Ugandan film focuses on fatal effects of anti-gay media

Poster for
Poster for “Outed”

Ugandan film director Hassan Kamoga, also known as Miracle, has created a drama about LGBT people who are killed after newspapers label them publicly as gay, as happened to activist David Kato in 2011.

The movie, titled simply “Outed,” was greeted warmly at its Ugandan premiere in February, Kuchu Times reported.

Kamoga explained that the fictional story was based on actual events in Uganda.  The main character, Vida, is killed by a mob after his face appears in a list of outed homosexuals in a local tabloid. The mob’s reason for its action: to send a message that in African culture homosexuality is a curse.

Kuchu Times said many in the audience were touched by the film because they have faced similar experiences after being outed — being attacked by mobs, evicted by landlords, disowned by families, fired from jobs, expelled from school, and rejected by friends.

Polly Kamukama on the Denis Nzioka website and on the blog The Critic reported on the film and the work that led to its creation:

“I started doing research for this film in 2011 but didn’t get the courage to bring it to life until last year when one of my gay friends was brutally murdered by a mob after he was outed by one of the tabloids,” the film’s director, Hassan Kamoga alias Miracle, told this blog in an exclusive interview last week.

The 28-year-old filmmaker who is reluctant to disclose his own sexuality said that the mob falsely accused his friend of stealing a boda boda to justify their barbarity.

Kamoga thus decided to centre his film on a fictional character, Vida, a young secretly homosexual man enjoying a successful career in advertising.

After his personal details and sexuality are revealed in the media, Vida’s life turns tragic as he loses his job, gets kicked out of a house he rents and is brutally persecuted by law enforcers.

Hassan Kamoga, also known as Miracle (Photo courtesy of The Critic)
Hassan Kamoga, also known as Miracle (Photo courtesy of The Critic)

“We hope this will generate some fresh intellectual debate about the general status of gay people in Uganda particularly about the role of media in escalating their plight,” Kamoga said of his vision for the low-budget picture that stars 25-year-old actor Jeffery Agaba in the lead role.

A straight man, Agaba leads a ragtag cast of novice actors including activists and other members of the Ugandan LGBTI community in this daunting story that boasts great aesthetics.

The project however suffered major setbacks during production as everyone seemed not to want anything to do with a ‘gay’ film.

Kamoga has told of how he was forced to keep the whole production process [secret] after some people accused him of peddling gay agenda. He also said many actors and partners had to pull out of the project out of fear for their own safety.

But with a self-funded shoestring budget of less than 10 million Ugandan shillings [about US $3,400] and a few willing individuals, Kamoga and team weathered the storm and made the film that has already been hailed by the international community and gay rights activists. …

Among the prominent ones is “Call Me Kuchu,” a semi-biopic on the slain gay rights pioneer David Kato, and “God Loves Uganda,” a tale of how American evangelists are fueling gay hatred in the country.

“Outed” has so far had one special screening in Kampala, and its producers are looking at touring gay-themed festivals across the world.

For more information, read the full article in The Critic or on the Denis Nzioka website.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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