After spending over five years in the making, the long-awaited Ugandan film, Bullion, is finally set to premiere this Saturday at the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo.
There had been fears the project was abandoned shortly after entering production back in 2009, but audience hopes were revived last year when the film’s rough cut made it into the inaugural Uganda Film Festival (UFF).
Despite lacking sound effects and proper coloring, the film’s raw version interestingly struck a chord with the audience and critics alike, even earning a spot on this blog’s 25 must-watch Ugandan films of all time.
The film has since undergone a series of edits and re-edits to make it more appealing in preparation for this weekend’s premiere as its producer, Henry Ssali, explained in a recent interview.
“A few Ugandan producers care to add glitz to their productions like I do,” Ssali boasted of his late ‘90s-set film, citing a low budget as being the core reason behind its delayed release.
Despite receiving a ‘generous’ sponsorship package from tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia, Ssali and team were left battling debts due to the film’s huge production budget accruing from usage of cutting-edge technology and an all-star cast.
He is however looking to rely on the film’s solid plot, great acting and extensive social media-based promotion campaign to draw audiences to Munyonyo on Saturday.
The second production credit from Ssali after he burst into the film scene in 2008 with the drama-comedy Kiwani, Bullion was written by Billy Ashaba (S.R.B) and directed by the acclaimed dramatist, Philip Luswata.
It tells a fascinating story of a young bullion van driver and familyman who takes to crime in order to finance his dying daughter’s heart surgery.
He’s lured into a plot to carjack and rob the van by a group of sleek thieves and co-workers, but things take a drastic twist when he’s double-crossed and thrown into jail to serve a lengthy term.
The film stars Allan Tumusiime (Kiwani) as the driver, with the Kenyan actor and Makutano Junction star Ainea Ojiambo as the villain – a duplicitous and smooth-talking gang leader.
It also boasts a strong supporting cast, including the likes of Veronica Tindi; Ann Kansiime; Juliana Kanyomozi; Laura Kahunde; Micheal Wawuyo Sr; Micheal Wawuyo Jr; Wilberforce Mutete and Muwawu Gwayambadde among others.
And although the film’s trailer doesn’t give away much, it does offer some insights into the crime-themed thriller with its fast-paced and gritty action sequences. And that’s the kind of professionalism Ssali hopes to bring to the budding industry.
“My target is to do a film that meets international standards on all fronts in the near future,” he says, revealing he was partly inspired to start making movies after watching the Oscar-winning The Last King of Scotland, which chronicles Idi Amin’s eccentrics.
A prominent journalist with Daily Monitor and co-owner of Asylum Bar in Kireka, Ssali says storytelling comes naturally to him. He had initially set out to write books, but soon ditched that dream for filmmaking after discovering that Ugandans have a poor reading culture.
Now, he’s looking to cement his mark on the industry once Bullion hits the big screen in the grandest of fashions, with the sprawling Munyonyo terraces playing host to the red-carpet fete.
At a uniform fee of Shs30,000, moviegoers will enjoy an all-round VIP treatment including a sumptuous cocktail and entertainment from top local artistes. Gates will open at 6pm, and guests are implored to dress for the event with tuxedos and ballroom dresses as the favored attires. To book tickets, please call 0776060481.