With a creative portfolio as eclectic as his, Jordan Sekatawa has built overtime a storytelling empire that is set to change how Africa is perceived, but for the young film maker, there’s still a lot of work to do back home.
Home is his birth home in Uganda, a place that he has a special connection to. “I love living in the U.S. but my heart has never left Uganda,” he confides.
The journey towards Jordan Sekatawa’s visual empire started with making beats, a pastime that slowly ventured into video making for songs that he produced.
“I started out producing music for upcoming artists in my basement. We would basically grab beats from YouTube, drop them in FL studio, record some vocals and make a song. At this time I was still a child and this was just a hobby. As time went on, we realized that we needed to create videos for the songs that we record that’s when I started thinking about videos. That summer my cousins from Denmark came in to visit and we recorded a song “Big” and that’s when I first shot a video. I enjoyed making videos and dropped making music to concentrate on videos entirely,” he explains.
Like many Africans in the diaspora there is a burning desire to rework the exaggerated narrative of Africa that the western world has devised. Jordan Sekatawa’s work on a new documentary film that he calls Uganda We Rise’ is his take on that mission.
“Uganda We Rise is a documentary film I am creating to shed a positive light on young Ugandans. International media has always portrayed Africa in a light that is not positive. The part they don’t show is that of young Africa’s rising to the occasion to create their own futures,” he offers.
This documentary, which is currently in its GoFundMe stage, will spotlight the journey of young entrepreneurs at different stages of their careers and analyze how they are changing the narrative, inspite of rising challenges.
His objective for ‘Uganda We Rise’ is wrapped in nobility and he explains it simply, “When the film is done I hope people all over can see the potential in Uganda.”
On whether analyzing a third world situation from the other side of the continent can blur the true perspective of the issues on ground, Jordan Sekatawa doesn’t completely agree with that line of reasoning.
“I wouldn’t say I am the best person because I believe with everything in life there are always people that can do it better, but the reality is they are not. I don’t have big funding, I don’t have a big team or big support but I do have me. I am not going to wait until I have everything to start. With that said I believe having lived in the US for 10 years gives me a unique perspective because I have seen both worlds.”
Jordan Sekatawa has a unique connection to his home in Uganda and to filmmakers in particular, and his move to create an alignment with his African home and his new one in the US has sparked up a series of local projects to that effect.
“Uganda We Rise is my first big project in Uganda so I have not had many opportunities to work with local filmmakers. In the past I have been sourcing gear from the US to Ugandan filmmakers. Moving forward we have several projects aligned with filmmakers. My overall goal is create a bridge between the US and Uganda so that Ugandan filmmakers can earn more for the content.”
A look at Jordan’s body of work shows a propensity towards music videos, a creative space that he seems to have mastered.
“Music is in my blood, I actually started out doing music, gospel music before I move to music videos. I concentrate more on music videos and wedding films because that’s something I am passionate for as well”
On creative collaborations, Jordan Sekatawa surprisingly favours one storyteller to work with on a project.
“I admire the work of Loukman Ali, a filmmaker from Uganda. His work in the film “the girl in the yellow jumper” was incredible and I hope to work with him in the future.”
A typical filming day for any storyteller requires managing a lot of moving parts in realtime, something Jordan seems to have mastered overtime.
“On shooting day I typically start prepping the set, unpacking gear and meeting with the entire cast. I spend some time just chatting with the cast on how the day will flow and everyone’s expectations. After that I will begin shooting the necessary shots. Once done we receive the shots and move on to the next location and repeat the process if needed, if not we will wrap up and it will be time to edit,” he explains.
Jordan Sekatawa has invested about 10 years in the craft and with an investment that profound, he knows a thing or two that will help budding filmmakers create better visuals.
“Work diligently because it takes time. That would be my advice. When it comes to filmmaking it really comes down to building skill and creativity. The more you work the better you get at it, “he advises.
Jordan Sekatawa’s story can be aptly summarized in the adage that says, ‘you can take the boy out of the fight, but you can’t take the fight out of the boy.’
Inspite of his growing global success in the US, Jordan carries a passion for African creators who are pushing the African narrative.
“We need to encourage African creators that are changing the image of Africa.”
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here