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Preview 'Wakaliwood: The Documentary' (Doc About The Man Behind Uganda's 1st Action Film)

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 4, 2013 4:47 PM
2 Comments
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Wakaliwood

This is great! 

I believe it was a couple of years ago when we featured the trailer for a film that was dubbed Uganda’s first action film, titled Who Killed Captain Alex. Long time readers might remember the insane, hilarious trailer, that was loaded with nutty action sequences, and entry-level special effects.

We were amused, but also intrigued. You can watch it below if you haven't seen it.

The trailer was played several million times on video sharing sites across the web, becoming an instant viral hit. I never did get to see the full film, however.

And now, 2 years later, a feature length documentary film on the man behind Who Killed Captain Alex, is in the works, which, as I noted, is excellent!

The short story goes... Isaac Nabwana founded Uganda-based Ramon Film Productions, a team of nearly 100 actors, filmmakers, and technicians – all volunteers – dedicated to building an independent film industry in that country. Filmmaking is difficult in any environment, but the squalid Ugandan locales where Nabwana and company operate, presents several added challenges like the struggle for basic utilities that many take for granted.

In a way that harkens back to the early days of Hollywood, the team must invent all their equipment while relying on ingenuity and available materials. Their tripod is a modified car jack and props are typically welded from scrap metal and used car parts. Isaac personally built the computer he uses for editing, sound mixing, and special effects, though due to Uganda's climate it overheats regularly. The fact that Isaac’s video camera has a busted viewfinder and his only battery is held together with string hasn't slowed him down one bit.

The only remuneration the cast and crew receive is a share of the profits from DVDs they sell at street corners and local markets. But distribution is a race against time as the films are quickly pirated. Revenue plummets after only a couple weeks.

Film festival programmer Alan Hofmanis felt compelled to travel to Uganda and meet Isaac Nabwana after watching the trailer for the aforementioned Who Killed Captain Alex, and inspired by Ramon Film Productions and with a renewed love for cinema, Alan returned to the United States and recruited independent film producer/distributor/filmmaker Ben Barenholtz, and cinematographer Andreas von Scheele, who, weeks later, returned to Uganda to document Ramon Film Productions and the life, struggles, and creative process of filmmaker Isaac Nabwana.

Sold? I am. 

The film, titled Wakaliwood: The Documentary, had its world premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival in October, and the filmmakers raised an additional $35,000 soon after to complete post-production of it, which is where it currently stands.

No trailer yet, but I did find the below 12-minute excerpt. When I know more, so will you:

And here's the trailer for Who Killed Captain Alex.

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2 Comments

  • Teofilo Colon Jr. | January 6, 2013 3:24 PMReply

    This is awesome! I hope to see Wakaliwood: The Documentary when it becomes available. Also, where can one get a hold of the films from Ramon Film Productions? Turnover with African movies/DVDs are high and since Who Killed Captain Alex? came out in 2010, I expect that it'll particularly tricky trying to find it.

    Teofilo Colon Jr.
    Beinggarifuna.com

  • James Brown - Say It Loud! | January 5, 2013 2:09 PMReply

    Somebody please give Uganda some cash to get their film industry going - that much effort and desire should be rewarded.

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