I wouldn’t paint it, for I’d know the diamond is a fake and the clown is setting me up for a prank.

8. Favourite food?
I actually have two. Dek ngor, an Acholi dish, and the Chinese style sweet-n-sour fish.

9. If you were suddenly transformed or transmogrified into a great bowl along with your equivalent selves from every country in the world and you were asked by GOD to compete against each other in a variety of sports and tests, what self from what country would win and why?
My East African self would win, because it wouldn’t be an impostor like the others 🙂

10. Best thing you’ve done for another human being?
That’s a tough one. People tend to think I’m selfish.

11. What are your long-term life goals?
To be the greatest storyteller ever.

Questions for my Nominees
1. What is the happiest memory you have of your childhood?
2. If you were a vampire, whose blood would you drink, and why?
3. If you were to reincarnate, what animal would you choose to be, and why?
4. Imagine you are a character in a story, and you are supposed to kill your lover, what weapon would you choose and why?
6. How do you make a cup of tea?
7. What is the moon, and not the sun, a symbol of romance?
8. What memories does rain bring to you?
9. Suppose you woke up one morning, and you were in the middle of the street, stark naked, what would you do to convince onlookers of your sanity?
10. If you meet your childhood self, what warning you’d give him/her?
11. What’s your dream travel destination?

And my nominees are (in alphabetical order);

Corinne Rodrigues, “Everyday Gyaan”,
Gay Emami, “Confessions of a Pinay Travel Junkie”,

Geeta Nair, “Fabrics of Life”,
Jairam Mohan, “Mahabore’s Mumblings”,
Joel Benjamin Nevender, “Hope Never Runs Dry”
Jyothi Nair, “Jyothi’s Day Out”,
Mildred Apenyo, “Apeny Writers.”
Reiza S Dejito, “Wander if you Must.”
Simon Kaheru, “Scare a Hero.”
Sophie B Alal, “Deyu African.”
Susan Dusterhoft, “Today’s Writing Woman”,

I wish I could go on and on, and it’s been hard to limit my selection to only these eleven. I should make another much longer list later. They are all worthy reads. Well, congs to you eleven. And happy blogging!

The rules for accepting the Liebster Blog Award:
1- List eleven random facts about yourself.
2- Nominate eleven other bloggers.
3- Notify these bloggers.
4- Ask eleven questions that the bloggers must answer upon accepting the award.
5- Answer the eleven questions that you were asked when you were nominated.
6- Link back to the person who nominated you (mention him/her and include his/her blog link).

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My Favourite Peter Sellers Comedies

