Bobi Wine: The People’s President

Bobi Wine’s original name: Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. Directors: Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo. Produced by National Geographic

This Oscar nominated documentary is a strong documentation of the suppression by the Ugandan dictatorship under President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986. All opposition is brutally knocked down by his police and military.

Documentation yes, but also a creative documentary where you follow the life of – during five years – Bobi Wine, who tries to change his country in a democratic direction. A true freedom fighter who has made his popularity as a pop singer, using lyrics to formulate protests against the regime. He enters the parliament, speaks against Museveni, when he makes a proposal to change the constitution so he as President can sit for another five years. Bobi and his opposition loses, when the proposal is voted upon, and the regime does all it can to keep Bobi Wine away from the public, who cheers him in big demonstrations. He is jailed, beaten up, as is many of his allies, he is moving around with crutches but decides to go to the US at a moment, where his life is in danger. Also to receive medical treatment.

He goes with his wife, wonderful Barbie, leaving the children at home, she goes home and he comes back only to be jailed again.

It is a film full of violent scenes balanced by moments that show the importance of the access the filmmakers have had to the home of Bobi and Barbie. In a great scene towards the end of the film, Bobi tells the children that they have to leave Uganda to live in the US for security reasons. It’s emotional and Bobi shows his charisma as he does, when he is out there with the supporting crowds. And when he does recordings in the studio of songs; one is of course called Freedom.

The film is built – apart from the tough reportage scenes from demonstrations in the streets – also through clips from different tv media and small reactions from Barbie, who in some cases are not allowed to have contact with her husband. But seems to support him from start till end of his fight for his people. A love story.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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