By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 30, 2014 at 3:50PM
3 - It's one of two recent high-profile documentaries on LGBT rights in Uganda - the other being Call Me Kuchu, directed by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, which documents the daily lives of David Kato – the first openly gay Ugandan man - and three fellow “kuchus” (LGBT Ugandans).
I'll also add Wanuri Kahiu's Jambula Tree, a South African-Kenya co-production currently in development, which also puts a spotlight on the treatment of LGBTs in Uganda. Although Kahiu's film is a work of fiction, based on a short story that won the Caine Prize for short stories in 2007.
Roger Ross Williams' feature documentary and feature directorial debut God Loves Uganda tracks the Ugandan pastors and their American counterparts who spread "God’s word" and evangelical values to impressionable millions in the title country. The film is inspired by Williams' own roots in the African American Baptist church, as he says he sought to explore a place where religion and African culture intersect, adding further:
"I am interested in the exploration of religion in Africa, with the goals of understanding and healing. I am the son of a pastor, the brother of a pastor and I spent my life growing up singing in the gospel choir of my family church. I want to get to know, and comprehend African cultural views. I want to explore the Western media’s portrayal of Africa. I want to know what it is about the lives of the Ugandan people which inspires such deep faith. I want to make a film possessing complexity and depth."
This narrative is reminiscent of a period in African history when Europeans, believing themselves superior, used their religion as a way into the minds and hearts of many, leading to a series of grave and disruptive consequences that are still very much of influence on the status quo today.
God Loves Uganda was produced by Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman. The film is a co-production of Full Credit Productions, Motto Pictures, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS).
Williams' last film, the Zimbabwe-set Music by Prudence, won the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Short. The award made Williams the first African American to win an Oscar for directing and producing a film, short or feature (trivia!).