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Long Islander, Ugandan filmmaker's Kickstarter campaign offers donors a role

Director Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey Nabwana shoots action films

Director Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey Nabwana shoots action films in a Ugandan village now affectionately known as "Wakaliwood." Credit: Alan Ssali Hofmanis

That's right -- without leaving the comfort of your home, you can be an action-film star in Uganda.

The offer comes from Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey Nabwana, a self-taught auteur in the village of Wakaliga, affectionately known as "Wakaliwood." Using tripods made from car parts, machine guns made from frying pans, an aging Sony camcorder and computers salvaged from scraps, Nabwana has put together more than 30 movies over the past eight years. They're high-octane, homemade homages to kung-fu flicks and Reagan-era action classics, with local villagers as actors and green-screen drop cloths instead of fancy sets. Nabwana mostly sells his films around town at $1 per DVD, but a trailer for one of them, "Who Killed Captain Alex?," became a YouTube hit during the summer of 2010.

That's how Long Islander Alan Hofmanis first heard of Nabwana. But instead of simply adding his comments to the YouTube page, Hofmanis scraped up enough money to fly to Uganda and meet the man behind the movie. While working on a documentary about Nabwana, Hofmanis also found time to act in a production. (His screen name is Alan Ssali because, he discovered, his last name sounded vaguely obscene in the local language.)

Hofmanis has helped Nabwana launch a Kickstarter campaign for his next production. Nabwana's dream budget: $160. No, there are no zeroes missing from that figure, which goes to show what Nabwana's past budgets have been. And how much has Nabwana earned so far? As of this writing, with 15 days left in the campaign, the total is $6,728. With that order of magnitude, Nabwana should be able to produce the Ugandan equivalent of both "Titanic" and "Avatar."

As part of the Kickstarter offer, donors who give $75 or more can also send videos of themselves that Nabwana will incorporate into the movie. Presumably, donors will be blown up or shot on screen.


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