Trip to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to shoot Katwe Corners for PVI-2017

From July 03 to July 14 2017 Peripheral Visions shot the second season of the Puppet series “Katwe Corners” at Wawene Studios in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The two weeks of shooting combined the talents of American puppeteers as well as Tanzanian puppeteers, artists, set and prop builders and costumers. The show is produced by Gosia Lukomska.




(second week click here)

Day One-

Puppeteers Lisa Buckley, David Feldman and I flew from New York to Tanzania on July 01, 2017 to perform on a new set of Katwe Corners films for Peripheral Visions International.

We have done quite a few of the Katwe Corners films in Brooklyn New York but this is the first time all of us have flown to Africa to do a video shoot, so we are all very excited.

Here are some early photos just to share what it’s like here in Tanzania.

Day Two-

First day of Shooting.

Our first day was productive and it introduced our new puppets and characters for Katwe Corners. It was great to work with a lot of the artists who attended the puppet workshop last year that Lisa and I did at Nafasi Art Space in Dar es Salaam.


Day Three-

Fourth of July 2017, Second Day of Shooting.

All is going well with the shoot. The three of are still a bit jet-lagged but getting into the groove. We are working with the Tanzanian puppeteers who attended the workshop Lisa and I facilitated last year. They are all very attentive and it is fun to see them doing puppets and demonstrating these strange new skills.

Day Four-

We continue to shoot Katwe Corners and still slowly acclimating to the time zone. David, Lisa and I work on our audio tracks at night when we are at the hotel. The dialogue has been pre-recorded because these are impromptu conversations about issues, but also because the language is Ugandan English. It is fun to listen to the characters and the discussions, but it takes us hours to memorize all of the dialogue and the other sounds that are a part of natural human speaking. Unlike the crisp, sharp deliberate and measured delivery an actor would give, real conversations have coughs, laughter in the middle of sentences, overlapping words, pauses for thought, and sentences that start a new idea before a previous sentence has finished. This is all part of normal speaking and it’s sometimes a challenge to really get all of the precise beats, but it is a fun challenge.

It is a delight to work with the Tanzanian puppeteers and watch them perform. They are helping us populate our scenes by playing background characters. This is often a great opportunity for play and discovery. Without having to worry about the audio track the characters can have more fun. Unlike normal productions with human actors the background characters on a puppet show are often the ones that get to do the funny stuff and give the scene a lot of visual life.


Day 5-

Shooting Day 4. All about the condom balloons today.




Day 6-

Friday. We are getting more used to the time zone which does make a difference in terms of concentration on learning the scripts and then performing precisely for the camera.

Today I had to convert one of our main characters into a “Muscle Man” character. I removed the features and moved the eyes, added a “6-pack” and a chest to the body and now we had a new character.



Second Week of Shooting-