Since Matt Bish released State Research Bureau (SRB) almost ten years ago, a lot has changed with the local film industry.
The Ugandan government courtesy of the Uganda Communications Commission has since started a film festival and through Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice awards, Uganda has at least bagged a continental film accolade.
Recently, at the plush Victoria hall of Serena hotel, Bish premiered probably his most ambitious project yet, with a star-studded cast, promising trailer and career-firsts for some in his cast.
The film was Cinderella Sanyu alias Cindy’s very first time acting and its selling point as many were curious about her; true to her artistry, she puts up a spirited performance which made many believe that regardless of how the movie fares, it may have opened doors for the dancehall artiste.
Bella is a simple Cinderella story; in fact, besides meeting Prince Charming, it is a mirror of many rags- to-riches tales just that this particular one is told with a musical string to it.
It tells the story of a girl that leaves the village after her impossible father (Abby Mukiibi) has allegedly killed her mother during a fight. Together with another child, they jump onto a track to the city whose streets they stay on until they are separated by death.
The girl grows into a woman on the streets, going around asking for food and at times singing for it. It is a music-driven story with a girl that uses her voice to survive a cruel city.
And Cindy was amazing throughout; she managed to make the audience forget her dancehall self to appreciate and buy the emotions of Bella.
“I received the script almost a year before we started shooting. I read it and understood it,” she had earlier told The Observer.
Being a first-time actor, she embarked on acting classes.
“I was still intimidated by the cast, these were all professionals and yet I was supposed to be the lead.”
Bella’s strongest point is brilliant photography executed by actor-turned-photographer Pryce Joel Okuyo, and the strong cast that also features Simon Base Kalema, Stella Nantumbwe, Roger Mugisha and Judith Heard, among others.