National Geographic Documentary Films Announces Theatrical Release for Festival Favorite Bobi Wine: The People’s President, Starting July 28

Hailed as ‘A Portrait of Unfathomable Political Courage,’ Documentary Follows Ugandan Music Sensation and Opposition Leader Bobi Wine in His Fight for Democracy

Creative Team Includes Producer of Multiple Academy Award-winning Films John Battsek and First-Time Filmmakers Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp


WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#bobiwinethepeoplespresident–Today, National Geographic Documentary Films announced the July 28 theatrical release of BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT, the award-winning feature documentary debut from directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp and produced by Christopher Sharp, alongside two-time Academy Award winner John Battsek’s Ventureland. In partnership with Variance Films, the documentary will open in theaters in New York and Los Angeles starting July 28 before rolling out to additional markets, followed by National Geographic Channel and Disney+ later this year.

“A shocking, tender work” (The Economist), BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT follows Bobi Wine, who was born in the slums of Kampala and became one of Uganda’s most popular musical talents the country has ever seen. In the midst of the violence, corruption and injustice of the ruthless regime led by Yoweri Museveni, Bobi decides to become the Ugandan opposition leader in the much-disputed 2021 presidential election.

Using his music to denounce the dictatorial regime and support his life’s mission to defend the oppressed and the voiceless people of Uganda, Bobi risks his life and the lives of his wife, Barbie, and their children to take on the country’s corrupt police and military, who are not afraid to use violence and torture in a vain attempt to intimidate and silence Bobi and his supporters.

“Being born and raised in Uganda, I feel strongly that the people there should have leaders who represent their collective interests. After meeting Bobi and Barbie I was compelled to share their story with the world — a story of courage and bravery in the face of merciless violence. My hope is that the film will encourage all those who suffer under autocratic regimes to continue the fight for freedom,” said Sharp, co-director.

Currently seeking political asylum in the U.S., co-director Bwayo stated, “It is incredibly gratifying to share the story of my motherland, Uganda, during a time in history when a brave group of individuals led by Bobi Wine dared to dream of a different future for our country against a 35-year military dictatorship. The fight for a truly democratic society continues, but it demands tremendous sacrifice; I only hope this struggle for change brings a breath of fresh air that Uganda urgently needs.”

BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, where critics raved, calling it “a portrait of unfathomable political courage” (The Playlist) and “an intimate portrait of a hugely engaging figure” (Screen International), with Variety noting that the film “startles with its immediacy.”

The film went on to screen at the 2022 Telluride Film Festival, BFI London International Film Festival, IDFA and The Hamptons International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. It has continued to shine on the festival circuit in 2023 with sold-out showings at True/False, CPH: DOX, Millennium International Documentary Film Festival, taking home two of the festival’s coveted statues — the Audience Award in International Competition as well as the Human Rights Award. Additional awards the film has picked up this year include the Audience Award for Documentary Feature at the Boston International Film Festival as well as the Special Jury Award at the 2023 Blue Water Awards.

The film will host its New York premiere screening with a special performance by Bobi at Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage on July 27, in partnership with Rooftop Films.

“Bobi and Barbie’s courage and unwavering commitment to bringing democracy to the people of Uganda is hugely inspiring,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Scripted and Documentary Films for National Geographic. “We hope audiences around the world will be moved by their powerful journey.”

National Geographic Documentary Films has multiple award-winning films under its banner, including the Academy Award, BAFTA and seven-time Emmy® Award-winning “Free Solo,” the Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated and Peabody and Sundance Award-winning “Fire of Love,” and the Academy Award and Emmy Award-nominated “The Cave”. Other critically acclaimed films in its collection include BAFTA nominees “The Rescue” and “Becoming Cousteau,” the Sundance and Peabody Award-winning “The Territory,” three-time Emmy Award winner “The First Wave,” Emmy winners “LA 92” and “Jane,” and the short film “The Flagmakers”.

About National Geographic Documentary Films

National Geographic Documentary Films is committed to bringing the world premium, feature documentaries that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the very best documentary filmmakers in the world. National Geographic Documentary Films is part of a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society. Our diverse films reach millions worldwide across National Geographic channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO) and direct-to-consumer platforms Disney+ and Hulu. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 135 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. Recent films include the Academy Award ® and BAFTA nominated “Fire of Love,” three-time Emmy Award winner “The First Wave,” two-time Sundance award-winner “The Territory,” BAFTA nominees “The Rescue” and “Becoming Cousteau,” and Academy Award® and BAFTA winner “Free Solo”. For more information visit, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

About Southern Films

Southern Films was founded by Christopher Sharp for the initial purpose of producing the documentary: Bobi Wine The People’s President. Southern Films will continue to develop projects that tell stories that expose injustice and celebrate those who stand in the face of adversity.

About Ventureland

Ventureland is an independent creative studio that specializes in developing original entertainment properties that span traditional and emerging media platforms, including theatrical, streaming, podcasts, and more. Founded by Academy Award-winning producer John Battsek (The Rescue, Listen to Me Marlon, Searching for Sugar Man) and PrettyBird partners Kerstin Emhoff, Ali Brown, and Paul Hunter, Ventureland collaborates with acclaimed filmmakers and the world’s top studios to deliver award-winning film and TV.

About Variance Films

Founded in 2008, Variance Films is a US-based specialty theatrical distributor dedicated to bringing the best movies from around the world to theaters across North America. Variance works with established companies to execute or augment their own theatrical releases, as well as collaborates directly with filmmakers wishing to take charge of their own distribution.

Recent Variance theatrical releases include SS Rajamouli’s Academy Award® winning sensation “RRR”, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Academy Award® winning “Drive My Car” (for Sideshow/Janus Films), Park Chan-wook’s “Decision to Leave” (for Mubi), and Jerzy Skolimowski’s “EO” (for Sideshow/Janus Films). Past Variance releases include the debut features from Eliza Hittman, Damien Chazelle, and Terence Nance, as well as films from Spike Lee, John Sayles, Dave Grohl, and Zhang Yimou.

In 2023, Variance was named to Fast Company’s prestigious Most Innovative Companies list for its “auteur-friendly approach” that transforms its releases “into the kind of theatergoing events one might expect from a Marvel blockbuster”. Connect with Variance at Twitter, Instagram, and Bluesky.



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