Competition Documentary Feature
Once Upon a Time in Uganda
Directed by: Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez
USA/Uganda, 2021, 94m
In English and Luganda with English subtitles
In 2017, the Florida Film Festival was only the second venue in the United States to host a screening of Bad Black, a $200 film shot in “Wakaliwood,” a self-proclaimed “Supa Action” movie studio on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. At the heart of this venture are two men: Isaac Nabwana and Alan Hofmanis. Winner of the Grand Jury Award at DocNYC, Once Upon a Time in Uganda follows Hofmanis as he leaves the comfort of New York City for the chance to work with Nabwana. Alan’s knowledge of international film booking, matched with Isaac’s budding international stardom, cause tensions to fester among the once close-knit crew. Direct Catheryne Czubek’s film is more than a Ugandan Heart of Darkness or just another behind-the-scenes documentary. The over-the-top, irreverent, kung-fu action movies that emerge from Wakaliwood form a thoroughly modern version of the old “puttin’ on a show” story. Many films politely ask for your attention, but Wakaliwood movies—with their homemade weapons, car chases, explosions, and infectious voice-over narration—simply refuse to be ignored. Do not miss out what we promise will be the “Da Best” film you will be talking about with your friends for years to come.
Dress a cow in what, you ask? Blond wig? Check. Crown? Check. Full-body Tweety Bird costume? Definitely. Anything that might impress the judges at the yearly Mahoning County, Ohio, cow beauty contest is fair game in this hilarious gem from one half of the team that brought us Greener Grass (FFF 2019).