'Call me Kuchu' is a documentary film about the struggle for sexual self-determination in Uganda. The film won the Cinema Fairbindet prize in conjunction with this year's international film festival in Berlin.
The American filmmakers Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall thanked the Cinema Fairbindet international jury and the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel for the prize, saying it was important for the Ugandan gay and lesbian movement to receive recognition in an international setting. As part of the Cinema Fairbindet ("Cinema connects") prize the film will be showed in 25 German cinemas. This, the filmmakers said, would lend a voice to the activists' struggle.
At the award ceremony the jury said 'Call me Kuchu' dramatically and powerfully portrayed "the gay and lesbians' fight to survive in an extremely homophobic society driven by religious fanatics." The film's protagonist, David Kato, was murdered while the film was being made. He was Uganda’s first openly gay activist. The jury concluded that with the help of the film, Kato’s message: "We have a right to live! We have a right to be respected!" would live on.
There have been repeated attempts in Uganda to tighten legislation against homosexuals. Kato's murder underlines the urgency of the film's political message. Development Minister Dirk Niebel was particularly pleased that 'Call me Kuchu' also won the Berlinale's Teddy Award for films focusing on gay and lesbian issues.
Niebel stressed that the German Federal Government supports value-centered development policies, including the right of sexual self-determination. Niebel hoped that the Cinema Fairbindet prize would increase German interest in the Ugandan film. "I am convinced that if more people become aware of development issues we will all benefit. The only way we can shape the future is if we do it together."
The award winners together with jury members, Germany's Development Minister Niebel and directors of the institutes organizing Cinema Fairbindet.
The jury members included DW-TV host Dima Tarhini, German actor Thomas Heinze, Egyptian filmmaker and producer Hala Galal, and German film producer Ernst Szebedits. The prize was awarded for the second year in a row. DW is Cinema Fairbindet's media partner and was involved in reporting on the event and in arranging the trailer and prize.