Uganda’s Wakaliwood: Talented Local Man Films Low-Budget Shaolin-Inspired Martial Arts Films! 

Translator’s Note: People across Africa are highly intelligent and are using their environments to generate new and exciting developments! This is how human labour transforms the material world! Isaac has had his life enriched psychologically and physically by Mainland China and he has transmitted this enrichment to the Ugandan people! A similar story is unfolding all over Africa! Although ‘Vice’ and ‘Al Jezeera’ have featured Isaac – both of these media outlets routinely run fabricated ‘anti-China’ stories (following the distorted US and Zionist agenda) and are obviously expressing their inherent ‘hypocrisy’ by covering this story! This does not matter as routine ‘lying’ does not alter the reality of Mainland China openly helping and assisting a developing Africa! The picture at the top of this article is from a Chinese language article about a Chinese tourist meeting local martial artists in Nigeria (非洲人觉得中国功夫厉害,不喜欢中国人给他们拍照) with many of these people also ‘learning’ gongfu from watching Chinese language films! Ugandan Isaac now offers African people their own martial arts films! ACW (4.10.2022)

An African man living in a slum learned Chinese gongfu – and then produced ultra-low budget movies which have become major regional hits – making him a small fortune! Although an orphan – this man learned to make cheap props and how to operate a camera whilst filming fighting and training scenes! Although he spends the equivalent of 1 Yuan a day on living expenses – he often spends 2000 Yuan on each gongfu movie – of which he has produced over forty in the last ten-years! How did this amazing story begin? Isaac was born in a slum in Uganda. Since childhood, he liked Chinese gongfu and admired Bruce Lee very much – imitating the various martial arts actions he saw in the movies! When he grew-up – he travelled on his own to the Shaolin Temple in Henan, China – where he was welcomed by the Buddhist monks! He was taken in as a disciple and trained under the harsh regime for a number of years – rising early and performing all the arduous and severe tasks asked of him! Eventually, when he reached a certain level of proficiency – he returned back to Uganda – and it was then that he started making martial arts films!  

In 2005, Isaac founded Uganda’s first film company – Raymond – in a slum with his meager income from making bricks. People affectionately call it ‘Wakaliwood’. He gathers people who want to learn martial arts and have dreams starring in movies. He conducts free training every day, detailing the strength of good posture and strong punches and kicks. Under the scorching sun, both adults and children earnestly practice the martial arts movements. In order to encourage the children, he will often give out some drinks and snacks as rewards after training. In Isaac’s view, there are many benefits of learning Chinese martial arts. In addition to making the martial arts movements beautiful and seamless during shooting, with perseverance the training can also strengthen the body and develop the mind. In Uganda now – from young adults to young children – they are all learning Chinese gongfu and preparing for the filming of martial arts movies. Originally, Isaac shot with an old camera which had a blurry lens, because without experience everything had to be learned from scratch. He didn’t know how to shoot and edit, so he used his hard-earned money to sign up for an elementary editing training class. He learned and practiced, and quickly mastered basic editing techniques. 

After borrowing a camera from a friend, he started writing scripts to shoot movies. He then pieced together a computer using old accessories found in dumps and old places. The second-hand computer worked but possessed insufficient memory, and when editing, it is often necessary to delete sections (after saving the data elsewhere) to cut new material. In this way, expenses are reduced. Isaac is a photographer, editor, director, and screenwriter. Filmmaking requires investment (which does not exist), and he has to support his family. Isaac insists on studying whilst working, and finally saved enough money to rent his own prop, editing, and rehearsal room in the slum. The actors participating in the show are all local residents. After finishing work every day, they get together to discuss the script and rehearse the shooting. There was no pay for the work – the only good thing is that Isaac gives them a place to stay whilst filming without them having to sleep outside. 

Due limited resources, there is only one camera on site, and an action needs to be repeated many times during shooting. In an action movie, the actors are all using real punching and kicking – striking one another. After a scene, the actors will always be left with large and small scars, but no one cares about this during filming. Filming in Wakaliwood is all about passion. Of course, in addition to equipment and actors, service is also the key to a movie. It is said that the production of action films and sci-fi films is a waste of money – where the investment of large amounts in a poor country is often criticized as supporting ‘rubbish’ films – but the service of the Isaac team is unbelievably simple. In order to save money, the actors omit the step of makeup, and the special makeup effects (when necessary) are arranged by Isaac’s wife. She mixes water, dirt, and cheap paint on the face and body – and the special effect is achieved. In addition, the props in the hands of the actors are basically made of broken copper, iron or wood, and they are so simple that it takes imagination to imagine exactly what they are! 

Bullets are replaced by small, sharpened wooden sticks, guns in hand are pieced together from scrap metal or wood, and rocket launchers are outrageously made of plastic tubes and pans. Even the helicopters, trolleys, and camera booms needed for the shooting were painstakingly welded from a pile of discarded parts. Flour is used to make explosions and ox blood splattered. The blood was collected by Isaac from the slaughterhouse. But over time, it was found that many actors fell ill because of this, so they later switched to edible colouring. When domestic film and television dramas were criticized by many people for using a lot of cut outs and shoddy production, they didn’t know that ‘50 cents special effects’ were the best technology that could be afforded. Flying people, helicopters, cars, many movie clips are done by putting up a simple green screen. But for Isaac, the filming process was not the hardest, the hardest was editing in post filming. A dilapidated editing room, a computer, and a hard drive were all of Isaac’s editing equipment. The second-hand computer he used not only had insufficient memory, but also could not upload complex editing programmes. 

In addition, the power supply in the slums is unstable. There is only about 3 days of electricity a week. Whether it is shooting or editing, it needs to be carefully planned. The power of the dream, however, helps the actors to persevere. After finishing each film – it is engraved onto DVD discs, each priced at 45 cents (about 3 yuan), and then people go door-to-door in costumes used in the film. Usually, a movie will earn about 300 yuan. Even though the road seems difficult and endless, the actors never gave up and maintain a high degree of enthusiasm for filming. Over the past few years, through the efforts of Isaac and his companions, more than 40 films have been completed such as ‘Who Killed Captain Alex’ and ‘The Return of Uncle Benon’! These films, which combine Ugandan culture with Chinese culture, (as well as elements such as gunfights and gongfu), have received a lot of likes and attention on YouTube, and are referred to as ‘people who really love movies’. ‘Who Killed Captain Alex’ even attracted an American fan – Alan Hofmanis! He gathered his things together and travelled to Uganda to offer his expertise in the filming and editing process! 

Hoffmanis said he saw intense anger and raw flair in the film – which is rarely seen in commercial films on the market. The story of ‘Wakaliwood‘ continues – which has gradually developed from a computer and a worn-out camera to a team of more than 130 people, and there is a clear division of labour for photography and editing, etc. According to relevant data, the film industry in Africa has developed rapidly in recent years and has huge potential. By 2021, the number of workers in this industry will reach about 5 million, and it will contribute 5 billion US dollars to Africa’s GDP. As long as the opportunity is seized, African films will definitely be able to make it to the big screen and be presented to the world. Isaac said in an interview that in the future every child here will surpass him, and that ‘Wakaliwood’ developed into a world-class action film studio. Hard work generates success! The Ugandan film industry has begun from scratch with their enthusiasm and love for the art constructed using the most primitive shooting and editing techniques! Aside from art, technology, and box office, this group of people are striving to pursue their shining dreams. Maybe dreams have nothing to do with being poor or rich. Anyone who has dreams is amazing! 

Chinese Language Article:


2022-08-27 10:34:52 来源: 法制播报 陕西