If you’ve got a story to tell, tell it from your heart. That’s the motto upheld by media production company Dilstories, because telling your story can change lives. You open up topics for discussion and appeal to your audience’s imagination. Dilstories, an initiative taken by Dilman Dila, trains young and emerging Ugandans in filmmaking. This gives them the skills to share their stories with a broader audience.
High-quality films using limited resources
From a young age, Dilman wanted to become a filmmaker, but living in a small village far from the city meant he didn’t have access to any arts programmes. In his late twenties, he moved to the city and got an opportunity to study art. He soon discovered that the courses focused on traditional film techniques. Yet these techniques are expensive, highly specialised and therefore largely unsuitable for Ugandan society. Dilman began experimenting with other technologies and was soon producing high-quality films using limited resources such as his mobile phone. Eager to pass this knowledge on to others, he founded Dilstories Film School, as a non-profit initiative under Dilstories.
Building a career
Following a two-year practical course, Dilstories trains young people to produce high-quality films using limited resources, and provides them with paid internship opportunities. Throughout the country, the organisation set up self-sufficient film units that could help each other across a network. Thanks in part to support from the DOEN Foundation, the training programme will soon include a new element. Planning to pitch a pilot episode to local TV stations, the talented, advanced filmmakers will be cooperating to develop a TV series. The idea is to then produce the series as part of their traineeship, providing them with practical experience.
Creating an impact through storytelling
Dilstories gives the participants an opportunity to earn an income through telling their stories. At the same time, audiences get to see stories they can identify with. They stimulate the imagination and open up discussions surrounding important issues. Mwaka Samuel Baptist, a student at Dilstories, believes it’s important to create an impact through storytelling: “I aim to use the skills I’ve acquired to document positive aspects of our culture to impact society favourably.”
More than just a hobby
In Uganda, initiatives like this are important because freedom of expression is under threat. What’s more, in rural areas, the film industry is considered a hobby rather than a proper job. Dilstories therefore emphasises the practical nature of the training while focusing on how participants can find employment or start their own business. Lubangakene Gard Willis, a former student at Dilstories, now runs his own production company. Lubangakene: “My life took a complete U turn and I’m now on the right path to pursuing a career in film.”