Dilman Dila

Filmmaking

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, ...
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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 ...
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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. LEAD ROLES MAGGIE (late twenties, early thirties): She has a bachelor’s degree in commerce, but became a hair dresser on failing to ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. http://mattrobertewens.wordpress.com/ 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Who Will Tell this Tale?

A few years back, I used to have a certain kind of anger against foreigners who came to Uganda (and by extension other ‘poor’ countries) to make films. “Who gives them the right to tell our stories?” me and other filmmakers/artists would ask ourselves in our silly workshops. “They are only going to misrepresent us.” “They only tell negative stories that stereotype us in pictures of poverty, sickness and war.” The search for love, motivated me to tell Ranjana’s story. She is in the photo below, with greenish sari. Then, I went to Nepal. It’s a story I’ve told over ...
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Speechless

I have no words. I once read this story in the New Vision, and I heard a call to make a social action documentary, about how the government of Uganda ignores certain diseases, and focuses on diseases that donors say it should focus on. They pour money into TB, AIDS, Malaria, and now on maternal health – and yet being pregnant is not even a disease! It’s 100% natural, but (okay, that’s for another story) – there are sicknesses that are killing Ugandans, and no one is doing anything about it. Like DMD, duchenne muscular dystrophy, a terrible killer. It’s ...
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After one week of shooting The Felistas Fable

I already wrote about it earlier, in the post “I suffer to entertain you.” But after one week of trying to make the film, The Felistas Fable, I just can’t help but to write about it again. The pains of film making — you go through a lot of pain to raise money for the film, and you go through worse pain to make the film. You will think you are ready, but you reach on the shooting day and you realize you are not ready at all.   Veronica Namanda Kiwanuka, playing the lead role, Felistas. I am lucky ...
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This is not funny! It’s a horror!

It seems a life time ago, yet it was only 2006. I was nearing my thirtieth birthday, and I had failed to make it as a novelist. I had to rethink my future, my ambitions, either give up on the dream or breath new life into it. I chose the latter. I set my sights on making films. This is a story I’ve told many times before, and I don’t want to repeat it here, but December 2006 is the time I directed my first film. A one minute movie that I wanted to be a horror. An old fashioned ...
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What Will I Do Before I Die?

A bucket list? That list of things I must do before I die? — I do not remember at any point in my life making such a list, but sometime during my teenage years, an insane desire to write novels gripped me, and this flared into a ridiculous quest to make a living out of telling stories. So I guess the cliché items on my bucket list would be things like “get published,” “win an Oscar,”get really famous like Werner Herzog.” But the nightmare of trying to get a decent break makes those ambitions rather childish. To live a quiet ...
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Open Fly at the Airport

Last week, I got an email from the most important documentary film festival, www.idfa.nl. They accepted my first feature length piece of work, Untouchable Love, in their Docs for Sale section. How I wish I had finished it in time to meet the deadline for the main festival! (I’m reading this in October 2017, as I rework this blog, and I laugh at how naive I was. Docs for Sale, haha! I’ll write about that in another blog.) Well, when some people hear that I was in Nepal (overseas!) for two years making a film, their first thought is that I got a lot ...
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Working like a slave 🙁

Feeling too tired to write anything. Blame it all on this current job. Why do we have to work at all? Why can’t we just lie on the beach and wait for manna to fall from heaven to feed us? Why can’t we just dream and get rich from it? Why do mean people like Trump get rich while I have to sweat it every single day of my life? — Oh life really sucks! Isn’t this kind of life marvelous? Listening to music, book in your laps, as you loll on rocks in the middle of River Nile Some ...
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I Suffer to Entertain You

Recently, I got a job directing the NTV Series, “The Hostel.” So far, it is the most demanding job I’ve ever met, so unlike anything I’ve ever done. Honestly, for a moment or two, I keep wondering just what it is I’ve gotten myself into. It is the first project where I will not be totally in control of the whole process—someone else decides what the story is, who the actors are, and who makes up the crew—and yet I’m the kind who prefers total freedom to do as I please while crafting a story. Moreover, this is a production ...
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Strange Stories of Adultery

Last week, I wrote about “The Secret Life of Adulterers,” as I reminisced about the first major film I made, What Happened in Room 13. Some suggest it’s the finest short film ever made in Uganda, a masterpiece, but it’s mostly because of the Oscar-deserving performance of the actors. Richard Tuwangye on stage, with Fun Factory They are famous comedians in Kampala. Richard Tuwangye, Ann Kansime, Veronica Namanda, Gerald Rutaro and Bugingo Hannington, famous names from the famous Fun Factory. At the time of making Room 13, I was inexperienced. They, however, did a great job of making the script ...
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The Secret Life of Adulterers

