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Uganda police raided queer film festival, so it went underground

Secret screening of QKIFF. (Photo courtesy of Kamoga Hassan)
Secret screening at the Queer Kampala International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Kamoga Hassan)

A Ugandan police raid shut down the Queer Kampala International Film Festival on Dec. 9, but its organizers had the last laugh. The festival returned three weeks later — in secret.

Festival organizer Kamoga Hassan, also known as Miracle / Mirakel, reports:

Despite the setback we had on 9 December when the police shut down our event without any legal basis, we organized a defiance screening. We showed all the films we didn’t show last time. [See schedules for Dec. 9 and Dec. 10.]

Logo of the Queer Kampala International Film Festival.
Logo of the Queer Kampala International Film Festival.

Thank you to our brave festival participants who came out in force for the rescheduled screenings and debates on 28-29 December. Big thanks to all our 2017 sponsors and partners. Together we made history.

For those of you who did not make it to our screenings, we want to inform you that we are trying to negotiate with our 2017 filmmakers to extend the rights they gave us so that we can bring these educational films to your communities as part of our monthly community film screenings. We will also be able to screen some films on our new secure online viewing platform.

For updates about our monthly activities or the annual QueerKIFF event in December, please join our Facebook page or you can as well subscribe on our website.

The festival received US $10,758 in financial support from an online fund drive.

Mamba Online reported about the Dec. 9 raid:

There was no legal justification for the police action, the organisers noted. “There is nothing illegal [about] watching educational films and organising a platform for debate about LGBT rights in Uganda.”

The raid followed the police crackdown against Pride Uganda in August when organisers and participants were threatened with arrest by the police, forcing its cancellation.

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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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