Wakaliwood is the home of Ramon Film Productions, an action movie studio based in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, best known for Who Killed Captain Alex: Uganda’s First Action Movie and Tebaatusasula. The name is a combination of Wakaliga, the ghetto they call home, and Hollywood.
Founded by Ugandan filmmaker Nabwana IGG, Wakaliwood has as many as 130 actors, stunt people, martial artists, prop masters, make-up artists and technicians who have traveled from all over Uganda to produce action films and build a native film industry. They meet twice a week to shoot, rehearse, build equipment out of scrap metal, develop new projects, and sell their DVDs in the local markets.
A self-taught filmmaker, Nabwana Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey’s (IGG) film education consists of one course in computer repair (he was forced to drop out after the first month due to lack of funds) and his own trial-and-error experiences with cameras and editing equipment. He began filmmaking at age 32, just after the birth of his first child.
While supporting himself and his family as a teacher, IGG created Ramon Film Productions (the name comes from his grandmothers, Rachel and Monica, who raised and protected him during Uganda’s civil war). Based in the small home he shares with his wife and co-editor, Harriet, and their three children, IGG has produced over 40 feature films in 9 years and is the best-known, most prolific filmmaker in Uganda. Trailers for his films have gone viral, but the movies themselves remain largely unseen outside the slums of Africa.
IGG shoots his films in Luganda, the dialect of Buganda, Uganda’s largest tribe. As is common in the ghettos of Uganda, his films are presented with a live Video Joker (VJ), that is best described as part comedian, narrator, cheerleader, and slum tour guide. He has recently added the option of English subtitles to his DVDs at the request of the Ugandan upper class who is now taking an interest in his work. Surprisingly, IGG Nabwana has never been to a movie theater.
Selected credits: Who Killed Captain Alex: Uganda’s First Action Movie; Bukunja Tekunja Mitti: The Cannibals; Rescue Team; The Return of Uncle Benon; and a lost film, Tebaatusasula. Upcoming projects include Tiger Mafia; Ugandan Ninja; Juba – The Snake Girl; Revenge – A Ugandan Ghost Story; Bad Black, a film inspired by the controversial life of the Ugandan socialite and ex-con; and Plan 9 From Uganda, a cannibal-zombie-action movie.