No burgeoning film movement has been more fascinating than that of Wakaliwood, which has created nearly fifty exhilarating action films since the late 2000s. How do the people of Wakaliga, which is a slum district in Uganda’s capital, create so many fascinating action films with virtually no budget?
Cathryne Czubek’s Once Upon a Time In Uganda pulls back the curtain on Wakaliwood and independent filmmaking as a whole, showing that all one truly needs to make a movie today is a camera and a dedicated team. The self-taught team, led by visionary Issac Nabwana and with makeshift cranes and dollies made from scrap metal, are developing films with more passion than the majority of all Hollywood productions combined.
Czubek explores not only the production of Wakaliwood films, but how their formation has revitalized the Wakaligan community. The acting school Nabwana creates for the youth in his region ensures that this movement will continue for decades to come. Once Upon a Time In Uganda provides a different narrative about Africa, one where its people are more than just figureheads of poverty but true filmmakers that inspire artists across the globe.
The Silver Lining
While Once Upon a Time In Uganda does show a few clips from Wakaliwood productions, I strongly recommend watching Who Killed Captain Alex? (linked above) to full appreciate what these individuals have created in their small community.
Once Upon a Time in Uganda is a part of DOC NYC’s (Nov 10-28th) 2021 lineup. Click here to learn more about how you can purchase a ticket for this title (for a digital screening).