April 21, 2024

The New Wave of Ultra-Violent Ugandan DIY Action Cinema: Wakaliwood

Published June 12, 2023, 6:20 a.m. by Jerald Waisoki

In the ugandan slum of wakaliga, a thriving action film industry called wakaliwood has emerged. Mixing elements of western action films and Chinese Kung Fu movies with ugandan culture, wakaliwood’s films have garnered a cult following not just in in Uganda, but all over the world. We spend a day on the set of the next wakaliwood hit.

A ugandan Filmmaker's Quest to Conquer the Planet with Low-Budget action Movies - http://bit.ly/1OlD1eg

00:00 Intro

02:52 Drawing inspiration from the ghetto

05:35 "You have to invent everything as you go"

09:29 A great opportunity to shift the narrative of African cinema

Up Next: Uganda's Moonshine Epidemic: http://bit.ly/1Ozvp8c

Music for the piece was provided by Ramon film Productions and Alex "Saba Saba" Kirya.

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new york city

new york city

work hollywood

my stories come from my life we go


i've done over 40 movies the last 28


there are so many stories in uganda

which are virgin no one has ever

done them

when i was also in primary school i used

to like chinese kung fu

very much when i was going to school i

used to pass to

a cinema hall called africana i always

stopped there

to see chuck norris and i thought of

making a kung fu

movie so i'm trying to combine

uh uganda caricature western culture and

the chinese culture

in my movies holy see yeah


it's cool it's fine because i enjoy what

they do

other guy was born a ghetto because

that's the life which i passed through

getting something to eat is through a

struggle getting weird sleep sometimes

sleep under channels

so it's easy for me to act like a bad


the guy who inspired me to act was uh

jen claude van damme

you know okay

this is uh our racing room

and we also use it for preparations

uh when we are doing an action or when

you are doing training like us today

the children now are going for their

morning session of

training this is how he looks when he's

training the children

it's always like uncle bernardo as he

acted in one of the movies

we call him bruce u grizzly of uganda

i used to watch the movie it was called


enter the dragon for bruce lee so i was

inspired because i liked that way i was


so i also said i have to practice to

learn kung fu

and i try to do as he did

kung fu is good for those kids because

they also learn this plane

also the their bodies to be strong

self-defense as you know africa mean

they can defend themselves maybe and

even in acting here

they are our future here in our movie


my name is alan hoffman i'm from new

york from new york city

i'm the first uh mizungu ugandan action

movie star

my background is in film in film

production and i was a film festival

director for a number of years

when i saw this 90 seconds of who killed

captain alex in a strange way i thought

it would be

crazy or not to come and be part of this

but what's happening here it's it's in a

lot of ways it's like the birth of

cinema if that makes any sense

there's no direct models there's no one

teaching them how to do anything

you have to invent everything as you go

and see what works or not

okay we're going to the studio

and this is a ramon studio

this side is my home and this side is

the studio

this is where i always sit

when i'm editing this is the computer

this is the duplicators i use to burn

but i used to assemble these now they're

not working

they have known powerful if it comes to

editing i edit one movie and it is


we are going through the store where we

keep our equipment like the probes and

the guns and everything like the jeeps

and this is the guy behind

every equipment we make here this is for

tibet sassoon is supposed to be

yeah for launchers

and the big bullets can shoot you

this is a bullet


this gun a building here small engine

can start the trigger is

x-rated rotate here

uh this handle for motorcycle

this net for speaker

when the mr isa cannot finish to write


script say dauda i need

this gun for this part i can make it


because i like

if it comes to the props and what it is

expensive somewhere and then we think

that we can do it

we try to make our own

previously we used to cow blood we could

go to the

up to where they slaughter cows and we

collect that blood and then

bring it and you could you know you know

drink it and

something like that but we got a problem

with that one of our actors

go thickness as when he went to hospital

then we had to

think of something else and then we came

out with an idea of photo color

okay okay action

though you might think it is violent

what i'm doing is sometimes more

than what was in the past because if i

could do it in the other way

it would be you know a different story

everyone would cry

immediately they hear anybody making

subversive activities

or try to plan anything against me they

reported that person straight to the


when i was a kid i could tell you that i

saw it i mean

after it i mean it was war you know

people could come at night and they tell


open the door you have to open and then

give them money if you don't have money

they could

take anything they want

they could come and you know take our


away that was done by the the military

the police and everything and we have so

many parents who lost

their lives in that situation but what

i'm doing is

is just creativity is yes they are

violent but at least they can be even

seen by

children according to the way we answer


i've had conversations with oscar

nominated producers

wonder how i can sleep at night

promoting the idea of african violence

that stereotype to the world these are

people who say like if isaac is serious

about filmmaking

he should make films about poverty

because that's what people would want to


that's what he can do these people are

watching it

because it's africa you know they're

watching it because it's an action film

this is such an opportunity i think to

just like

this is more than one narrative in the

goddamn continent

okay now

i've never considered myself how much i

could take in filmmaking

for me it is passion i am passionate

about what i'm doing

if i want to do it right now i do it and

the actors i also want to do it

it's me who stops them they're always

saying let me do this let me do this

it's so that really gives me also

courage to keep on you know doing it

someone was in rwanda in the video hall

and so it is

hollywood from wakarika and said yes i'm

from there

he was so happy also to be movies are

coming from their own village

so i think that is a very big


to be known by the whole world

i don't think that i'll always be here

as the only director i don't

think that i always be here the only

editor i want others to come in

with their you know talents and then we

see that we

promote it i am sure that there are some

young children there who can even do it

better than me

and i feel like i want to work with them

to see that i do

really promote this work hollywood to be

the best

studio action studio in the whole world


that's enough



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