Four LGBT Ugandans fight for justice and freedom on the frontlines of Africa's gay rights movement.
>>> FUNDRAISING UPDATE <<<
Wow! We are thrilled and honored by the response so far to the Call Me Kuchu fundraising campaign. After five weeks, we have more than 230 backers and we've surpassed our $10,000 goal! BIG THANKYOUS to everyone who has donated and/or helped spread the word about the film.
Of course, we're going to need a lot more than $10,000 to finish Call Me Kuchu, and we still have a few days to go on Kickstarter, so if you haven't yet made a donation and you're considering it, please do! Everything we raise beyond our $10,000 goal will be invested in one of the many other crucial post-production costs we're going to face in the coming months, such as hiring a composer or a sound editor. Oh, and we still have some great rewards to give away!
>>> REWARDS UPDATE <<<
Check out our latest and greatest reward offerings below, kindly donated by the senior bartender and the former pickle chef of the Michelin-star rated Gramercy Tavern, acclaimed chef and food writer Julia Turshen and the directors of the Broadway show STOMP!
ABOUT THE FILM
“They kept on saying we are not here – but of late, we are here.”
-- David Kato
We've been documenting the lives of Uganda's LGBT activist community for more than a year. Now we need YOUR support to help us start editing this important film and bring their stories to as wide an audience as possible. Take a look at the video above, which provides a taster of Call Me Kuchu using footage from our very first shoot in Uganda. If you like what you see then please read on!
ABOUT THE FILM
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?
Call Me Kuchu is currently in the final stages of production, and the early stages of post-production. We expect to be at a rough cut stage by Fall 2011.
WHY DO WE WANT TO MAKE THIS FILM?
During our first days in Kampala, Member of Parliament David Bahati told us: “There is no longer a debate in Uganda as to whether homosexuality is right or not. It is not a human right.” Indeed, as we began researching this film in Kampala we were tempted to believe him. But soon after we met David, one of the first publicly gay men in Uganda, we were shown a very different reality - a reality we were compelled to explore because it seemed to be largely ignored by the international media. While LGBT Ugandans do suffer physical and psychological harassment daily, what intrigued us more was the fact that Kampala’s kuchu activists have, contrary to Bahati’s claim, actually succeeded in generating a modest but genuine debate in Uganda’s public sphere, and even started to change the country’s discriminatory status quo (of which the recent court injunction against a Ugandan tabloid is but one example). In Kampala we discovered a story that, while terribly heartbreaking, goes far beyond the chronicle of victimization told by the international news media. We discovered a nuanced and hopeful tale about a sophisticated and courageous LGBT activist community emerging from the underground to protest homophobia in its country. Call Me Kuchu tells this story through candid and intimate portraits, human stories of both empowerment and persecution that we hope will inspire the empathy and understanding necessary to bolster the debate already started by Kampala’s kuchus.
WHY ARE WE FUNDRAISING?
Making a documentary film takes an enormous amount of resources, time and effort, so we need your help to bring Call Me Kuchu closer to completion. Having just returned from our third shoot in Uganda, we are going to sit down with all our footage from the past year and spend the next few months editing a fundraising trailer and a rough cut. All funds raised on Kickstarter will be spent on crucial editing expenses, such as equipment rental, purchasing harddrives to store and backup our HD footage, translating many hours of material, and so on.
SO HOW DOES THIS KICKSTARTER THING WORK?
RULE #1: YOU MAKE A DONATION, YOU GET A REWARD!
Take a look at the rewards listed to the right, including tickets for a Broadway show and custom sneakers, and see what takes your fancy. Once funding is completed, your name will appear on the supporters page of our website, and we will send you any other rewards as soon as possible. (We will also be in contact with you about your shipping address, so if you want to gift your reward to someone, you can just reply to us with their name and address.)
RULE #2: IF WE DON’T RAISE OUR TARGET AMOUNT BY THE DEADLINE, WE DON’T GET ANYTHING (BOOOOO!)
If we are even a dollar short of our goal by the time our deadline comes around, everyone’s donations will be refunded and no rewards handed out! PLEASE help us prevent this from happening!
RULE #3: IF WE RAISE MORE THAN OUR TARGET AMOUNT BEFORE THE DEADLINE, WE GET TO KEEP IT ALL (HURRAH!)
Our $10,000 goal is just a small part of the money we need to raise to complete this film, and Kickstarter allows you to raise as much as is donated before the deadline. Any more dollars raised will go directly towards other crucial post-production costs, such as hiring a composer, sound editor, and so on.
***YOUR DONATION CAN BE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE***
If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more, please contact Director/Producer Malika Zouhali-Worrall at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to make your donation through our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor.
WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR FUNDING UNTIL THIS POINT?
For the first six months, we funded this film from our personal bank accounts. But more recently, we have been honored to receive a number of grants including the Chicken & Egg Pictures “I Believe in You” grant, the Garrett Scott Documentary Development grant, Frameline, and the Catapult Film Fund, among others. But as we've already said, making a film ain't cheap, and while these grants have been essential in allowing us to get to where we are today, they’ve only covered a fraction of our costs (and at least one of our grants won’t pay up until we show we can raise more money!). Your donation will make all the difference.
...SO JOIN US!
We accept donations from as little as $1, and we appreciate anything that you can give, so join our growing community of supporters and help us bring this important story to audiences around the world.
HOW CAN YOU HELP FURTHER?
Spread the word by linking to our Kickstarter campaign on your Facebook profile and Twitter feed, and tell your friends and family.
We'd love to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
And THANK YOU!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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