I AM SAMUEL tells of love and family acceptance in Kenya

GLAAD is a proud Presenting Partner of the I AM SAMUEL digital screening and live Q&A with Human Rights Watch Film Festival. I AM SAMUEL was directed by Pete Murimi, produced by Toni Kamau, and executive produced by Roger Ross Williams, Judy Kibinge, and Peter Mudamba. 

I AM SAMUEL revolves around a young man named Samuel growing up in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He is close to his mother but his father, a local pastor, doesn’t understand why he isn’t married yet. After moving to Kenya's capital, Nairobi, in search of work and a new life, Samuel falls in love with Alex and finds community and belonging. Their love thrives despite the fact that Kenyan laws criminalize anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+. Despite threats of violence and rejection, Samuel and Alex move between their co-existing worlds, hoping to win acceptance in both.

Two black men in casual clothes walk through a light forest path together. They are both carrying plastic bags with goods inside. The man on the left has his arm on the shoulder of the other man.

From the words of director Pete Murimi: "This is a love story of two men, Samuel and Alex, who are deeply committed to each other. It is also a film about the resilience of love between father and son. Samuel’s relationship with his father is very similar to my relationship with my father. Both our deeply traditional African fathers had expectations of us that we could not fulfil. In my case, my dad wanted me to have children of my own and go into business, rather than filmmaking. Samuel’s father, Redon, was desperate for him to marry a woman and live the same kind of life as him - as a farmer, pastor, husband and father."

Producer Toni Kamau also shares, "I AM SAMUEL is an incredible testament to the power of love, African family and acceptance. And it's a really intimate look at the layered life of Samuel, who allowed us to film with him, his community and family for five years. The LGBTQ+ community is "otherised" by most of African society. We truly feel that I AM SAMUEL will help create bridges of understanding."

An African father is tutoring his daughter in a small, dimly lit room. A portable electric lamp set on the table is the only light source.

Screening for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival will run from June 11th to 20th. The tickets are available here.

The screening for I AM SAMUEL will take place on June 14th beginning at 2:15pm PDT, with a Q&A to follow at 3:30pm. Register here for the Q&A.