It’s a place where a slum cat called “Famous” lounges in the sun while laundry dries on the skeleton of a helicopter painted with the bold letters “Wakaliwood.”
This world belongs to a man named Isaac Nabwana. Isaac is the founder and director of Ramon Pictures, an action genre film studio home grown in the Wakaliga slum known these days as “Wakaliwood.”
An echo of Nigeria’s “Nollywood”, India’s “Bollywood”, and of course “Hollywood”, Isaac says that he chose the name because it was the place where he grew up and the place where the first action movie in Uganda was made.
Isaac grew up with a love for action film stars that he learned from his brother Robert. In the 1980’s, Robert would sneak out to the newly opened cinema halls to watch movies, coming back later to reenact every action-packed moment.
Though Isaac had decided very early on that he wanted to make movies, his family was not convinced. His grandmother who raised him, his sisters and brothers expressed doubt that it was possible.
Isaac remembers telling his brother Robert of his dreams. “I told him that one day I’ll make a movie, he said, “No, you cannot make it. Because movies, you made [need] millions of dollars to make movies.”
Yet defying all odds, Isaac has made over forty movies, with three more in the works. Robert, his brother, plays multiple roles in every Ramon production, as well as Isaac’s wife, Harriet, and his children.
Photo: Behind the scene shots
The Wakaliwood community has grown from Isaac’s immediate family to a large and diverse group.
People come from all over the country, and the world to see what Isaac has created and to take part in projects. One fan came all the way from New York City and never left Wakaliwood.
New York film buff Alan Hofmanis appeared on Isaac’s doorstep six years ago after seeing a YouTube trailer for “Who Killed Captain Alex?”, Isaac’s first successful action film which was made for under $200.