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Arts: Human Rights Watch Film Festival



Call Me Kuchu

I am certain most of you know about the wonderful Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park. Not every city has a space designed to collect and present the finest examples of photographic art, spanning the history of photography from the 19th century to the present day. San Diego does and it is an inspiring place to spend a couple of hours!

Few may realize, however, that MOPA also houses a film theater or that the museum is perhaps one of the few in town with a social justice component to its mandate.

That key component of MOPA’s mission comes to the fore with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival taking place at MOPA Jan. 24-28. The five day program will showcase films aimed at exposing injustices all over the world. This year’s program includes a film about Iraqi women basketball players and another about journalism on the increasingly treacherous Mexican beat. The festival opens, however, with Call Me Kuchu, a somber yet life-affirming documentary highlighting Uganda’s ongoing fight for LGBT rights.

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival is the foremost showcase for films with a distinctive human rights theme and creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. I had the opportunity to view an advance copy of Call Me Kuchu and this point is made clear in the life, work and fate of one of the film’s central protagonist’s Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato.

Kato’s death in 2011 was widely reported around the world. It came amidst calls by some in the Ugandan government to penalize homosexuality with the death penalty, a step that put the African country in the spotlight. Call Me Kuchu documents Kato and his fellow activists’ brave, clear-eyed focus following them as they push back against the increasingly hostile discrimination and celebrate their lives in full.

Decades on from our own gay revolution Call Me Kuchu is a sober reminder of what it was to stand up for ones rights even as a majority of your fellow citizens are calling for your death.

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival opening night screening includes a pre-screening reception and a discussion following the film.


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Posted by on Jan 17, 2013. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Online Only, The Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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