• OnWord Partner

Isaac Matovu: Pursuing Professional Opportunities in Film Production

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

“In Massachusetts alone, there are 200,000 college-educated, skilled immigrants who are underemployed, mal-employed, or unemployed.”

This statistic, shared by OnWord Partner Founder and President Shelly Hedstrom, describes exactly why Isaac Matovu felt it necessary to produce this short documentary.

Using Isaac’s work, OnWord Partner aims to attract support and partnerships, raising awareness of their work in the non-profit community, especially amongst faith-based organizations who can sponsor skilled immigrants in need of support.

In fact, a Lexington United Methodist Church grant funded Isaac’s documentary for OnWord Partner and their collaboration with Hadwen Park Congregational Church’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Asylum Task Force located in Worcester, Massachusetts. For several decades, the church and their Task Force have supported asylum-seekers from countries that violate their human rights. Along with the promotional documentary, OnWord Partner used the grant to lay the foundation for expanding services to the members of the Task Force by creating an internal career support network from among the Task Force members themselves.

A common goal of both the Task Force and OnWord Partner is to support LGBT asylees, aiding and integrating them upon their arrival in the United States. In 2018, Isaac Matovu found himself among those asylum-seekers. Shelly saw the potential in Isaac and began to work closely with him to reestablish his career in  media production.

“Isaac has both experience and talent in film production. He knows his specialization, both technically and artistically,” Shelly says.

She describes Isaac as “responsible” and “hard-working,” as he is “proactive in supporting others, getting the job done, thinking through each detail,” and “pursuing professional opportunities.”

Since May of 2018, Isaac has been working as an editing and equipment intern at DGA Productions in Watertown, Massachusetts. Before this, he was a producer at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) in Kampala, Uganda and at Buganda Broadcasting Services (BBS) where he was the head of the sports department as well. He also spent time as a producer, script writer, director, and editor of diverse programs at UBC-Star TV, and, in 2015, was the head of production at Motion Z Ltd. Additionally, from January of 2012 until August of 2013, Isaac was an instructor at the Uganda Film & Television Institute.

“While working for the local media companies there was a lot of censorship on the content. In this regard, there were so many topics and stories I felt to be worthy [of] our time, but I was restricted by the censorship and editorial policies of the companies.

From that note, I decided to do independent films, though not abandoning my employment,” says Isaac.

Isaac’s visionary spirit as well as his drive and passion for production have earned him several awards for his work. In 2017, Matovu won “Best Documentary” at the GaiLesCineMad Film Festival in Spain and “Best Morning Show” at the Uganda Radio & TV Academy Awards. Just two years before, he was a nominee for the same award at the Uganda Radio & TV Academy Awards and was awarded “Best International Narrative Film” at the Baltimore International Black Film Festival.

Moving forward, Isaac and Shelly aspire to match, if not surpass, his previous achievements. They will continue to work together on building his body of documentary work, seeking grant funding, initially securing a mid-level job in film production, and ultimately establishing his own documentary film production company. But the pathway to success for skilled immigrants like Isaac Matovu is not easy. When asked about his future, Isaac says that he is uncertain of where his career will go from here.

“However, I cannot run away from the challenges,” he says. “The best option for me is to face them.”

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