A man sneaks into a seedy hotel room. Moments later, his best friend’s wife joins him. Just as they start to make love, an accident kills her. And now he has to hide the body in order to keep his adulterous affair a secret. That’s the premise of what some say is my masterpiece, What Happened in Room 13, which I made in 2007 under the Maisha Film Lab. It’s an 18-minute thriller with no dialog. Watch it here! Free! Someone once asked me a question that writers find so ridiculous: “Where did you get that idea?” I equate it ...
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Happy-sad to be back home

Finally, I’m back home. I don’t know if I’m happy or sad. Maybe both. I returned at a period when the economy is in crisis. Inflation is soaring and the value of the shilling is on free fall. I can’t believe how expensive life is here, how much I pay for transport, for basic commodities, and it makes me wonder how people survive. It makes me scratch my head how I’m going to survive these tough times, seeing that I have to start from scratch. Before going to Nepal, I gave away everything I owned. I carried my valuables in ...
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My Friend is a Prostitute

This is a goodbye Nepal post. It’s been almost twenty hectic months. Now, three documentaries later, I’m finally going home. Today, I have a screening of one of the three docs, a feature length – my first feature length piece of work – Untouchable Love. Read about it here http://untouchablelovenepal.blogspot.com/ and follow the cause on facebook http://www.facebook.com/Untouchable.Love.Nepal This documentary is the reason I came to Nepal. Late in 2008, I had rashly quit a day job to try and make a living in film making. Within two months, I discovered I had committed suicide. And then the girl I was ...
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My Favourite Inter-racial Movies

“Mississippi Masala” (1991) I like this one very much. It’s a beautiful story, makes you believe in love, and many say it’s the first time that Denzel Washington undressed and kissed in a movie! I put it at the top of my favorite inter-racial movies partly because it deals with a Ugandan family (and I’m Ugandan) – but mostly because it’s a relationship between a black man (me) and an Asian woman (my girlfriend) 😮 The other thing is that the director, Mira Nair, founded a film training school in Uganda, www.maishafilmlab.org and through this school I learnt a lot ...
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Real Life Quoting the Movies

The first time I tried watching Good Will Hunting, I didn’t get past the first thirty minutes. Mostly because I at first imagined it had something to do with hunting and I was disappointed on learning it was some boring stuff about mathematics. But I heard a lot about it, how great a film it was, and then this evening I watch it, and well, it’s okay. Very well done. And some of the lines from it make me want to see it over and over again, just to listen to these words, for in a way I’ve never felt ...
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Is Ejaculate a Taboo Word?

Funny thing I noticed while reading Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – a book I wish I had read while I was much younger. It’s such fun, with such a sense of humor that I wonder why I have never been encouraged to read it until now? I only picked it off the shelves the other day because of the animated film. I found a friend watching it, the last bit of it anyway, and was so intrigued that I thought the book would be as good. Normally, I know movies are not half as good as the books ...
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The Return of Uncle Benon

This is a big step forward. I like it. I like the narration. Bravo gentlemen, and I particularly like that they are calling it kinauganda. Best brand name you can ever think of! — You May Also Like: first day shooting the quiet before the storm Read My Short Stories and the edit begins The Pains of Documentary Making Watch My Films stunned ...
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One of Those Gloomy Days

I thought they were gone, but today I woke up feeling real down. After a week of making a ton of grant applications, I can’t help feeling down. The problem with applying for grants is that it makes you feel like a beggar, and for people who have low self-confidence (blame it on the upbringing!) once that kind of feeling sets in your moods start to go down. This confidence thing, it’s really not anything I can do anything about it. It’s like some people will laugh at the slightest tickle, others will cry at the slightest pain, others will ...
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Do You Believe in the Love of the Silver Screen?

Well, I watched this brilliant movie, ‘Definately, Maybe’, the other day, and it’s these kinds of movies that make me wonder if love of that kind is found in everyday life. The same people who made it were behind ‘Love Actually’, which is one of my favourite movies, and which inspired me to attempt writing a TV series called ‘The Total Agony of Being in Love’. One of the characters, a 12year old boy, does say he is in the total agony of being in love because a girl he wants doesn’t even look at him, or something like that ...
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The Pains of Documentary Making

Yesterday, one of the young men I interviewed for the documentary, Untouchable Love, called me. I was happy, and wanted to learn a little bit of news from him, since I had not heard from them since October, when I did the interviews. I had tried to call him a few days back, but he was not available near the phone and his younger brother must have passed on the news to him. Shooting part of the documentary, Untouchable Love, in Surkhet district, Nepal, one cold morning. Well, it turned out to be a not so interesting conversation, because he ...
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Operation go Back Home!

