The U.S. premiere of the compelling new documentary, Call Me Kuchu, will finally take place this weekend at the LA Film Fest. There will be two screenings of the film, which will be followed by a panel with Ugandan LGBT advocate and the film’s two directors, Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright. Additional US screenings are scheduled at other festivals through the month.
For the Ugandan LGBT community, the current struggle for basic human dignities is nothing short of a matter of life and death. The country’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” often dubbed by the media as the “Kill the Gays bill,” was re-introduced in the Ugandan Parliament in February of this year, just a little over a year after the gruesome murder of Ugandan LGBT rights advocate, David Kato. The film focuses on the life, activism, and murder of the movement’s leader, David Kato, and documents the struggles of the Ugandan LGBT community, including the movement against the anti-gay bill.
First-time directors, Zouhali-Worrall and Wright were drawn to the crisis faced by the LGBT community in Uganda after reading about the anti-gay bill in 2009. Shortly after, the two were on a flight to Uganda to begin work on the project, which was soon centered on Kato, one of the first Ugandans to be publicly out, as the film’s protagonist. Zouhali-Worrall explains that after Kato’s murder, they had a newfound sense of urgency to complete the project; “We had essentially documented the entire last year of his life, and since his life was cut short, we had been filming during a time when he was at the pinnacle of his activism, when his philosophies and oration were most concrete and well-formulated…Therefore, both of us felt the responsibility to honor his life by making the best film we could…”
After its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, the film has been the recipient of multiple awards and well-deserved praise. Call Me Kuchu will be a part of numerous upcoming film festivals in the States and abroad. These screenings will continue to help raise much-needed awareness for the plight of the LGBT community in Uganda. The film will be featured at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco on June 19th, and at the Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival in Maryland on June 20th and 22nd. At the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City, the film is highlighted in the festival’s closing night screening on June 28th. The film is also a part of the Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival, the UK’s Sheffield Doc/Fest, and London’s East End Film Festival. Be sure to catch it if it comes through your city, and check out the film’s trailer below.