TOPOWA! Never Give Up won “Best Music Documentary” at the Raindance Film Festival 2020, the UK’s largest independent film festival.
This documentary explores the transformative power of music for young artists in the Katwe region of Kampala. All have been involved in the Brass for Africa programme – a charity that provides musical education for disadvantaged children and young people in Uganda, Liberia and Rwanda. The 12 musicians featured in the film are members of a jazz band – Namugera Julius, Nabakooza Sumayya, Kamukama Tadeo, Mugisha Gilbert Bens, Kibuuka Ivan, Bagumirabingi Joseph Best, Bogere Emmanuel, Akampulira Bruce, Mwebe Julius, Nangobi Sharon Brenda, Nyombi Micheal Feston and Ssegawa Disan.
Together they tour the UK and rehearse with the great jazzman Wynton Marsalis. They even go so far as to play at Ronnie Scott’s iconic London jazz club and get a residency at the Cheltenham Music Festival. Through the camera we get a backstage glimpse of their first international tour and rehearsals, from the dusty dirt roads of the Katwe slum to the cobbled streets of London and the green fields of the Cheltenham festival. Throughout the documentary, TOPOWA! highlights the power of music to change lives and break down barriers between social classes and cultures. As inspiring as it is optimistic, it also reminds us of the need to create a better future for young people so that they are free to follow their dreams …
The film was produced and self-financed by PHIX FILM, which launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise funds for post-production costs.