Call Me Kuchu is a documentary in the final stages of production, and the early stages of post-production. A rough-cut is expected to be a available by Fall 2011. Here is the synopsis:
Fear permeates the daily lives of Kampala’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, or “kuchus.” Newspapers scream such headlines as, “HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City,” and a sodomy conviction all too often results in a prison sentence.
On the outskirts of town, in a small, unmarked office at the end of a dirt track, subsistence farmer and veteran activist David Kato labors to repeal Uganda’s homophobic laws and liberate his fellow kuchus. But David’s formidable task just became exponentially harder: a new “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” in Uganda’s Parliament proposes a prison sentence for anyone who fails to turn in a gay family member, and, having christened Uganda ground zero in their war on the “homosexual agenda,” U.S. evangelicals now frequent the church halls and universities of Kampala to hold prayer rallies and ordain local bishops. As if this weren’t enough, photos of David’s friend Stosh, an HIV+ transman, are plastered across a local tabloid, forcing him into hiding. In the midst of this chaos, it falls to the indignant and foulmouthed David, along with an idiosyncratic clan of fellow activists, to fight for Kampala’s kuchus in the press, in the churches, and in the courts, where they launch a landmark lawsuit against a gay-bashing tabloid.
Until just two months ago, this was what our film was about. Then, on January 26th, 2011, the unthinkable happened: David was brutally murdered in his home. We were devastated by the news and returned to Uganda immediately. Over the past year, David had become a friend to both of us and a supporter of Call Me Kuchu, so we felt a natural duty to capture the response to his death, which marked a terrible and tragic loss for human rights activism in Uganda and around the world. We spent six weeks documenting the immediate impact of David’s death on the kuchu community and the beginning of the trial of the suspect in his murder.
With unprecedented access to a tumultuous year – both hopeful and tragic – for this small band of kuchus, Call Me Kuchu examines the astounding courage and determination required not only to battle an oppressive government, but also to maintain religious conviction in the face of the contradicting rhetoric of a powerful national church. As we paint a rare portrait of an activist community and its antagonists, our key question explores the concept of democracy: In a country where a judiciary increasingly recognizes the rights of individual kuchus, yet a popular vote and daily violence threaten to eradicate their rights altogether, can this small but spirited group bring about the political and religious change it seeks?