Yesterday, we celebrated the end of the winter season, and the start of spring. It is supposed to get warmer, and I thought today there would be some sunshine so I can wash my clothes, but I opened my windows and f!, all gray, with mists hanging above the ground, sneaking between the branches of the trees and swirling around the clothes hanging on the neighbors wire, more like a scene in some ghost film. At least it isn’t as cold as it was just last week, it’s only 11 degrees. 🙂 Well, now I’m in the mood of going ...
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Close Encounters of What Kind?

Just watched that Spielberg movie, and while the first bit was a thriller, the ending was so stupid. Well, I was left wondering why he made the film in the first place, just to show an encounter? Just for this bum to get to go to space? I didn’t like the ending because we got no explanation of what happened to the people who went to space, or why the aliens came in the first place, or what was the meaning of that stupid song that was supposed to be the means of communicating with the aliens? I wish I ...
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Cakes at 3am

I woke up with a burning urge to write a story about a man pursuing a girl who bakes cakes – he is working at his desk when he catches the scent of cakes in the air, and he follows it to the next office where he finds this girl delivering birthday cake to a client, and without even knowing her names, or anything about her, he asks her to marry him. Apparently, this guy had spent a long time in a culture where — oh crap! I’m not writing all that BS here 🙂 Anyway, I had to fight ...
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Becoming a Native?

I can’t believe I asked a girl who I’ve never met to marry me! I mean the only reason I have a crush on her is because she is my first ever fan, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, what a great biography it would make!’ When some reporter asks me years later, after I’m rich and famous, ‘how did you meet your wife?’ And I will say, ‘Well, I wrote this story that knocked her stockings off without taking off her shoes…’ 🙂 Am I seriously asking her to marry me? I think I’ve stayed in Nepal too long! I speak ...
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Laughter Sells More Than Horror

Oh no! Felistas is back in my life! I was kind of hoping I would never run into her again, because I don’t like her story, but she crept back – or rather she jumped straight out of the blue and grabbed my neck and is now strangling me with a promise of success. Well, what she has done is kick out this guy who I was growing to love, this guy who is stuck on a wheel chair and runs an illegal FM radio station from his bedroom. Finally, I shot the film! here is a pic of the ...
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Another Rejection

I woke up this morning with a sense of exhaustion and that feeling you get while watching a soccer match, when the beginning is so intense and so exciting and one team goes three up, and then the last fifteen minutes they start to defend and what started out as a really exciting game finishes in a bore… well, that’s what I’m feeling like right now. I’ve basically done the filming. And the good news I got the other day is that I actually have a lot of time, and a lot of money as well, to edit it! Yessssssss! ...
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After the Storm?

Is it quiet? I think before and after the storms, there is always a strange calmness, a moment when silence grips the world like the gentle touch of a lover (what kind of imagery is that? – so crappy) Anyway, you know what I’m talking about? Well, I feel like that now. But I think I feel like the storm, who came with the wrath of the skies, and huffed and terrified the world, but after all the chaos, the storm feels like it should have done more. Destroyed a few more houses. Torn down that ugly tree. But now ...
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The Quiet Before the Storm

Now I know how sportsmen feel like just before a world cup final! I’m in that place, between inactivity and activity, between darkness and light, knowing something is going to happen, and even knowing what is going to happen, and just biding my time for it to happen. That inevitability of it all. Tuesday 5th October, the official starting date of principal photography. For the next two months, I will travel from the far west, to the (far) east, and back to the far west, shooting, and shooting, and talking in Nepali until my tongue falls off my mouth. It’s ...
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First Day Shooting

It’s been nearly two years since I had a real shooting day. The last being that fiasco, ‘Listening to Her Voice’, which I know I was doing because this girl couldn’t return the attention I showed her. I made it sort of to vent my fury? Or what was that about? And I’m probably making ‘untouchable love and flying marriages’ because I’m in a sort of soul searching moment? Trying to understand my own life, why it is so fucked up and so unlucky with regard to love? Well, only people in movies are supposed to be lucky in love, ...
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