Wakaliwood’s spokesperson to the Western world is Alan Ssali Hofmanis, a New York-based filmmaker and film programmer who became so smitten with the trailer for Who Killed Captain Alex? that he packed up his life in the Big Apple and moved to Wakaliga to work at Ramon Films.
“To me, it was a puzzle. An exciting puzzle. My background is in film production, but I was the director of programming for an international film festival (the Lake Placid Film Forum) for a number of years. (…) Captain Alex made no sense. Yes, it was crazy and full of passion, but in the West if you have no money, you shoot a family reunion or two people talking. You don’t make a war film,” he explains. “Two weeks after watching the trailer, I was in Uganda, and along the way somehow became a Ugandan action movie star. I did not call or email, though I had IGG’s (aka Nabwana Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey, director of Captain Alex) cell number as it’s on the trailers. I just came. Nothing would stop me, and I knew I would find him.”
Budgets for films made in Wakaliga hover around $200. IGG and his crew make the majority of the prop weapons (including, apparently, an entire helicopter made from scrap metal!), costumes and special effects make-up themselves (they started out using actual cow blood in lieu of squibs, but the blood started making the actors sick, forcing a move to perhaps less convincing fake blood). The computer-generated effects are rudimentary but plentiful; things explode at a fairly regular rate. Most of the films are pieced together over a series of shoots and eventually sold around town. While to the Western mind the budgets and eventual profits are downright minuscule, they provide considerable income to the filmmakers.[…]