You have watched the above clip on the internet and thought or still think that it is a joke? Well it is not. It is the official trailer for the first Ugandan action packed movie named Who Killed Captain Alex shot from Wakaliwood over two years ago. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Ugandan movie industry yet to take the world by storm.
Wakaliwood is home to Uganda’s (or safe to say East and Central Africa’s) finest action packed movie stars courtesy of Ramon Film Productions. The still infant slum based film industry has already gained attention from international media houses like for example Business Insider, BBC, Mail & Guardian and AFP due to their extra-ordinary passion and talent exhibited in the movies shot using less than 200 US $.
Located at a Kampala suburb Wakaliga (hence the name Wakaliwood), the team at Ramon Film Productions (RFP) is on a mission to make world blockbuster movies filmed on African soil for the African market and by Africans. In short, they are to redeem the positive Ugandan image through motion pictures on a global movie market!
To date, more than five action packed movies have been shot from Wakaliwood. Apart from Who Killed Captain Alex which was widely received and loved, other movies to have come out of Wakaliwood include Bukunja Tekunja Miti (horror movie), Tiger Mafia, The Return of Uncle Benon, Rescue Team, Tebaatusasula: EBOLA, The Crazy World and the most anticipated Operation Kakongoliro which has been termed as the Expendables version of Uganda.
People’s never ending love affair with Who Killed Captain Alex
Who Killed Captain Alex remains the most loved movie by Wakaliwood faithfuls. The synopsis of the movie which was inspired by events during Idi Amin’s regime, tells a story about a mafia leader’s brother who is captured in a shootout, prompting a revenge attack on the army camp. But when troop leader Captain Alex is killed during a raid, a violent war escalates between the two sides.
The movie was written, produced, shot and edited in one month in the year 2010. The whole plot and non stop battle between the commandos, helicopters and the mafias was all done within two hours. After that, the movie was up for sale the following day! As of today, it has over 2,368,061 views to its name on YouTube (We hope you have watched the trailer at the beginning of this article)
The Curious case of Wakaliwood
Besides Who Killed Captain Alex, the way movies are shot in Wakaliwood is quite interesting. With a low budget and few resources, the team at RFP led by Isaac Nabwana uses local ingredients like tomato sauce, cow blood, condoms, toy guns and banana fibers to depict blood and action packed graphic scenes in the movies to reflect the explosions in motion. You can think this is not cool but they bring out the best choreographed features in the movies when they are produced.
Even when they are just starting, the scripts of the movies are well written and filled with action. This is perhaps meant to capture promotions and a wide audience to gain a market for the young and ambitious movie industry located in East Africa with an aim of taking on the already existing giant movie industries like Hollywood (the western world) and Bollywood (India).
Whether they will stay around for long and gain a big following remains the question. The movie industry globally seems to be dominated by Hollywood which has consolidated its position as the best movie industry ever since it was founded by the Nestor company in October 1911. To this, Isaac Nabwana speaking to BBC recently stated that determination and focus is the only way they will make Wakaliwood the best movie industry in the world a few years to come even when they are based in a Ugandan slum.
The Impact of Wakaliwood
In Africa, the movie industry remains lagging behind on the global market. Except for Nigeria’s Nollywood, the rest of African states have not taken a keen interest in developing talents, arts, music and drama. This has made it impossible for most talents to breakthrough this ever evolving and competitive global village.
This has had a negative impact on many young people and consumers of television shows in Uganda and Africa in general. Many have adopted a lifestyle which is alien to them because of what they watch on TV. This has led to dislike of anything which is local worsened by absence of alternative local shows.
Wakaliwood therefore, might become a hub for new talents on the continent. The attention that the still infant movie industry is getting on the international scene, has already won the love and interest of the global entertainment squares even though it is yet to win confidence of the intended African audience all over the continent.
According to the Wakaliwood blog, initially Nabwana used to shoot the movies intended for his family and friends in Wakaliga. Five years later, the movies have become well received across the slums in Uganda not forgetting the international praises the films shot in a Ugandan slum are getting.
The problem that comes with Nabwana’s movies is copyright infringement. Most movies in Uganda are pirated thereby massively infringing on the intellectual property rights of such brilliant minds. According to the Wakaliwood blog, Nabwana does not even know how many copies of Who Killed captain Alex have been sold.
Conclusively, Nabwami’s movies might be ignored by upper class citizens in Uganda but the international applause that he is getting deserves mentioning. Five years from now, Wakaliwood might take over Africa’s entertainment corners if Nabwana’s online campaign to get funding so as to buy world class equipment and studio yield positive response from well wishers. From Team This Is Uganda, this is another world class positive story from Uganda!
Image Gallery of the behind scenes events in Wakaliwood (all images are by Wakaliwood)