National Geographic Documentary Films Acquires Venice Sensation BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT as Film Crew Arrive in Telluride
TELLURIDE, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following the highly anticipated arrival of Bobi Wine at the Telluride Film Festival, National Geographic Documentary Films has announced that it has acquired worldwide rights to BOBI WINE: THE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE (which premiered in Venice under the working title Bobi Wine: President of the Ghetto) from directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp. The Venice Film Festival sensation of two-time Oscar-winning producer John Battsek has been hailed by Screen Daily as an “intimate portrait of a hugely engaging figure that also serves as a sobering warning about the seeming impossibility of democratic change in a dictatorship”.
Born in the slums of Kampala, Wine, Ugandan opposition leader, former MP, activist and national superstar musician, is risking his life to fight the ruthless regime led by Yoweri Museveni. Museveni has been in power for 35 years and amended Uganda’s constitution to allow himself to run for another five-year term.
Present in the country’s presidential elections in 2021, Wine (real name Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu) uses his music to denounce the dictatorial regime and support his life mission of defending the voiceless. In this fight, where he is joined by his wife Barbie, he must also face the country’s police and army, who are not afraid to use violence and torture in an attempt to intimidate him and make him shut up, he and his supporters.
National Geographic documentary films will be deployed BOBI WINE: THE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE at global festivals throughout the year and will hit theaters in 2023.
The film will screen Sunday morning, September 4 at 9:00 a.m. MT at the Nugget Theater in Telluride, and festival-goers will be treated to a unique performance by Wine Sunday night downtown.
The film’s working title comes from Wine himself, a term he used to describe his unlikely rise to fame and the opportunity to make a difference for the people of Uganda, where he has now dedicated his life to being. a champion for inclusive government and an advocate for all the people of Uganda.
“My people, the people of Uganda, know my journey through music, politics, imprisonment and torture, but this film is a microcosm of my country’s broader struggles under a relentless dictatorship that has operated with impunity for decades. I can’t wait for the global public to see the reality of the situation and question their leaders’ support for this regime,” Wine said.
“Bobi and his wife Barbie are unique heroes who take great personal risks to unseat and free a nation from a ruler who has been in power for 35 years,” said directors Bwayo and Sharp. “As documentary filmmakers, we are sometimes blessed with the opportunity to narrate events that can lead to transformation. We believe this is one of those occasions.
“At a time when the most basic human rights are under threat around the world, including in the United States, Bobi Wine’s activism on behalf of all Ugandans is hugely inspiring, compelling and necessary. We are honored to help bring this beautiful and important film to the world.
“There is no better home for our film. My experiences with National Geographic Documentary Films have always been the best. They match the passion and care that filmmakers bring to filmmaking in the way they market and release films. We really couldn’t be happier to have them as partners on this film,” added producer Battsek.
National Geographic Documentary Films has already released the Oscar, BAFTA and seven-time Emmy-winning film Free Solo and the Oscar-nominated film The cave. More recently, in 2021, he published Becoming Cousteau, Fauci, The First Wave, The Rescue and Torn up. Other critically acclaimed films under the banner include Ron Howard’s rebuild paradise; Sundance People’s Choice Award Winners science fair and Sea of Shadows; Emmy Award Winners THE 92 and Joanwho were both included in the 15 best documentaries considered for an Oscar in 2017; and winner of the Dupont Prize Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of the Islamic State.
ABOUT CHRISTOPHER SHARP:
Christopher Sharp is a director returning to the industry for the first time after working as an editor on commercials and music videos in London. He and his father were born in Uganda and, having spent his youth there, he has a love for his people and his country. He has developed a keen sensitivity for the nuances of Ugandan culture and people. He first met Bobi and Barbie in 2017, after being a longtime music fan of Wine. They became friends and he was moved not only by their extraordinarily likeable character, but also by their genuine concern for the plight of the Ugandan people.
