We Are One Film Festival: Day One
Online Screen Editor, Jim Norman, begins his coverage of the We Are One Film Festival with a look at Crazy World
In light of the outbreak of Covid 19, the world’s film festivals have been forced to close their doors, reluctant to engage mass gatherings of cinema lovers in what proves to be some of the biggest showcases of talent in the industry. But not all hope is lost. Following a collaboration between Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube, the We Are One Film Festival will be streaming a curated film programme from 29th May – 8th June. This streaming extravaganza includes a culmination of releases from Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, London, BFI, and many more film festivals, each contributing underseen features and a total of 13 world premiers.
In this recurring feature, I will be selecting my film of the day throughout the 10-day programme. Each film is available to stream on the We Are One YouTube channel for a week after its release.
Day one marked a stellar start to the festival, with the virtual doors opening on a whole host of Q&As, shorts, and feature films. Annecy and Tribeca film festival contributed a number of beautifully animated short films, and an engaging conversation with Jackie Chan was hosted in a festival section called ‘Cinema Café’.
Yet the real stars of the day came in the festivals two feature films: music documentary Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records, and the Ugandan gonzo action film, Crazy World. While the former employed beautiful camerawork and engaging re-inactions in order to document the rise and fall of the reggae and SKA production company, Trojan Records, in a manner both engaging and informative, it is 2019s Crazy World which established the tone of the day.
The action is exhausting and the narrative runs at a break-neck pace, yet it is difficult to criticise these issues due to the sheer ambition and palpable enjoyment that seeps from this project
The film, directed by the Ugandan gonzo action auteur, IGG Nabwana, is the latest in a line of no-budget self-conscious action films to fall under the title of a Wakaliwood production. As is common for the Wakaliwood mode of filmmaking, Crazy World is a high-octane kung-fu film with end to end action and a constant commentary from an offscreen narrator to guide the narrative and teach important life lessons. In this instalment, the film acts as a warning against child kidnapping when the infamous Tiger Mafia, led by the amusingly named ‘Mr. Big’, kidnap a group of children as they believe that their blood has fortune-enhancing capabilities. Yet the mafia slip up when they accidently kidnap da Waka Stars, a group of child kung-fu masters who use their martial arts and cunning wits to escape their kidnappers.
In usual Wakaliwood style, the film refuses to allow its lack of budget to limit its scope. Each action sequence contains as much blood, fighting, explosions and bullets as a Michael Bay film; yet IGG Nabwana’s action is brilliant precisely because of its garishness. The narrator’s running commentary of ‘Get him! Get him! Get him!’, ‘Uh oh!’, and ‘Kapow!’ provides each fight with the comical ingenuity of Adam West-era Batman.
As the eccentric narration suggests, Crazy World is as much about the making of the film as it is about the film itself. We are introduced to Nabwana himself, ‘Da world’s best director’, at the start of the film as he guides us around Wakaliwood. The film then progresses in this style, with the narrative stopping for us to hear from a comical side plot involving the ‘Piracy Patrol’, chasing people down who are illegally streaming the film. This forth wall breaking approach creates a joyous connection between viewer and filmmaker, in which each party appears equally grateful for the presence of the other.
Crazy World is in itself a crazy watch. The action is exhausting and the narrative runs at a break-neck pace, yet it is difficult to criticise these issues due to the sheer ambition and palpable enjoyment that seeps from this project. It is obvious that everyone involved is having the best time in the making of, what the narrator repeatedly refers to as, ‘Da best kidz movie eva’, and I certainly had the best time watching it, beaming from start to finish.