Roger Ross Williams: 'They Tried to Pray the Gay Away'

1.22.2013

By Jerry Portwood

'God Loves Uganda' director was outed while making the film

After Roger Ross Williams read about Uganda’s contentious antigay bill, the Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker decided to travel to the developing country and explore the connection between American Evangelicals and the bill, which originally proposed a death penalty to gay people. The result is the documentary, God Loves Uganda, which will probably make you question the way you look at missionary work differently from now on.

The doc, which premiered at Sundance, has already been called the "most terrifying film of the year," and as Williams explains in an interview on the fest's site, there are other harrowing encounters that weren't in the final product, including when he was outed as gay himself while interviewing subjects. 

"We didn’t talk about me being gay, but there was one hairy moment when the Ugandans found out. I was outed, so to speak, in Uganda when I was invited to dinner at the home of an antigay pastor. I was terrified...

Someone who wanted to expose me sent them an email that said I’m gay. They’d pulled an interview I’d done from the Internet. The Ugandans said, 'We love you and we want to pray for you and cure you.' ”

The filmmaker says that some of the Ugandans refused to believe it since they had met him and has no personal conflict with him. As he discovered, "I think a lot of the Evangelical Americans and Ugandans believe if they pray hard enough they can pray the gay away," but since the film is about a bigger idea, Williams left these details out of the final film.

Watch the trailer below:



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