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About: Uganda newspaper articles

Sat, 24 May 97 09:24:00 PDT

Originally from: <>
Originally dated: Sat, 24 May 97 09:24:00 PDT

Here is a copy of a couple articles from The New Vision,
May 2 1997, Kampala, Uganda

There is a lot of hype about fame and fortune in the film industry which
tends to over-shadow all the sweat that goes with it
By Kalungi Kabuye
John Riber was in his third year at the University of Iowa before he
discovered he wanted to become a film maker. He had been drifting around,
not very sure about what he wanted to do or where he wanted to go. "It was
not till my third year that I discovered there was really nothing much I
could do, and had no idea what I could," he said. "After a bit of soul
searching, I decided to go into films. So I changed from a sociology major
to film making." After the degree he focused on the technology because he
wanted a thorough understanding of how a camera and laboratories work. From

university, Riber worked for two years in a camera laboratory so he could
have a full understanding of the business. He then bought a camera, and
took off to India with his wife and a six-months-old baby. "It was crazy
because we did not have any money, but worked as volunteers for some
religious groups," he recalls. "We were really broke and did not even have
a return ticket to the States. It was insane, but I remember feeling very
comfortable, like there was no problem." Word got around, however, one
thing led to another, and the first real job he got, he insisted on a return

ticket to the States as part of the contract.

Riber is a long way from those days of working for no money and a ticket
home. He had several successful films under his belt, including, More Time
and It's Not Easy, which was filmed in Uganda in 1990. He also made the
critically acclaimed film Neria, and Consequences, which, according to
Riber, is the most widely shown film in Africa. It has since been
translated into eight languages.

Fresh from the biggest job in his career, the US $ 500,000.00 (Shs. 500m)
budget Everybody's Child, which will premier in Uganda on May 22, 1997 at
the Plaza Theater, he is in Uganda to shoot a serialized TV drama for DISH
(Delivery of Improved Services for Health), A Time To Care.

An American, John Riber was born in 1955 in India to missionary parents. He

spoke the local Santali language before he spoke English, and had to take
special lessons in English before he could go to boarding school. He spent

most of his childhood among the tea estates of North-east India, near
Bhutan, till he was eighteen years old. Riber did not fit into life in the
US easily and, after graduation in 1979, the first thing he did was to head
back to India, where he begun his film-making career. It was not easy

"Film making is not easy, contrary to what most people might think," he told

The New Vision. "There is a lot of hype about fame and fortune in the film
industry, which tends to overshadow all the sweat that goes with it."
According to Riber, the hardest thing about film-making is to first get the

money. He said that 90% of the work involves convincing prospective
financiers. "You have to sell the idea before making a film," he said. "You

need to have a clear concept of what you are trying to do and how you are
going to do it. Once you have gotten the money, film-making itself is easy.

There is a lot of hard work, of course, and a lot of sweat, but that part
is fun anyway."

Riber's wife, Louise, does the editing of his films, and wrote the
screenplay for the popular film Neria. The family, which includes three
children, lives in Zimbabwe, where they moved in 1986. So, how does a
film-maker look at life? "We are all film makers in our minds," he said,
"and we imagine all kinds of stories and concepts. First there is a dream
which you visualize in your mind, and then on the first day of the shoot you

have to tell people to start work, and set up lights and all that. At first

it can be very difficult and frightening, but after it is all over and you
have the final product, it amazes you."

John Riber does not know if he will ever get an Oscar Award, but he knows
exactly what he will say. "Spike Lee said that he knew it would happen
sooner or later, that he was just glad it happened sooner than later," Riber

said. "If it happened to me, I would say I am just glad it happened later
than sooner."
By Kalungi Kabuye
The difficulties of childbirth, relations and deaths in a rural Uganda
village are some of the sub-themes of a dramatic television series filmed in

Uganda last week by internationally acclaimed film maker John Riber. A Time

To Care was filmed totally on location in Uganda by Riber, who also made the

films Consequences, More Time, It's Not Easy, Neria, and Everyone's Child.
Uganda's Paul Bakibinga is the co-director.

Set in a rural village, A Time To Care stars Susan Nalwoga as Mirembe, a
young woman who, having just watched her sister die during child-birth,
discovers she is also pregnant. Andrew Nkuyahaga plays Kato, her husband
who is reluctant to let her go to a clinic for ante-natal care. It tells
the story of a young couple in love, and the joys and fears leading to the
birth of their first child. Other members of the cast include Irene
Kulabako, Charles Mulekwa, Prossy Kankunda, and Pamela Nabwire. Mike Wawuyo
is in charge of make-up and costumes, while the script was written
by Elaine Eliah and Susan Mugizi.

According to John Riber, the story is told through a series of episodes,
with the first two concerning maternal health care. The next two episodes
will deal with HIV counseling. "This is going to be a drama, like a
soap-opera," Riber said. "We are creating characters and a whole community,

to produce a serialized drama." He revealed that each episode will be 30
minutes long, and what he has filmed this time will produce two of them. He

plans to come back in June to film another two.

The series have been commissioned by DISH (Delivery of Improved Services for

Health) and fully funded by USAID. It came as a result of research in the
availability of maternal health care to women, which found that maternal
mortality rates in Uganda are among the highest in the world, with rural
deaths reaching 600 per 100,000 deaths. The leading causes are infections,
hemorrhage, ruptured uterus and eclampsia. DISH's Jennifer Ssengendo
revealed that they commissioned the film to teach the rural woman about
maternal health care.

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