 Last night, I watched The Party. It put PeterSellers at the top of the list of my favourite comic actors. He makes me laugh with the least effort. I used to think Mr. Bean is hilarious, that Leon Schuster is awesome, that Jim Carrey was the god of comedy, but they all disappointed me at some point. (Okay, he does not beat Woody Allen. I think Woody will be my favourite of all time, because Woody is not just a comic actor, but also a funny writer and director. I’ll do a list of my favourite Woody Allen’s next). With Sellers, every film of his I’ve seen is a riot. Or well, maybe not The Man Who Never Was, but again, it was a very entertaining film, and it only confirmed to me that he was gifted actor, able to fit any role, be it comedic of serious. As happens in the industry, he got typed with comedy (I think) and so most of the films he was given were in that genre. 
Peter Sellers. London, 1973. Photo from Wikipedia
Being There (1979) I’ve never watched a film as good as this one, not in a long time. It might be better than Harold and Maude, though they probably share the spoils. It’s about a simple man with a mental disability. He is called Chance. His brains never develop beyond childhood, but it doesn’t make him an idiot, as you might imagine. Certainly not like I Am Sam, or The Rain Man. He has lived for as long as he can remember in the backyard of his benefactor’s house. He is a gardener. It’s the only thing he knows. Then his life turns around when he his guardian dies, and he is thrown out of the house. For the first time, he is out in the streets. He is a guy who has never been outside the doors in decades, and what follows is a sweetly sad story with a weirdly happy ending. He ends up the President of the USA! Okay, maybe not. But you get the feeling that he will be the next one. 🙂
I particularly loved the acting in that film. I’ve read that Sellers went to great lengths to perfect his portrayal of Chance, he changed his voice and the way the character walked. According to wikipeadia, “Sellers considered Chance’s walking and voice the character’s most important attributes, and in preparing for the role, he worked alone with a tape recorder, or with his wife, and then with Ashby, to perfect the clear enunciation and flat delivery needed to reveal ‘the childlike mind behind the words’,” and that in order to remain in character, he refused to do interviews and kept aloof from the other actors. I love such an actor. He should have won all the awards for that role. Quoting wiki again “Critic Frank Richwrote that the acting skill required for this sort of role, with a “schismatic personality that Peter had to convey with strenuous vocal and gestural technique … A lesser actor would have made the character’s mental dysfunction flamboyant and drastic … [His] intelligence was always deeper, his onscreen confidence greater, his technique much more finely honed”: in achieving this, Sellers “makes the film’s fantastic premise credible”.
The Party (1968) In this film, Sellers plays an error prone Indian actor, Hrundi V. Bakshi, who accidentally gets an invitation to a high class party. At first I was sceptical, and thought he would end up offending Indians, but by minute fifteen, I saw he was at his best again. I totally believed he was an Indian, with the accent, the subtle head shake, the Namaste hand clasp, the English! My, and do comedies get any better than this? It’s told in the fashion of the films of those days, where everything happens largely in one location. I want to write such a film soon.
The Ladykillers (1955). At first, I thought it was a film about hunks who ‘kill’ ladies. Then, I thought it was a film about a gang of psychopaths who go around killing ladies. I was wrong. It has a very captivating plot. A gang of thieves plan a robbery. They use an old woman’s house as their base, where they pretend to be musicians rehearsing for a performance. The old woman is an eccentric widow with a raucous parrot. The thieves think she will be a pushover, when she stumbles upon their plan. Instead, she finds herself part of the gang, to her horror.
A Shot in the Dark (1964) This is arguably the best of The Pink Panther series. I loved it more than The Pink Panther itself. Like all good comedies, the plot has a very fast pace, and like all good mysteries, it has a lot of twists and turns. I totally loved the scene in the nudist colony! Sellers gives a more interesting portrayal of the bungling French detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Though I’ve come to respect him as an actor, I found it disturbing that in this film, he forced the producers to fire one director, and then he did not get along well with the replacement director. They even stopped talking to each other. I don’t like it when actors become too big for the director, however good the actor is. He should have directed the film himself.
The Mouse That Roared (1959) The premise of this film is a weird one. A small country, smaller than even Uganda, invades the United States, and wins the war. I’ve fantasised about such a thing happening in real life, and i’ve had delusions of being a general who leads the war against the US. After all the trouble they have caused in the world, it would be nice to have someone whack them (not some cowardly terrorists, but a real army to go there and kick ass and put some sense into them). In this way, this film was kind of prophetic, for many people around the world would love to the downfall of a big bully. Sellers played three roles, he was the elderly queen, the ambitious Prime Minister and the innocent, clumsy farm boy who leads the invasion. The film is packed with humour, I laughed every five minutes or so. But it’s also very entertaining. I’m yet to see an idiotic film that captures my attention the way this one did.
There are other good ones, like Dr. Strangelove, in which he played four roles, but I did not like. Maybe because it only appeals to the cold-war era. The Mouse That Roared is also based in that era, when nuclear weapons threatened the world, but its premise (attacking a bully, the US, and using war as a tool of profit) speaks to our generation as well, and will continue to be relevant long after nuclear politics are gone. He was also in Lolita, which I did not like much, maybe because the book was better, and the girl in the film did not look like an under-aged girl. The Pink Panther, which I didn’t enjoy as much as I enjoyed the ensuing one. I loved What’s New Pussycat, in which he appeared with Woody Allen, but well it wasn’t the best of Woody’s films.
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Inter-racial blues

