The Most Moving Doc of the Summer
By Mike Berlin
Photo: Courtesy of the filmmakers
Uganda has come under intense international scrutiny for a yet-to-be-passed bill that, at one point in its drafting, would have made homosexuality punishable by death. It remains one of the most antigay countries in the world. Which makes Call Me Kuchu, a documentary by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall that follows a close-knit community of LGBT Ugandans, so remarkable, engrossing, and important.
The first-time directors, who started shooting in early 2010 in Kampala, were first granted access to the (largely underground) local gay scene through David Kato, a native activist often referred to as Uganda’s first openly gay man. But in 2011, as they were planning a follow-up trip, Kato was brutally murdered in his home. “We had to drop everything and just fly straight out there and document a very different story,” says Zouhali-Worrall, “which was the impact of his death on the rest of the community.”
The completed film -- a powerful testament to Kato’s life and a riveting exposé of the malevolent influence of Western evangelists in Uganda -- hit the global festival circuit last year, garnering no fewer than 18 awards, including Best Documentary at the Berlin Film Festival. It’s also gained support from unexpected audiences, Wright notes. “A very manly man came up to me,” she says of one screening in the Midwest, “and said, ‘I’m a big fat Christian from Missouri and I love this film.’ He’s an example of someone who’s started to rethink the way his church is treating other human beings.”
Call Me Kuchu opens June 14 in NY/ June 21 in LA. Watch the trailer below: