Imani means "faith" in Swahili, a quality required to overcome the challenges of life. Set in the course of just one day, this award-winning film ventures into the lives of three characters within the diverse landscape of contemporary Uganda.
In the course of just one day, we venture into the lives of three characters within the diverse landscape of contemporary Uganda. Imani provides a refreshing look at Uganda post Idi Amin, post LRA (Lords Resistance Army).
Caroline Kamya, gives us an intimate portrait of the lives of a child soldier, a maid and a hip hop dancer living in Uganda today.
"Olweny" is a deep thinking, intense 12 year old former child soldier. A new chapter in his live begins as he starts his journey to his rural home after a few weeks of post-war rehabilitation. Is he ready to return to his family who have not seen him for over 4 years or are demons of his past going to resurface once again?
"Mary" is a strong and determined 25 year old maid who returns from her village to a wealthy suburb in the capital Kampala where she works. Family responsibilities create havoc in her daily routine forcing her to make some tough decisions that will forever affect her life.
"Armstrong" is fun loving and talented 18 year old break dancer with a turbulent background. He makes plans to return to the inner city "hood" to stage a free dance performance but skeletons from his past, surface and force him to face what he thought he had left behind.
iMANi is a visual feast of stunning worlds revealing the little known city of Kampala and the formerly war torn region of Gulu providing a unique perspective from this region of Africa.
Music is an essential ingredient in this feature and the blend of popular contemporary local language acoustic and hiphop flavours, alongside traditional African beats carries the narratives, skillfully woven together to form the tapestry of both rural and urban life in Uganda today.
"iMANi" is the debut feature film by award winning director Caroline Kamya and written by her sister, social anthropologist, Dr Agnes Kamya. "The Kamya Sisters" are the ambitious filmmaking sister act behind IMANI.
The film is in Acholi, Luganda and English, with English subtitles.
This is an exciting time for African Cinema. In East Africa specifically, cinema is now going through a renaissance with a small group of strong female directors emerging on the world stage. Their films are different from the francophone art house or the West African melodramas of "Nollywood". A new wave has come about and IMANI is a product from the "East African New Wave".
IMANI is a post hip-hop generation film. My influences reach from the great directors of the francophone African film genre (who I honor) to the esthetics of some European cinema (of which I am a great fan). African American filmmakers of the blaxploitation era have also made their mark on my work with a touch of the South American fiction film. I am a product of a global life and hence my work is deeply rooted in the land of my birth of which I am proud, is influenced by the places I have lived, the people I have met and the films I have enjoyed most. My aim is to produce a film that is a new way of making film narratives from our continent. The pacing and rhythm is very different from conventional western cinema which is very intentional. The slow moving intro to the fast juxtaposed cuts that pick up the pace in the latter sections of the film are reflective of my style of filmmaking. The use of music that is an integral part of life in Africa and in the Diaspora take centre stage in my film.
lMANI which means "faith" is so called because all title characters survive and rely on faith. The film is also a testament to the belief I have in our creativity as Ugandans. We can tell our own stories in a powerful and unique way, in our own voices. IMANI is the first feature to be filmed on a RED Camera in Uganda and also in the local languages of Luganda, and Acholi with a cast and crew of mainly inexperienced locals. In addition, for the first time the area of Gulu is captured on film by a local fiction filmmaker highlighting life after the conflict of recent years.