Love Made Me Run Mad

The other day, I was looking through my archived videos of Nepal, trying to decide what to delete to create space in my backup hard drive. I found this interview of Binod, a resident of Saptari district, a man who ran mad after his love affair with an upper caste girl came to an abrupt and violent end. I came upon him by sheer luck. While making Untouchable Love, I was visiting their home to interview his younger brother, Manoj, whose affair with Parbati, an upper caste girl, had led to a war in their village when I learned that that Binod too had been involved in an inter caste affair. I thought I had struck gold. Two dalit (untouchable) brothers fall in love with upper caste girls, causing a lot of trouble in the village, hmm, the kind of stuff every storyteller would jump at.
In their village, like everywhere else in Nepal, the different castes live together. The apartheid-like system that kept ‘untouchables’ in the outskirts of society no longer exists. Children from all castes mingle freely, attend the same school, play with in the same balls, grow up together – the only thing that still exists is that they cannot enter each other’s houses, or eat from the same plate, or drink the same water. Or fall in love with each other.
The way the two brothers fell in love was very similar. Both upper caste girls were their neighbors. They went to school together and were in the same classes. Binod, being older, was first to become romantically involved with (I do not remember him mentioning her name, so I will call her) Sita. As it is with love affairs in rural Nepal, the issue of marriage came in very early in the relationship. In that country, you do not date for fun, and Binod was so serious about his girl that he went to her parents to ask for her hand in marriage.
A very foolish thing, but very brave. Of course he knew about the taboos in the society. He knew that being a Mandal (or Khanga as they are sometimes called) it was unthinkable for him to marry a girl with the name of Raut. Still, their respective families were amiable to each other. He thought he could talk to her parents, they seemed like a nice lot, more liberal in comparison to other Rauts. So he dressed in his Sunday best and paid them a visit. Her father gave him a big smile and told him he will think about it. However, hardly had Binod left their compound than the old man pounced on Sita, and beat her up thoroughly. She was imprisoned in a room for several days and tortured until she denounced her love. Then they arranged for her to marry another man, an upper caste old widower whose teeth were black and rotten from eating paan, whose saliva was now permanently a bloody red from eating paan. This was the only way her parents thought they could restore the family honor.
Binod and one of his brother’s children.
Binod was devastated. He ran mad. Totally bonkers. I do not know exactly what he did that proved how mad he was, but all the wires in his head were broken. He ended up in a mental hospital in India. He spent there several months. Whatever treatment he got seemed to work very well. He came back to Nepal a sane man. The first thing he did was burn up all the photographs of Sita, along with all the love letters she sent him. It was the only way he could fully recover his sanity. To help him fully recover, his parents arranged for him to marry another girl.

He despises his wife. He kept referring to her as ‘uneducated’ and ‘foolish’. I could discern that deep inside he still moaned for his lost love. He apparently is still in a fragile state, although eight years have passed. When his parents heard him talking about Sita, they became afraid. And very angry with me. They thought memories of Sita would make him run mad again. They ordered to stop talking about her, and threatened to throw us out of their home if we insisted on asking him about her. I was sad to let it go, but I had to agree to their demands. We spent three days with them family, and I never saw Binod again. They must have sent him away to live somewhere else, to make sure he did not talk about Sita again. His younger brother Manoj told me the rest of the story.  

