A UGANDAN FILMMAKER TO PRODUCE A FILM FOR DISNEY
BY: PAUL NDIHO
A Ugandan filmmaker is making his mark on the world stage and changing the narrative. He’s one of 14 filmmakers from six countries across the continent picked to create an anthology of short films for Disney
Raymond Malinga, 32-year-old, founded his company, Creatures Animation Studios, in 2015 after studying animation and visual effects in Malaysia. He had an ambitious plan to become the next Taylor Perry and tell the African story.
“The narrative in Africa has been you switch on the news right now, and I bet it’s something bad about Africa. But, there are like these small glimmers where people come up and say, ‘hey, that guy has invented an app, this guy has done this right,’ and I think we contribute to that conversation. So, what it means for us as the directors and for me is an opportunity to contribute to that conversation and, not only that, to take it further. Because the way I view it is that this is just a platform, but there is no reason why an African studio or an African individual cannot rise above Disney, cannot become bigger than them; I don’t see any reason why.”
His team operates out of a makeshift innovation village built from repurposed shipping containers in the capital Kampala. Their big break came in 2017 when they produced “A Kalabanda Ate My Homework.”
It was showcased at the Cannes Film Festival and won best animation film at the African International Film Festival.
That led to the current project – Disney’s “Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire.”
For Malinga, it’s a chance to provide African consumers with characters like themselves.
“When you start showing people themselves on screen, right? They can fall in love; they can get angry, they can advocate for change, they can be the hero, they can go to space; you start getting a new breed and crop of kids who start saying, ‘Why can’t I go to space too because I saw the other guy going to space.'”
‘Kizazi Moto’ premiers on Disney Plus later this year, but Malinga says he sees it as a platform for tremendous success.
“Of course, we lacked the money, you know, and it was quite difficult, but I have a mindset which is that you have to start from somewhere, and as long as I can prove that I can make one thousand shillings or one dollar, it just means that I can scale that and that and that’s just my perspective.”
After all, he says, there’s no reason why an African studio or individual cannot rise above Disney. And perhaps, every dream is valid.