making movies

Making Movies



slum district role model
crazy budget back yard
fake civil war handmade
prop thriller shoot (2)
infect reenact imagination
owner remake special effects
theme combine take part
scrap humor commentary
weld fanatic potential
scene get go fan-base
on set thrilled convinced
crew brutal enthusiasm
adore dialogue reassessment
slick fan (2) imperfection
amass drop by keep in touch
invite discover trailer (2)
versus end up showcase


Video One: Making Movies 1

Video Two: Making Movies 2


Transcript for Video Two

Isaac Nabwana from Uganda makes action films, like his role models in Hollywood . . . just a little differently.

This is action cinema — Uganda style. Isaac Nabwana is filming right outside his front door in the Wakaliga slum, a poor district in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

Fans know it as “Wakaliwood”.

Isaac Nabwana, Director: “I think firstly they thought I was crazy, because they are saying you can’t make an action movie. It looks like a crazy idea, not only for the people of Wakaliga, but for everyone all over the world, that it’s not possible to make a film without a budget or something like that.”

But he has the proof: his films rarely cost more than €100 ($112).

They are shot in Isaac’s back yard, in the slum. Family, neighbors and friends all take part, for free. Costumes and props are all handmade, like these condoms filled with fake blood.

A real film fanatic, Isaac infects everyone with his passion for blood-soaked action thrillers.

Isaac Nabwana, Director: My brothers used to go, and they would come back and tell me stories about what they have seen. And they would tell me about Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Rambo, Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and others.

So up till now, I have the imaginations in my mind.

These are pictures from his first movie, Who Killed Captain Alex? The special effects are basic, and there’s hardly any dialogue. But it certainly goes off with a BANG!

Isaac often reenacts American and Japanese action classics. He remakes scenes, such as from the Karate Kid — but moves the story to Africa, and combines it with myths and themes from Uganda’s Civil War, adds a humorous director’s commentary . . .

And turns it all into his own unique Wakiliwood style.

Nauda has taken part from the get go. He’s a restaurant owner, truck driver, and most usefully, a mechanic.

He welds the film weapons together out of scrap metal. His biggest creation is the helicopter model now sitting in Isaac’s back yard, awaiting its next performance.

Alan Hofmanis from the US discovered scenes online from Who Killed Captain Alex — and it changed his life.

Just five years ago, Alan was working in the Hollywood movie business. But he had never seen anything like Wakaliwood.

Alan Hofmanis, Producer: “Really, this is the best place in the world — if you love movies, there’re only two places to be: that’s on set with Tarantino, giving directions to Samuel Jackson . . . or here in Wakaliwood.

I’m convinced, it’s the BEST in the world.”

Alan dropped everything and moved to Wakaliga where Isaac welcomed him into the group straight away.

Alan was thrilled by the energy and enthusiasm of Isaac’s crew. He wants to showcase their films at major festivals, and reveal the hidden potential of Wakaliwood to the established movie world.

Alan Hofmanis, Producer: “Well, it’s action and also, well Uganda. Maybe, I don’t know, but I think in the future, when you see the body of work — because I’ve seen the films, I know what’s coming — there’s going to be a reassessment of this.

He’s a serious artist.”

Isaac is next door on his laptop. Everything he knows is self taught: camera … editing … and special effects.

Sure, it’s not as slick as Hollywood, but it’s the imperfections that his fans adore.

As soon as the first scenes are shot, Isaac cuts a trailer and uploads it online.

Social media keeps him in touch with fans.

Wakaliwood has amassed a huge international fan-base on the internet. People from Spain, Indonesia, Japan and Germany send in videos of their own reenacted action scenes.

Many tourists even drop by.

Isaac welcomes them, and invites them to take part.

Some of the scenes even end up in his movies.

Isaac Hofmanis, Director: I have one German who died in a movie. We taught him Ugandan. So that movie is going to be Wakaliwood Versus the Rest of the World, in action, you see here?

And he’s dying.

Isaac Nabwana says his movies aren’t brutal; life is. And cinema is life. But he wants people to have fun too.

And he’s convinced that one day, Wakaliwood will be the biggest action studio in Africa.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Isaac Nabwana makes movies in studios and the city center of Kampala, Uganda. True or false?

2. “Fans know it as ‘Wakaliwood’.” What does this mean?

3. In the beginning, everyone was confident in Isaac and believed that he could succeed in making movies. Is this correct or incorrect?

4. Does he have a big budget to make movies? Does he hire professional actors? Do they use real guns and helicopters?

5. Who are Isaac’s role models? Who does he admire? Who does he look up to?

6. Does he create his own storylines, or does it base it on Hollywood movies? Do the actors talk a lot in the movies?

7. Only Africans are interested in Wakaliwood movies. Is this right or wrong? What does Alan Hofmanis think of Wakaliwood and Isaac’s works?

8. Does Isaac have a team of technicians and specialists? Do they have lots of high-tech cameras and equipment?

9. Are Isaac Nabwana and Alan Hofmanis promoting Wakaliwood movies internationally? Are the optimistic or pessimistic about the future?


A. Are you surprised and amazed by the works of Isaac Nabwana and his crew?

B. Will Wakaliwood become more popular and famous? What will happen to them?

C. Have you and your friends filmed and produced short movies, plays, skits or videos?

D. Do you have good ideas for movie scripts, plots and productions? Would you or your friends like to make movies like Isaac Nabwana?

E. What will happen in the future regarding amateur and hobbyist film makers?


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