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Deforestation Threatens Uganda's Film Industry – Filmmakers

They also fear that deforestation will push up the cost of producing their movies as preferred dense tropical rainforests and other landscapes suitable for heart throbbing movie scenes undergo encroachment and massive degradation.
Logs of Afzelia Africana Tree Species Seized From Illegal Loggers Being Loaded In Gulu Town

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Filmmakers in Gulu district are calling for an increased effort by the government to the protection of diversity in Northern Uganda. They argue that the destruction of forests is likely to hurt the tourism and creative industries alongside the culture of indigenous people.

They also fear that deforestation will push up the cost of producing their movies as preferred dense tropical rainforests and other landscapes suitable for heart throbbing movie scenes undergo encroachment and massive degradation.

Some of northern Uganda's budding movies depicting atrocities of the Lord's Resistance Army conflict have been shot in Opaka Forests, Abera Forests, Fort Patiko, Zoka Forest in Adjumani as well as the natural jungles of Amuru district.

But the forests are now endangered with degradation particularly affecting forests products considered sacred to the culture of the Acholi people. They include the Afzelia Africana (locally known as Beyo), Kwiri trees, Shea Nut Trees (yaa) and Mahogany amongst others, some of which only grow in the Northern Uganda climate.

Now, filmmakers who equate cutting down the rain forests of the region to the mutilation of their movie scripts want the government to do more to curtail illicit trade in forest products in the region as claims of corruption mar operation against deforestation.

Gatwil Lubangakene, the general secretary of a group of youth filmmakers Film256 - Gulu Club, says the region's potential for developing the creative industry is undergoing degradation from all fronts - wetlands, water sources and forests alike.

Lubangakene says they are positioning the creative industry in the region to capitalize on the wealth of cultural ancestry and the vast tourism potentials in the region. He says illegal felling down of Beyo, a culturally sacred symbolic object should be treated as a crime against humanity since it mutilates the sanctity of the culture of the Acholi people.

 

//Cue in: "Very true, very true…

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Ambrose Olaa, the Prime Minister of Acholi Chiefdom says some scared cultural sites in Aswa Ranch have been degraded by illegal loggers. He says restoring such sites is too costly to the chiefdom.

 Martin Nyeko, the chairperson of Film256 Gulu Club says preserving diversity in the region is critical to the growth of the film industry as well as tourism.

 

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According to Nyeko, the government should do more to protect the backbone of the tourism industry, the environment from destruction by investing in some of the unexploited potentials in Northern Uganda.

 

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According to the National Forestry Authority, the most degradation forests are on private land where local governments wield majority powers of protection.