Hot Docs 2024: Qs à la mode with… Patricia Bbaale Bandak (Death of a Saint)

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In Death of a Saint, director Patricia Bbaale Bandak travels to Uganda and reconnects with the past as she probes the murder of her mother 24 years earlier. We posed our Qs à la mode to Patricia, and here’s what she shared!

If I had to describe my film using only three adjectives, they would be: Intimate, humorous, life-affirming.

I decided to make this film because: When I got pregnant with my first child, I realized that I didn’t want my daughter to inherit my trauma. It became a necessity that I could no longer ignore. I had to openly begin to talk about the murder of my mother and find out who she was as a person.

The thing that surprised me most about my film’s subject/topic was: How difficult it was for my family to see my mother as anything other than a saint. In Uganda, you don’t talk poorly about the deceased. I realized that also meant that all the small details and imperfections that made her human also died with her. That came as a big cultural surprise, a huge obstacle for me personally and not least my work on the film.

The toughest part of the shoot was: Honestly, delving into my mothers murder day after day triggered me a lot. And talking to my dad about it, a conversation we’ve never had before, made me very nervous and anxious throughout the planning and shoot of the film.

My favorite moment/scene/sequence in my film is: My absolute favorite moment would be a big spoiler — but, in general, I really like the scenes where I get to know my family better.

My most invaluable piece of doc-making equipment was/is: An old Sony handycam, which I could easily bring with me at all times, and I could film whenever I wanted to instead of waiting for the crew to be ready. There were many moments where that came in handy, no pun intended.

One piece of documentary-filmmaking advice I’d like to share with aspiring documentarians is: Just do it. Film with whatever you got, and align yourself with people who understand you and your vision.


Want to check out Patricia’s film, or just learn more about it?
Get the scoop, and your tickets, here!


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