National Geographic Documentary Films has acquired Bobi Wine: The People’s President, which premiered at Venice Film Festival under the working title Bobi Wine: Ghetto President, from directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp. The documentary which is playing at Telluride Film Festival over the Labor Day weekend, charts the rise of the pop star-turned-politician seeking to end Uganda’s brutal dictatorship. National Geographic will rollout Bobi Wine: The People’s President at global festivals including London Film Festival throughout the rest of the year and release it in theaters in 2023.
Born in the slums of Kampala, Wine, Ugandan opposition leader, former member of parliament, activist and national superstar musician, risks his life to fight the ruthless regime led by Yoweri Museveni. Museveni has been in power for 35 years and changed Uganda’s constitution to enable himself to run for yet another five-year term.
Running in the country’s 2021 presidential elections, Wine (whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu) uses his music to denounce the dictatorial regime and support his life mission to defend the voiceless. In this fight, where he is joined by his wife Barbie, he must also take on the country’s police and military, who are not afraid to use violence and torture in an attempt to intimidate and silence him and his supporters.
The film’s working title comes from Wine himself, a term he has 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 be a champion for inclusive government and an advocate for all of Uganda’s people.
“My people, the Ugandan people, are familiar with my journey through music, politics, imprisonment and torture, but this film is a microcosm of my country’s larger struggles under an unrelenting dictatorship that has been operating with impunity for decades. I can’t wait for global audiences to see the reality of the situation and question their leaders’ support for this regime,” Wine said.
“Bobi and his wife Barbie are once-in-a-lifetime heroes who take great personal risk to dislodge and liberate a nation from a ruler who has been in power for 35 years,” said directors Bwayo and Sharp. “As documentary filmmakers, we are occasionally fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to relate events that can bring about transformation. We believe that this is one of those occasions.”
“At a time when people’s most basic human rights are being threatened around the world, including in the United States, Bobi Wine’s activism on behalf of all Ugandans is hugely inspiring, gripping and necessary. We are honored to help bring this beautiful and important film to the world.”