Earnest Sserunya, a Wakaliwood film studio director, actor, and makeup artist, was detained on September 18, 2022 at Itanda, Jinja City, during the Nyege Nyege Festival.
Sserunya created a bloody make-up in a viral video that went popular on social media to demonstrate how wounds in movies are fabricated. He appeared to have a panga that had penetrated his stomach all the way up to his back and was pleading for medical help. This act irritated the police officers on the scene, who arrested him for performing risky acts without telling or requesting permission from them.
“As Pearlwood, we were invited to come and showcase what we do in film because Nyege Nyege is a music and culture festival. Sserunya’s makeup looked so real that when security saw it, the actor was arrested,” the general secretary of Pearlwood Julius Bwanika said.
The president of Pearlwood, Aisha Namatovu, requested that the actor be released, stating that he was only doing what he was good at. “Sserunya did bloody makeup to show how wounds are made in movies. This has been our custom, especially at such events where filmmakers engage their fans,” she said in a press release.
“Our humble appeal to Uganda Police Force is to release Mr. Sserunya Ernest as he is a humble citizen and an entertainer who was performing within the given areas,” Namatovu added.
Three days after his arrest, Sserunya was set free. When he was released, Sserunya stated that his act was to see how the police and the Red Cross would react in assisting someone who was hurt during the festival.
“I was curious to see how the police and Red Cross would react and how they could assist someone who was in danger, similar to how I had acted. They charged me with misrepresenting myself.” he said.
On not informing the Police about his act, Sserunya said that it wouldn’t have been a successful stunt if he had informed security prior.
“The truth is, If I had informed the police earlier before acting, I wouldn’t have got what I wanted because they would be aware of what I was going to do.”