BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT, the award-winning feature documentary debut from directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp and produced by Christopher Sharp, alongside two-time Academy Award winner John Battsek’s Ventureland. BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT follows Bobi Wine, who was born in the slums of Kampala and became one of Uganda’s most popular musical talents the country has ever seen. In the midst of the violence, corruption and injustice of the ruthless regime led by Yoweri Museveni, Bobi decides to become the Ugandan opposition leader in the much-disputed 2021 presidential election. Using his music to denounce the dictatorial regime and support his life’s mission to defend the oppressed and the voiceless people of Uganda, Bobi risks his life and the lives of his wife, Barbie, and their children to take on the country’s corrupt police and military, who are not afraid to use violence and torture in a vain attempt to intimidate and silence Bobi and his supporters. Co-directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp join us for a conversation on the incredible level of access they have in the life of Bobi, Barbie, his family and his trusted circle of advisors as well as the extremely dangerous situations brought on by Bobi’s decision to stand against a dictatorial regime and stand up for the people in Uganda who want a better life for themselves and the beloved nation.
Opens LA This Friday 7/28 at the Laemmle Royal
About the subject –Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, famously 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. Bobi was born in Mpigi District in Uganda on Feb. 12, 1982. He grew up in the Kamwokya slums in the northeast part of Kampala. His mother was a nurse, and his father was a veterinarian and farmer.Bobi is a singer, musician, actor and activist. He has campaigned for hospital sanitization, malaria prevention, refugees’ rights and children’s education. His songs are known as peaceful protest and edutainment (a mix between education and entertainment), focusing on the struggles of Uganda’s underprivileged and low-income earners and calling upon young people to join politics and change their country’s destiny. 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 earned from his prior artistic and philanthropic endeavors successfully endured his transition to politics. Bobi Wine continues to lead the NUP, the largest political opposition party in Uganda and has become the main opposition leader to President Museveni’s rule.
About the Subject – Barbara “Barbie” Itungo Kyagulanyi is an author, philanthropist and human rights activist. Barbie’s 2012 book, “Golden Memories of a Village Belle,” gives insight into her early childhood experiences with village politics and local council elections, her African family unit, and the abject poverty that led to the early marriages of her childhood friends. In 2013, Barbie founded Caring Hearts Uganda, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that seeks to champion development projects in rural areas, prioritizing health care, maternity, education and sanitary programs. The NGO supports empowering leadership in girls through HIV/AIDS eradication, menstrual hygiene instruction, and continuing education, teaching traditional Ugandan values while encouraging girls to stay in school. In the community, the NGO has extended entrepreneurship skills to teen mothers for personal development and sustainability. With a master’s degree in human rights law from the University of London, Barbie has taken on the mantle of demanding equity and equality for women in political spaces through the women’s wing of the National Unity Platform political party, which is led by her husband, Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
About the filmmaker – Christopher Sharp was born in Uganda and has a deep appreciation for the country’s people, culture and extraordinary natural beauty. He spent his early working life as a film editor in London and more recently has revisited the profession as director of ‘Bobi Wine: The People’s President’.He met Bobi and Barbie in 2017 and was inspired by their courage. Christopher believed in their extraordinary capacity to enact change, and instantly knew that their enormous sacrifice and resilience needed to be documented.He worked closely with a number of talented individuals, including Editor Paul Carlin, as well as acclaimed Producer John Battsek, Co-Director Moses Bwayo, and other inspirational cinematographers. Collectively they have made a film which he hopes gives courage to all those who struggle under oppressive regimes.
About the filmmaker – Moses Bwayo is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker known for shooting and co-directing the award-winning feature documentary “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (2023). Born in the village of Bududa on the slopes of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda, Moses was introduced to filmmaking by peeking through cracks in the walls of local kibandas, bootleg movie theatres housed in wooden shacks. In 2013, he graduated with honors with his Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication. Moses went on to earn a postgraduate diploma at Kampala Film School, the nation’s top film and television conservatory, and started working as a production sound recordist and cinematographer. His life changed when he met Oscar®-nominated director Mira Nair, who was facilitating a workshop for aspiring filmmakers at her Maisha Film Labs. He was chosen as a boom operator on Nair’s short documentary “A Fork, a Spoon and a Knight” (2014). Subsequently, Nair took Moses under her wing and mentored him for two years, during which he performed sundry jobs for Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” (2016), travelling to the United States for the first time for the final mix with Nair in New York. In 2016, Moses started his own production company in Kampala, Jajja Productions, where he oversaw production and post-production services on various commercial, documentary, and feature films. Moses’ reputation as a courageous verité cinematographer and local fixer began to grow, shooting for ABC, BBC, and VICE News for their Uganda-based productions. In late 2017 His life changed again when he began work on the feature documentary “Bobi Wine: The People’s President.” Working closely with co-director and producer Christopher, Moses spent five harrowing years following Bobi Wine, a pop star turned politician who ran for president opposing Yoweri Museveni, a dictator who has been in power since 1986. During the production, Moses was arrested, imprisoned, and shot in the face at close range while filming. Two-time Oscar winner John Battsek also produced the film. With mounting threats to him and his family for making the film, Moses fled Uganda to the United States.
“A universally relevant portrait … consistently potent” – The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Fienberg
“Gripping … An intimate portrait of a hugely engaging figure” – Screen Daily, Allan Hunter
“A shocking, tender work” – The Economist”
“This is a profile of unfathomable courage that deserves to be seen, in part to honor those who supported the film’s supply of footage and cannot be listed in the credits for fear of repercussion” – The Playlist
“His personality shines brightly throughout the film, which resonates with his hopeful protest songs. The more intensely violent situations he faces often turn the film into a nerve-shredding thriller.” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall