Filming on location in Uganda, East Africa




When planning a film production in Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya Tanzania and Zanzibar it is crucial that you engage the services of local film fixers to handle the applications of film permits, location permits, press accreditation (temporary work permits for international film crew), assistance with visa application and temporary import of film gear. The local film fixers will also handle budget negotiation with local suppliers to ensure that costs come in at local prices. Then there is a list of do’s and don’ts when filming on location. In this article Hoodlum Film Fixers with share these insights and very important tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable film experience in this region.


Greeting Culture & Etiquette

Perhaps the single most crucial point to grasp in Uganda’s cultures and local etiquette is the social importance of formal greetings.

Rural Ugandans, like other Africans, tend to greet each other elaborately. If you want to make a good impression on somebody who speaks English, whether they be a waiter or a shop assistant (and especially if they work in a government department), you will do well to follow suit. When you need to ask for directions, it is rude to flounder directly blunder straight into detective mode without first exchanging pleasantries.

Most Ugandans speak some English, but the Swahili greeting “Jambo” or Luganda “Oli otya” delivered with a smile and a nod of the head will be adequate for those who don’t.

Eye Contact

Generally, Ugandans prefer indirect eye contact when communicating with anyone considered of higher social status or foreigner. This doesn’t mean you can’t you at them directly, but continuous eye contact during conversations is not a must.

Some Ugandans may consider overly direct eye contact aggressive, especially rural women and children who will look down or away when communicating with men, elders, or foreigners.

Displaying Emotions Publicly

Most Ugandans are not comfortable displaying emotions publicly unless it’s during a public moment like a celebration or in the event of death. Specifically, Ugandans will scowl upon public display of affection for members of the opposite sex like holding hands, embracing, or kissing publicly.

Oddly, it is pretty standard for friends of the same sex to walk hand-in-hand publicly. Don’t be surprised when a close Ugandan friend reaches out for your hand and grips it a few minutes into your long discussion. It’s a warm gesture, one notably considered appropriate to bring a disagreeable point home.

Using The Right Hand

One of the critical Uganda travel culture etiquette to note is the Islamic element in Ugandan society, particularly in Kampala. It is insulting to use your left hand to pass or receive something or shake hands (a custom adhered to in many parts of Africa that aren’t Muslim).

If you eat with your fingers, it is also customary to use the right hand only. Even those naturally left-handed will occasionally need to remind themselves of this. It may happen, for instance, that you are carrying something in your right hand and so hand money to a shopkeeper with your left. Move anything you have in your left hand and use your right hand.

Views on Time

In most situations, Ugandans are not overly concerned with doing something, and being in a place at the agreed or proper time. You should expect an ordinary Uganda to arrive at an agreed location within the first hour or two after the appointed time.

The higher the social status of the person, the more they’re likely to lax about timekeeping. This king of Uganda culture is prevalent at more prestigious events like weddings and conferences, and it also applies to social and business meetings. It’s considered typical Ugandan culture to lie about time by adding an extra hour or winding your clock to an hour ahead of the agreed time.

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Hoodlum Films is a production service facility with its main focus on providing fixing and location scouting services.