Durban International Film festival is one of the biggest film showcases on the continent.
It is that place where filmmakers want their projects to premiere; the festival top film critics want to attend; a film buff’s one-stop centre for networking.
In the past, Uganda has had a lacklustre representation at the 38-year-old festival; for instance, in 2015 Boda Boda Thieves was the lone Ugandan selection, while there was none in 2016.
This year, Rehema, a short film by newcomer Allan Manzi, has been selected. Rehema tells the story of a young girl in the suburbs that stands up to her Muslim guardian and resists being married off as a fourth wife to someone she does not love.
The film becomes a tragedy when someone dies, leaving Rehema to prove her innocence as her secret lover, a boda boda rider, stays with her, regardless.
Written by Usama Mukwaya, a Muslim, the film talks about things many would rather leave unsaid even today. According to Manzi, growing up in a largely Muslim community in Kawempe brought him closer to the faith and the people and is sure of the issues the film tackles.
Mukwaya carefully crafts the story without making it a deliberate attack on a faith.
Rehema boasts of amazing compositions, thanks to Alex Ireeta the director of photography; his emphasis on facial expressions easily helps one understand the story even when nothing is said.
The Durban International Film festival starts tomorrow with more than 100 feature and short documentaries and films that will be showcased in ten days.
Rehema stars Juliet Zansaanze, Raymond Rushabiro and Ismael Ssesanga.