Like anybody who starts their own creative venture, there are times when I doubt the relevance of my work. Some days I look at No Borders Magazine and think ’What am I doing this for? What is its purpose?’
And yet, I left ’Call Me Kuchu’ feeling more assured than ever that my purpose, and my responsibly, as the editor of a publication is to help spread the word about issues that really matter. Achieving equal human rights for gay people in Uganda, matters. The documentary follows a ’Kuchu’ (gay) group in Uganda as they fight for exactly this.
As they speak out against the rampant homophobia in Uganda, fuelled by American religious fundamentalists and their own media’s anti-gay propaganda, we see the true implications on their everyday lives. Shunned by their families and friends, those brave enough to ‘come out’ live in constant fear of violent attacks.
The group is headed by David Kato, a kind and determined man, who was tragically killed last year in a savage homophobic attack. His life and death are both heavily featured and he is very much the protagonist, both within the film and with regards to the real life issue.
His death catapulted the Ugandan gay rights issue into the international spotlight, but you can’t help but wonder why it had to come to that.
Despite the portrayal of daily struggles, there are beautiful, joyful moments that show this marginalised community as strong, defiant and optimistic for a better future. The subjects of the documentary are incredibly open about their emotions and background stories. By the end you feel as if you know them personally.
It’s a well-rounded and extremely moving contribution by Dirctors, Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, who compile the film with excellent balance, compassion and criticism. But, first and foremostly,’Call Me Kuchu’ leaves the audience with a powerful feeling of injustice and need for change. It’s no wonder that it has won a number of awards at film festivals. After all, what else should a world issue’s documentary make you feel, if not a personal involvement with the problem and (more importantly) the solution.
Written by Francesca Bassenger, images courtesy of callmekuchu.com