We learned about Wakaliwood a number of years ago from Alan Hofmanis one of the subjects in the film. He told us about Isaac Nabwana, a filmmaker in Uganda, who had created an action movie studio in the slum he lived in, and had gathered a group of fellow dreamers around him: Bukenya the martial arts master, Dauda the genius props maker who builds all of their props out of scrap metal, and many others. With no training, no money, and a great love of Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwartzeneger they were improbably making one action movie after another, everyone serving as both actors and crew and doing their own stunts.
We decided two years ago that we needed to go and make a film about this filmmaking phenomenon, and drafted DP Matt Porwoll to lens the film for us. After consulting with Matt, we made the decision to shoot as much of our documentary as possible on primes, and settled on the ZEISS CP.2 line as the right choice for us.
We were drawn to the Wakaliwood story by the sheer joy of filmmaking expressed both in front of and behind the camera: from the homegrown way that props and film equipment are made from scrap metal and wood, to the intense devotion and commitment that every member of the cast and crew has to Isaac Nabwana’s directorial vision — to the sheer adrenaline and humor that seeps out of the set-pieces Isaac creates in his films.
Isaac Nabwana has created more than a movie studio, he has created a dream factory that fuels the aspirations of the many who have come from all over Uganda to work with him. We were inspired by what we felt was a unique and unconventional story of Africa, and also by the opportunity to make a documentary that at times would be comic and funny in spite of the serious underlying cultural history and issues it deals with.
For more information including background info, filmmaker bios, etc. visit www.lightscamerauganda.com.