The HOSTEL: A new TV drama series brings new Hope to Uganda’s Film Industry.
Were you wondering what former Daily Monitor Managing Director Conrad Nkutu has been up to?
Wonder no more. He is now making films. Good films, with his Fast Track Productions. This February 23, Nkutu’s first baby, The Hostel will premiere on NTV Uganda. The miniseries will be screened every Wednesday to Saturday, with repeats on Sundays.
The comedy-drama will have two 90-day seasons with a two-month break between seasons. So what makes The Hostel different?
Based on the endless hopes, fears, struggles, frustrations, pressures and challenges that affect students at higher institutions of learning especially those that reside in hostels, the uniqueness of this miniseries lies in the way the director, Kwezi Kaganda meets its demands.
Contrary to many Ugandan productions that are based on theatre style acting, The Hostel calls for contemporary professional acting which is executed almost to the book.
The cast of 10 features eight freshmen at university, who have all been admitted to New Edge Hostel.
Jasper Odoch played by comedian Patrick Omara is the main character and most interesting.
He hails from Gulu, is the funniest of the bunch and is constantly courting controversy. Patra played by HB Toxic’s Hellen Lukoma is the girl every campus girl wants to be: she is the alpha female who has it all, the looks, money and to her image is everything.
Only that her life is controlled by her father, just like most wannabe kids at school. Twine, Odoch’s roommate played by Richard Tuwangye is the typical campus geek affected by urban shock, believes women are inferior but chases after them anyway though he doesn’t have the guts to take them to bed.
Hope, Patra’s roommate played by Eleanor Val Nansibo is that savedee roommate who has her life mapped out. Like many savedees at campus, she starts backsliding and gives in to the pressures of life.
Annette played by Diana Kahunde is the “mother hen”; the one always caring for others. Sobba played by Fan Factory’s Isaac Kuddzu is the best supporting actor.
He is the caretaker of the hostel who is fighting a drinking problem thus his ironic nickname. He spies on everyone and easily takes bribes.
Then there is Kitty (Tibba Muringi) and Jessica (Pamela Keryeko) who act as Patra’s handbags, they are the ordinary campus girls who cling to the famous kids just to get some recognition of their own.
Then there is Gilbert (Mathew Nabwiso) and Alma (Dickson Zizinga), the so called “working class” guys who have left campus. They have the money, cars and are good at confusing campus girls. Nabwiso really pulls off the bad boy charm thing so well.
This is a show that will open every parent’s eyes about what their children do in hostels and will also make many campusers have second thoughts on the decisions they make.
Kaganda admits that it wasn’t easy getting these characters to fit the production but a sneak peek into what The Hostel has to offer, leaves one satisfied. The lighting, screen play and camera shots are done so right, while the blending is spot on.
It’s not done in the preachy or documentary type of way like most productions which want to send a message against such tendencies. The delicate way in which cross generational sex and Aids are tackled is perfect.
And that is not all; the subtle way in which the sponsors of the show are handled is something film producers in Uganda should start doing.
The advertisers are blended into the production, as opposed to throwing them in your face, Housing Finance, Mountain Dew and MTN are the sponsors and the cast exclusively uses their products.
There are Housing Finance calendars in all the rooms, all the actors drink Mountain Dew and are all on the MTN network.
Martin Kintu the joint Managing Director of Fast Track Productions the company behind the miniseries says, “The concept of campus life provides endless creative twists and plot development that will ensure suitability of the show.”
On set in Mutungo where we got a sneak preview, I gave the production a thumbs up; you tell me your verdict when you watch the first episode.