This year’s Uganda Film Festival (UFF) is officially on! The week-long event which showcases local films opened with the screening of the feature film Veronica’s Wish at Century Cinemax on Acacia Mall in Kampala on Monday evening.

The movie is a love drama about a young couple Michael (Mushema Housen) and Veronica (Nisha Kalema) who are hit by misfortune. The couple is planning their wedding when Veronica begins to develop symptoms of a strange illness. At first, the symptoms are brushed off as signs of an early pregnancy, but soon a visit to the hospital reveals the pregnancy was a false alarm.

From there on, her life is never the same again. Because of the sporadic passing outs, incessant headaches and nausea, it becomes regular visits to the hospital. However, the tests continue to return negative.

It is when she goes for specialized treatment at an Indian-owned clinic outside of Kampala that she is finally diagnosed with cancer in its late stages. This leaves her depressed and further causes a strain on her relationship.

With just three months to live, Veronica must choose between love or saving lives.

Some of the other nominees for this year's festival
Some of the other nominees for this year’s festival

Directed by Rehema Nanfuka, it is a love story interlaced with a message of cancer as a silent killer. This was reechoed by Kalema, who also serves as the movie producer and writer, shortly after the movie had screened.

“Cancer is becoming a disease we are taking lightly,” she said. “We need to all come together to fight it. We want to use this film to make a difference in society. We believe when people watch this, it will change their lives.”

The opening ceremony was graced by several distinguished guests who included different players in the local film industry such as producers, actors and critics among many others.

The movie set a good tone for the festival as it received mostly positive reviews from the guests who lauded the movie for its brilliant screenplay and strong social themes.

Meanwhile, Veronica’s Wish is nominated in 13 categories in the festival’s awards which will be held this Friday, Nov 30 at Serena Hotel, to crown off the festival. It is vying for Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Feature Film gongs among others.