Promoting low budget film making for minority
tribes in the developing world
Karamoja City Warriors
Animated and real life documentary film from Uganda 2011
by Simon Bird & Simon Lokai.
Next Festival screening:
The online Film Festival 'HUMANITY EXPLORED' at culture unplugged, starting in Dec 2012
Previous festival screenings:
'Amakula Caravan Film Festival', Uganda, Nov 2012
'Dokubazaar Independent Documentary Film Festival', Ljubljana, Slovenia, Sept 2011.
'Lola Kenya Screen International Childrens Film Festival' Nairobe, Kenya, Aug 2011, (animated sections of Karamoja Faces)
'Bukedde TV' Uganda & East Africa, July 2010.
“A quirky film about a real situation that the public in Kampala see on the street
'Baby International Film Festival', Kampala, Uganda, May 2010.
“Admirable and beautiful - I love the use of animation”.
Watch the Full Length Film On-line: English
Download the film to your PC, Ipod or mobile phone Download Page
Email- firstname.lastname@example.org for an original DVD download - free for educational purposes.
Watch - Karamoja Faces - 15 mins - EN Subs
This Educational Animated Short Film is created from the animated sections of 'Karamoja City Warriors' and is designed
for younger viewers - ages 5 to 13.
Read the article that inspired the film: Removing
Karamojong for CHOGM
As a result of 30 years of tribal conflict and famine the women of Karamojaland
have started trafficking children to the city for begging in order to survive. Described
by the City Council of Kampala as the ‘Karamoja Phenomenon’, the Government of
Uganda and UNICEF estimates up to 2500 Karamojong are on the streets of Kampala
- of which 90% are women with small children.
This documentary film follows the story of Lucia with her children in Kampala and
their return to Karamojaland. We talk to the City Council in Kampala, the MP for
central Karamojaland, elders from the village and let the women who are trafficking the
children justify themselves.
The film is combined with a 15 minute animated story, which is from the child’s
perspective. Animated pictures and story boards were created by Karamojong children
from Kisenyi Ghetto, Kampala.
More than 3 decades of armed inter-tribal cattle raiding and yearly famine were
the initial factors for this exodus to the city. In recent years, however, thanks to a new
Government Disarmament Program (started 2002) and the UN ‘World Food Program’,
the situation in Karamojaland has improved significantly. But, these improvements
have been slow to happen, allowing time for the women to get to know the city and to
start trafficking children for begging.
In the old days it was the men who were responsible for looking after the family and
gaining wealth through cattle raiding. Now, with the cattle raiding days coming to an
end, it is the women who are taking the initiative.
About the film making:
The whole project was designed to cost as little as possible, to demonstrate that
animation and video can be an affordable method of communication for tribal people
in the developing world. For example: we realised it was not necessary to shoot in HD
or widescreen, as our target audience in East Africa mostly have the old style (4:3)
Despite initial reticence towards filming, the Karamojong of Kisenyi Ghetto quickly
realised the film would help to dispel the idea that the Karamojong are a useless and
For the main character in the real life sections of the film Lucia Nayep was perfect;
she had never been to the city before and could express herself with confidence. She
was 24 years old, and, despite the fact she had borrowed two children from an uncle in
Karamojaland, she seemed a typical, honest and caring mother. This was important, as
it would balance the portrayal of the Karamojong women.
For the animation, we made sure the camera had a stop motion facility, as this
would give the street children the chance to see instant results from their work. By
organising painting workshops under a shelter in the ghetto we could let the children
express themselves more easily than with straight interviews. Then, by simply cutting
out the pictures and moving them bit by bit, we could assemble the animation without
too much technical difficulty. Some of the animation was created within the Ghetto
using rubbish from the surrounding area.
The small amount of money generated by the film has been used to help equip a
music and video editing studio in Karamojaland - ‘Seed recording studio’. The aim of
the studio is to allow the Karamojong to preserve their traditional songs, and also to
create new music.
Director & editor...
Simon Bird is a fine art painter, 40 years old. He specializes
in the interaction with different cultures, using art as a vehicle with which to
communicate and promote understanding. He has been working with the Karamojong
for 3 years, setting up arts based development programs, giving training, conducting
research and painting.
After Art College, Simon worked with problem children for Gloucester Arts
Centre, creating animation that was later shown on the TV program ‘Rolf Harris’s
Cartoon club’. For 15 years, on and off, he has travelled to many of the poorest countries
in the world, interacting and painting with the local people. Inspired from his travels,
Simon started the website 'Travelartist.info' to promote the use of art for raising
awareness about the developing world.
Simon Lokai has lived in Kisenyi Ghetto for 7 years. He
has worked for 2 years with an NGO registering women and children for school and
medical treatment, and for 3 years with Travelartist.info as a translator and research
assistant. In 2007 he started a business initiative called ‘Karamoja Design’, employing
the street women to make traditional Karamojong jewellery instead of begging. Now,
the business includes a music studio ‘Seed Recording Studio’ and is based in
Simon Lokai is 28 years old, his father is Karamojong and his mother is
Turkana. Before his parents died he was lucky enough to receive schooling in Nairobi,
so he can speak English, Kiswahili, Karamojong and Turkana. Simon is also, a talented
song writer and musician. All the sound tracks for the animation are from his first
album ‘Da Forgotten Warriors’, promoting peace and unity in Karamojaland, released
- Website - Karamoja Design a
development initiative in Uganda.
- Contact Simon Lokai -
Please feel free to leave your comments about the film - we
appreciate all feed back - Thank you...