Kampala Story is an adventure movie, set in Uganda’s densely populated capital and seen through the eyes of a young girl.
Young Apio lives with her small family out on the wind-swept plains, where desert dust drifts around the UN vehicles that hand out supplies to the poor. Apio’s mother is pregnant, but when she becomes ill, Apio is sent to Kampala to find her father and ask him for money to pay for her hospital treatment. Alone and armed with nothing more than a piece of paper with her father’s name on it, Apio sets off on a long journey towards the city. It is a labyrinthine and dangerous place, where one has to be careful about who one trusts, but where one is also forced to accept the help of strangers to survive.
Directed by Donald Mugisha and Kasper Bisgaard, the film is said to take a semi-documentary approach to the story, although it is fiction, and is commentary on how influential 21st century technology has become in our daily lives.
If Mugisha’s name sounds familiar it’s likely because we’ve been following another feature film project of his – The Boda Boda Thieves – which continues to attract the right kind of international attention, winning the 10,000 Euro VFF Highlight Pitch Award at the the 10th edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus last year; And prior to that, it was one of just 5 projects selected by the World Cinema Fund to receive production funding from its allotted $283,000 grant; before that it received funding from other financiers, including at the third Africa Produce Co-Production Forum of the 8th Tarifa African Film Festival (FCAT) in Spain, where the project secured a co-production deal with the Kenyan company Hot Sun Films.
The film also received special mention in the the International Relations ARTE Prize for excellence in script writing, and was selected for the 2012 IFP No Borders International Co-Production Market.
The synopsis for The Boda Boda Thieves reads:
When Goodman gets a job for his son Abel as driver of a motorbike taxi or “Boda-Boda”, he feels like things are possibly finally going his way, that is, until a gang of thieves robs Abel of his treasured motorbike. We follow Goodman and his son Abel on their quest through the city to find their “Boda Boda” and in the process gain an insider’s view of urban Africa, its underworld and the generation gap between urban migrants and their first generation children.
Sounds like a Ugandan take on the Italian neo-realist classic Bicycle Thieves, by Vittorio De Sica.
But while we wait for that film, Mugisha’s co-directorial effort with Bisgard, Kampala Story, is done, and is currently touring the international film festival circuit, with playdates at the Seattle International Film Festival) which runs from May 16 to June 9.
No trailer yet though.