Binod’s wife in front of their home.
Parbati prepares to apply sindoor on her forehead.
It is part of the daily make up for a married woman.
Binod and Manoj’s mother with sindoor prominent on her head
a proud symbol of her marital status.
Now sisters. Binod’s wife in green, from an arranged marriage.
Parbati on the left, from a love marriage.
About one year after Binod’s affair ended in tragedy, Manoj fell in love with another Raut girl, called Parbati. Manoj was wiser. He kept his affair a total secret. Only a few friends knew about it. When they decided to get married, they did not bother telling their parents. They told no one. They simply sneaked away to a temple in Rajbiraj town, with a couple of friends as witnesses. He applied sindoor on her head and bingo, they were husband and wife. Sindoor is that red thing that you see in the parting of hair just above the forehead. It symbolizes virginity. I was told that you can rape a girl by simply applying that thing on her forehead. Well, it is like the ring in Western weddings. Once a boy applies it on a girl, it means he has deflowered her, and owns her forever. No priests needed, no fancy ceremony. Simply rub the stuff on her forehead and you are married. But they had to take a photo to prove that he had put sindooron her, that they were now married.
After the wedding, they could not go back to their homes. They went to live with Manoj’s uncle’s in a neighboring district. They thought they were safe. I won’t tell you their story because I already did in the documentary, Untouchable Love. They are the lead characters. All I’ll say is after their elopement, war broke out in the village. Ethnic cleansing. The upper caste people were fed up of the untouchables snatching away their girls, and so they decided to chase all the dalits from the village. It was violent and bloody.  
Good old Nepal, with so many stories. I cannot believe I lived there for only two years, because I came back with enough stories to last a life time. Strangely, though I’ve lived in Uganda all my life and I often fail to find what to write about. I should soon again travel again to someplace to collect more stories.
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The Troubled Children of Uganda

Street children begging in Kampala.
Broken family values is largely responsible for this.
To continue the story of the pregnant girl and the monster teacher (read it here), I agreed to be her father. She wanted to make money out of a man who had impregnated her, and she wanted me to pretend being her father. She was only fourteen years old, and I battled with my conscience over what I was doing. But I was thinking of a documentary film about the troubled children of Uganda today, about parents who fail to handle rebellious teenagers, about the breakdown of family values, which has left children at the mercy of forces beyond their control. 
I thought being this girl’s father would give me an opportunity to use the cinéma vérité technique, I being part of the story, giving the audience a candid ‘insiders’ view of the happenings. It was a scoop. A pregnant teenager. A monster teacher who preys on his students. But before I could proceed, I had to verify the pregnancy, so I suggested a test.
“What for?” the girl said. “He did me without a condom. I’m vomiting every morning. I have missed my periods. Why then should I take a test? If you don’t want to be part of the deal just tell us.”
“Don’t talk like that,” Nalongo, who got me involved in this whole saga, and who would pretend to be her mother, said. “He is right. You need to take a test to be absolutely certain.”
Tales are rife of women who pretend to be pregnant just to get the man to marry them. It had crossed my mind that this girl might just be putting up a show in order to grab money from this teacher. I did not want to be part of such a scheme. I had to be absolutely certain she was pregnant. The girl did not argue much. She agreed to take a test. I thought it would be nice to film her as she went to the pharmacy to get a testing kit, to capture the tests and her reaction to the results on video, so I ran back home and picked up my camera, but she was not impressed. 
“Do you want to put me on agataliko nfuufu?” This is a news program that relies on community reporting. They do not use any professional journalists. Anyone anywhere with a camera, even if it is on a mobile phone, can shoot anything amusing and submit it. They thus feature very absurd but entertaining stories. It put a fear on the common people, for whenever they see a camera they at once think someone is trying to make news for agataliko nfuufu
I tried to explain my purpose to this little girl  – child rights, broken family values, monster teachers, the great divide between parents and teenagers – but she could not comprehend anything. It struck me that the best place to tell her my purposes was not in the dusty street, with people casting us curious glances. I should have done it before we set off. So I shut down the camera and we walked to the pharmacy, hoping to get her to understand my purpose before she took the test.
“Why do you want to take a test?” the lady behind the counter asked the young girl, who in reply gave her a big grin and a giggle. 
Forced child labor, one of the issues I will tackle in this film.
“Well,” the girl said, “You see, I have a little goat at home and I want to know if it is pregnant.”
The pharmacist was not amused. She turned to me, her lips pursed in anger. “Did you pregnant her?”
“NO!” I screamed. “I don’t sleep with goats!”
The girl chuckled. There were several other people in the pharmacy. They overhead my protest and cast me a curious glance, as though to say ‘You protest too much!’  
“You think you can fool me with your stupid goat story?” the lady barked at me. “Aren’t you ashamed to sleep with little girls? She’s young enough to be your daughter! Are there no old women for you to play with?” 
The anger on her face indicated that she had not been laid for a really long time. She was the bulky type – extra big breasts, too big that they looked like she had stuffed herself with a lot of clothing to make them look that big. Her waist line indicated she had given birth ten times or more. She looked over forty, though with her size it was hard to tell. Since I have a perverted writer’s mind, I started to imagine what it would be like for a man to mount a trailer-like being like this one. Will he be able to find her hole, or will he poke the area around her thighs and think he has found it? Won’t she squash him if she went on top? Will the bed break because of too much vibration from this giant? She reminded me of a horror film I once saw, in which a band of youth found a monstrous, vampire animal in bed and it seduced them into banging her. Of course, every boy who had sex with her turned into a vampire. As I stood there looking at her, I did imagine that she could be a great character for a horror-erotic tale.
“Are you jealous?” the girl asked her.
“Me? Jealous? Of what?”