ABOUT MOSES BWAYO:
Moses Bwayo is a Ugandan journalist and filmmaker who grew up in Mbale, Eastern Uganda. At 19, he moved to Uganda’s capital, Kampala, where he earned an undergraduate degree in journalism. He worked in the sound department of the Disney film “Queen of Katwe”, directed by Oscar-nominated Mira Nair, and completed the ADR for “A Fork A Spoon and A Knight” produced by MontBlanc. Moses has made corporate music and videos and shot short films and documentaries, including “Gamblers Like Me”, a BBC Africa Eye documentary, and “What Justice Looks Like for a Child Soldier Turned Rebel Warlord” for VICE News and fixed for ABC TV in Uganda. Moses Bwayo recently moved to Los Angeles.
ABOUT BOBI WINE:
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known as Bobi Wine, is a musician-turned-politician who is the current leader of the National Unity Platform (NUP) and the People Power Movement. Wine was born in the Mpigi district of Uganda on February 12, 1982. He grew up in the slums of Kamwokya northeast of Kampala. His mother was a nurse and his father a veterinarian and a farmer.
Wine is a singer, musician, actor and activist. He campaigned for the sanitation of hospitals, the prevention of malaria, the rights of refugees and the education of children. His songs are known as “peaceful protest” and “edutainment” (a mix of education and entertainment), focusing on the struggles of low-income people in Uganda’s ghettos and calling on young people to join the politics and change the destiny of their country. He is married to Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi, known as Barbie, with whom he has four children.
His characteristic enthusiasm for democratic discourse and the popularity he had gained through his earlier artistic and philanthropic endeavors successfully supported his transition into politics. Bobi Wine continues to lead the NUP, Uganda’s largest opposition political party, and has emerged as the main opposition leader to President Museveni’s regime.
A SOUTHERN AND VENTURELAND FILM PRODUCTION IN ASSOCIATION WITH CALM
BOBI WINE: THE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE
DIRECTED BY MOSES BWAYO AND CHRISTOPHER SHARP
PRODUCED BY CHRISTOPHER SHARP AND JOHN BATTSEK
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY SAM BENSTEAD MOSES BWAYO MICHELE SIBILINO
EDITED BY PAUL CARLIN
SHEET MUSIC BY DAN JONES
CO-PRODUCER MEGAN HOLLINGHURST
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER HUMBLE LUKANGA CALM
WITH THE MUSIC OF BOBI WINE
About National Geographic Documentary Films
National Geographic Documentary Films is committed to bringing the world documentary feature films that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the world’s best documentary filmmakers. National Geographic Documentary Films is a division of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society. Deepening knowledge and understanding of our world has been National Geographic’s primary purpose for 133 years, and now we’re committed to going further, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers…and reaching people. million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month like we do. NGP returns 27% of our proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society to fund work in science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information, visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Ventureland is an independent production company founded by John Battsek and his partners Kerstin Emhoff, Ali Brown and Paul Hunter.
Beginning in 1999 with the Oscar-winning “One Day in September,” which he conceived and produced, Battsek has since produced some of the most acclaimed documentaries of recent years. Notable tracks include Academy Award and BAFTA winner “Searching for Sugar Man”, Academy Award winner “Restrepo”, BAFTA winner “The Imposter”, “Eric Clapton : Life in 12 Bars”, winner of a Peabody and BAFTA award. -nominated ‘Listen to Me Marlon’, Oscar-nominated ‘Winter on Fire’ and BAFTA-winning ‘Hillsborough’. Together, Battsek and Emhoff produced Emmy-winning “The Tillman Story” and Primetime Emmy-winning “Manhunt: The Bin Laden Hunt Story.”
Some of Ventureland’s recent work includes PGA, DGA, and BAFTA-nominated “The Rescue,” two-time Emmy Award-winning “Rising Phoenix,” and Mary McCartney’s upcoming debut “If These Walls Could Sing,” which premiered in Telluride.