Many film festivals had to cancel or postpone this year due to Covid-19, so some decided to band together to create an online festival on YouTube for fans all over the world. It included talks, short films, documentaries and feature films from various countries and festivals. Crazy World was one of the films included in TIFF’s section of the We Are One Global Film Festival.
Wakaliwood and writer/director/cinematographer/editor/etc. Nabwana I.G.G. have been creating action flicks with ultra low budgets (hundreds of American dollars) for over a decade. Their latest entry, Crazy World, is the third Wakaliwood film to have an international release in English. Like their previous movies, Who Killed Captain Alex? (2010) and Bad Black (2016), it’s destined to become a new action cult classic.
The movie opens with the man behind the film, Nabwana I.G.G., showing the audience around the humble Wakaliwood. It may seem out of place, but it added an extra element to the movie. There’s clearly passion here, a pure love for movies, and especially Action Cinema. He proudly shows the audience a wall where all the actors who have been in Wakaliwood pictures have signed their names. From this opening, it’s clear that Wakaliwood is an important part of the poor community of Kampala, Uganda.
Next there’s the first in a series of self-produced anti-piracy ads that play throughout the movie. These are fun little skits but they also heed an important warning. For independent filmmakers everywhere piracy is a huge problem; one that takes away from the economic vitality of small operations such as Wakaliwood. Don’t do it folks.
Next is a title card telling audience members to “fasten their seatbelts.” VJ Emmie, the “World’s Greatest Tongue Fu Master,” begins his commentary over the ensuing production logos. Having this commentary from VJ, known as a “video joker,” is an extension of an oral tradition in Ugandan culture. It also shows that Nabwana and Wakaliwood aren’t afraid to poke fun at themselves. VJ Emmie’s commentary throughout maybe too much for some, but it added an extra element of humor to the scenes on screen. There are many great one-liners that come from him. You can see him recording his commentary for a different project below.
There are a variety of plot threads and characters to follow in Crazy World’s packed but brisk 65-minute runtime. VJ Emmie makes sure to keep audience members on track of who’s who and what they are up to. The central concept is that the evil criminal enterprise known as the Tiger Mafia, led by Mr. Big, kidnap the children of Dauda Bisasso “Uganda’s Greatest Commando,” and Bruce U “Uganda’s Best Kung Fu Cop”; as well as “Da Waka Starz” Wakaliwood’s kung fu child stars. These kidnappings lead to a barrage of wild action sequences.
Bruce U is likely to be many audience members’ favorite. He does some swift kicks and awesome fight scenes. “Da Waka Starz,” led by “Issac Newton” introduced as the child of the director, also have some sick action moves. There’s gunplay too! Dauda Bisasso’s climactic siege at the Tiger Mafia’s compound has some of the film’s best gunplay.
The amateur production elements and ultra low budget are an important part of this film’s charm. What the movie lacks in production value, cutting edge special effects and overall polish, it more than makes up for in energy and passion. It’s also admirable how Nabwana discusses serious issues in their community and introduces the world to life in Uganda through over the top action movies.
This film, and Wakaliwood’s work as a whole, should serve as inspiration to filmmakers all over the world. They make the most of what they have, and have a blast making the movies they want to make. It’s great that TIFF and the We Are One Global Film Festival put this out into the world. Would likely be even more fun in theaters with a full audience.
You can learn more about Wakaliwood and their films at their official website – https://wakaliwood.com/
They also have two of their previous features, Who Killed Captain Alex? and Bad Black, as well as a variety of other awesome content available on their official YouTube page: