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Uganda's only LGBTI film festival is at risk of not opening

After other venues refused to host a LGBTI event organizers have been forced to try and convert a warehouse into a cinema

Uganda's only LGBTI film festival is at risk of not opening
The Queer Kampala International Film Festival in Kampala is trying to raise emergency funds for this weekend's festival. | Photo: Facebook

One of Uganda’s only LGBTIQ events is in danger of not running, only two days before it’s due to start.

The Queer Kampala International Film Festival (QueerKIFF) was scheduled to begin on Friday 8 December in the east African nation’s capital, Kampala.

But a lack of venues willing to host a LGBTIQ event has left organizers scrambling to find somewhere to screen this year’s films.

‘Due to the risks of organizing an event like this, so many places we’ve tried to approach cannot actually host the event,’ QueerKIFF founder Kamoga Hassan told Gay Star News.

Uganda is one of the most unfriendly places in the world to be LGBTIQ. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, with one politician even wanting to introduce a ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill.

The country’s Pride parade was cancelled this year amid security concerns and a heavy-handed police tactics that marred the 2016 parade.

Warehouse conversion

With only a few days before opening night Hassan and his team have managed to hire a huge warehouse to screen the films.

But screening movies in a venue that is not a cinema requires overhauling the space. The team have to  buying equipment on their limited budgets such as; projectors, screens and even chairs for people sit on.

‘We are turning a warehouse into a cinema. But the problem is this place is not made to be a cinema,’ Hassan said.

‘So we’re trying to buy projectors and make projector screens, but there is also the problem of lighting with the space we’re trying to use. So we’re trying to block light and all those things are really expensive to do, we need to find chairs where people can sit.

‘It has been a lot of work.’

The makeshift cinema were QueerKIFF organizers have converted a warehouse in Uganda into a place to watch movies.

The makeshift cinema were QueerKIFF organizers have converted a warehouse in Uganda into a place to watch movies. | Photo: Supplied

The show must go on

QueerKIFF fell short of its fundraising targets earlier this year. The unexpected costs of finding and converting a new venue has place a massive burden on organizers.

But Hassan is adamant the show must go on.

He believes QueerKIFF is an important way to raise the visibility of LGBTIQ people in a country that is often hostile to the community.

At last year’s inaugural festival, more than 800 people attended.  Many of them were not LGBTIQ and said they wanted to learn more about the community.

‘It’s really important to have a queer film festival in Uganda because we do not have so many places where we can educate people about us,’ Hassan said.

‘That we’re also part of the huge Ugandan community who deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.

‘We want to give each and everyone a chance to learn about our queer communities.’

Hassan has started an emergency fundraising campaign to try and raise only US$1300 to cover the unexpected last minute costs.

At the time of publishing QueerKIFF needs to raise only US$660 to make sure the crucial event goes ahead.

To donate to QueerKIFF’s emergency campaign, click here.

 

 

 


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