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.
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 company behind films like Who Killed Captain Alex (the illustrious Ramon Film Productions, a self-described action movie studio producing feature films from the slums of Wakaliga, Uganda) is in the works, which I think 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 elsewhere 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. For example, their tripod is a modified car jack, and props are typically welded from scrap metal and used car parts.
Alsom 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! By. Any. Means. Necessary.
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 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 definitely 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 that premiere, to complete post-production on the film, which is where it currently stands.
No official trailer yet, but I did find the below 12-minute excerpt, which is embedded below; but first, watch this 6-minute compilation of the films in Ramon Film Productions’ library for a sample of madness, as well as drive.
Included in the compilation are the aforementioned Who Killed Captain Alex, as well as Tebaatusasula, Rescue Team and The Return of Uncle Benon. Now if only they had the type of money that would allow them to create works of higher production value. But this is a start (subscribe to Ramon’s email list via the company’s website HERE):
Here are excerpts from the upcoming Wakaliwood: