Congrats to Ugandan Donald Mugisha whose feature film project, “The Boda Boda Thieves,” will make its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival next month – a project we’ve been following for about 3 years now, as it progressed, from its financing journey, through today.
Amongst its monetary awards, the project won the 10,000 Euro VFF Highlight Pitch Award at the the 10th edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus; it was one of just 5 projects selected by the World Cinema Fund to receive production funding from its allotted $283,000 grant (it received the largest chunk of the fund – $81,000, as South Africa based Switch Films signed on to produce); And, before that, the project also 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 it secured a co-production deal with the Kenyan company Hot Sun Films. It also received special mention in the the International Relations ARTE Prize for excellence in script writing, and was selected as one of 43 projects for the 2012 IFP No Borders International Co-Production Market, in 2012 – an event focused on nurturing and providing opportunities for both emerging and established artists to connect with the financiers, executives, influencers and decision-makers in film, television, new media and cross-platform storytelling that can help them complete their latest works and connect with audiences.
Such is the path of the independent filmmaker. It’s a hustle and is almost never straight and short. So I’m glad Donald and company have made it this far, as the film is set to premiere at the Berlinale in a few weeks.
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.”
It sounds like a Ugandan version of the Italian neo-realist classic “Bicycle Thieves,” by Vittorio De Sica.
The film is a production of Yes! That’s Us – a pan African filmmaking collective which embraces the collaborative nature of filmmaking and of the importance of finding indigenous working models and suitable distribution solutions. It’s a Uganda / South Africa / Kenya / Germany co-production.
But I’m in, and hope it’s a film I eventually get to see, some time after its Berlin premiere.
In the meantime, I found the below trailer for the film; although it’s at least 7 months (based on when Vimeo says it was uploaded). So there might be a new trailer coming.