“You are already old,” the girl said. “Why should you be jealous that I’m getting a lot of it while men ignore you?” I clamped my palm on her mouth, but she wriggled away and continued to taunt the woman. “You are old and shapeless! No man can enjoy you! Don’t be jealous of me! I’ll give you advice. Use bananas. They are better than men and they don’t make you pregnant!”

The pharmacy suddenly fell silent. Everyone turned to the girl. The woman was puffing up in anger and I was sure she would explode like a pricked balloon. As bad luck would have it, a policeman walked into the shop as that very moment, and the fat woman at once shouted at him.
“Ah! You came at the right time officer! This man has defiled and impregnated this young girl!”
Next thing I knew, I was in Seeta police post, facing a uniformed officer who had such a huge belly that he was not able to button his shirt. He left it hanging open, a dirty looking vest concealing his obscene tummy. An odor wafted from his armpits, but luckily, a ceiling fan blew it out of the window so I did not have to suffer like the characters in The Felistas Fable.  
“You will go to jail for seven years,” the policeman said. “Defilement, or sex with a minor, is a capital offense. You might even be sentenced to death.” He had introduced himself as the OC, the officer in charge of the police post. All I saw was an officer in charge of corruption. “But it depends on how you want to handle it.”
Street children ‘bounce’ past uncaring adults in Kampala.
Their tale is one of parents failing to cope with teenagers.
 “I don’t even know the girl’s name,” I said.
“Really? Then how did you seduce her? Is she a prostitute?”
“I did not seduce her!”
“So why do you want her to test for pregnancy?”
They had seen my camera. They had heard my story already, but like many other Ugandans, they do not understand the concept of a creative documentary. They asked me, ‘Which NGO is funding it?’ ‘It is for TV news? Which TV? Show us your ID.’ When I could not prove that I was working for an NGO, or any TV station, it confirmed to them my guilt.
To make matters worse, the girl had escaped. She fled the moment the cop pounced on me. I did not know her names, or where she came from. 
“We are human beings,” the policeman said. “Talk to us, we shall understand. Just kitu kidogo will be able to clear your name.”
I was so broke, having just finished making The Felistas Fable, that I could not afford the smallest of bribes, not even of ten thousand shillings for that would make me starve for two days. My only option seemed to be with Nalongo. She would testify on my behalf and save me.
But when she heard I was in police hands, she refused to come. She switched off her phone, closed her shop and vanished. She has since migrated from the area. Her flight tended to confirm my earlier suspicions that this whole thing was a scam.
So there I was, in the police station facing a fictitious crime, victim unknown. I haggled with the policemen for nearly six hours. Eventually, they let me go, but I was fifty thousand shillings poorer. I cursed all the way back home. I had lost enough money to feed me for five days. 
The street child rapper, Razor Blade, performing in a night club
Still, the incident sowed the seeds of a story. I then proceeded to find other characters, and so far I have a street child who wants to be a music star. He is a talented rapper who goes by the names Razor Blade. He ran away from home following a disagreement with his parents. I have not yet got the full story, but it surely fits the theme of broken families and parent-teenager disconnect in Uganda today. 
And the time spent in the police post was not entirely wasted. I heard about two other pregnant girls (one also by her teacher, the other by a fellow teenager). If I play my cards well, one of them will end up in the film. I hope it is the girl who got defiled by her teacher.
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