Collectively: Maisha Film Lab

Filmmakers speaking around a table

Countries Produced and Featured: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda

Oscar-nominated director Mira Nair founded Maisha, which means ‘life’ in Kiswahili, with the motto, “If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.” Since 2004, the collective has funded more than 700 participants from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda producing more than 75 short films.

A conversation with filmmakers Mira NairFibby Kioria, and Zipporah Kimundu follows the screening.

A Fork, a Spoon, and a Knight
Mira Nair and  Zippy Kimundu
2014 | 13 min | Uganda

After surviving the loss of his mother and his house as a child, Robert Katende is now the coach of an internationally recognized team of chess champions—including Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi. Coach Robert shares the inspirational story of his life and his village.

Rastasophical Mood
Arnold Aganze (Zizuke Zigashane)
2013 | 13 min | Uganda

A story of a former child soldier Arnold Aganze from Congo who finds himself in Uganda. Arnold tries to integrate into the Ugandan community but discovers that he cannot. He is trying to come to terms with his past, a dark story from the time when the civil war in Congo had spilled over into his village in South Kivu. Now he only feels safe with people who, like him, have lived through a violent past. Eventually Arnold meets with a man from Kampala’s Rasta community, a community that has lived through exclusion and isolation. Finally Arnold feels he has met his family.

My Prison Diary 
Patricia Olwoch
2014 | 8 min | Uganda

Patricia Olwoch is in love with a man serving three consecutive life sentences in a prison in the United States. For her, born and raised in exile, displacement has become a fact of life. Perhaps her letters to her love give her some sense of stability and home, or perhaps they keep her imprisoned too, and unable to move forward.

Created in the Image of God
James King Bagyenzi
2014 | 9 min | Uganda

Mental illness often carries a stigma in Uganda—a reality challenged by this touching account of a family torn apart by schizophrenia. A younger brother remembers his joyous youth with his big sister; how, on the verge of self-discovery, they felt nothing could stop them. Now, with his sister institutionalized, he is feeling the loss of that relationship, and the need to begin again on his own.

Somebody Clap for Me 
Luciana Farah
2011 | 10 min | Uganda

“Get off the beat, remain with the words, and see what you have.” That is Abass Hassan Muhammad’s advice to the young hip-hop artists in Kampala, Uganda. Explore the resources available to young Ugandan poets: crowds at their open mics, passionate discussion in poetry circles, a community forming of poets and poetry lovers.


Learn more about Collectively at the Mead