African Filmmaking Doc 'Once Upon a Time in Uganda' Official Trailer
by Alex Billington
May 2, 2023
"We think he's made 47 films in 11 years." When "Africa's Tarantino" casts a New York film nerd as his next action hero, it's the beginning of a friendship that makes their no-budget studio world famous. But as their success grows, tensions flare and threaten everything they built. Drafthouse Films has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary film titled Once Upon a Time in Uganda, a story about a young filmmaker in Africa. Many of you have heard of and probably seen the movies made by Isaac Nabwana, all of his radical super low budget action flicks made in Uganda - watch them here on YouTube. This doc tells the story of how a Ugandan brickmaker was making action films, which got the attention of New York film programmer Alan Hofmanis. He helped them achieve worldwide fame, but that was only the start. More than just a story about Nabwana, it seems, though the focus is on Wakaliwood and the story behind these Ugandan movie makers. This looks fascinating in so many ways, any & every cinema geek needs to watch this when it opens.
Official trailer (+ poster) for Czubek & Perez's doc Once Upon a Time in Uganda, direct from YouTube:
Welcome to Wakaliwood, the Wakaliga village outside of Uganda's capital and birthplace of the over-the-top, no-budget action movies produced by maverick Ugandan filmmaker Isaac Nabwana. Dubbed Africa's Tarantino, Isaac has produced 40+ films, including Who Killed Captain Alex and Bad Black. His inspiration is equal parts 1980s American action movies and Shaw Brothers martial arts films, with a Ugandan twist. His films' budgets are in the range of $200, and his homegrown studio employs neighbors and friends working on as many as five productions at once. But the story continues… Fascinated by Isaac's movie trailers on YouTube, film nerd Alan Hofmanis gives up his life in NYC and moves to Uganda to work and live alongside Isaac. He not only becomes Isaacs producer, promoter and right-hand man, but also accidentally becomes a Ugandan action movie star. Alan’s marketing savvy brings a wave of international press attention from: Vice, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, and every other media outlet on the planet journey to Wakaliwood to cover this rising star. Wakaliwood then explodes into an international viral sensation. Once the dust settles, in one way or another, things will never be the same…
Once Upon a Time in Uganda is a doc feature co-directed by filmmakers Cathryne Czubek (director on "Carl's Crush", "Step Into My Office", "GQ: The Grind" and other doc shorts) and Hugo Perez (director of Neither Memory Nor Magic, Summer Sun Winter Moon, Omara and other doc shorts) making their first feature doc together. Produced by Cathryne Czubek, Gigi Dement, Matt Porwoll, Cathryne Czubek & Hugo Perez. This initially premiered at 2021 DOC NYC Film Festival a few years back, and also played at Helsinki Film Festival in late 2022. Drafthouse Films will debut Once Upon a Time in Uganda in select US theaters on July 4th, 2023, then on VOD starting July 25th this summer. For more, head to the film's official site.
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