The documentary, from directors Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo, follows the career and life of Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Afrobeats pop star Bobi Wine, who is using his fame — and music — to shine a spotlight on corruption in his home country. Since his move into politics —Wine last year ran for president, challenging the authoritarian leadership of Ugandan leader Yoweri Kaguta Museveni — the singer has survived beatings and an assassination attempt. But he has not been bowed.
“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,” said Wine. “I can’t wait for global audiences to see the reality of the situation and question their leaders’ support for this regime.”
National Geographic snatched up Bobi Wine: Ghetto President after its world premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival and ahead of its US bow at Telluride today. Wine, who was in Venice to promote the film, will be at the US premiere as well, and will give a live musical performance in the center of town on Sunday night.
National Geographic plans to tour Bobi Wine: Ghetto President across global festivals throughout the rest of the year and release it in theaters in 2023.
“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.”
Previous releases from National Geographic Documentary Films include the Oscar-winning Free Solo and Oscar-nominated The Cave, the adventure biography Becoming Cousteau on the life of famous explorer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau, and Ron Howard’s 2020 documentary Rebuilding Paradise, about the attempts to rebuilt the Sierra Nevada town Paradise, California after devastating wildfires.