Academy Award winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams didn’t set out to make a controversial film. But that’s just what he did with “God Loves Uganda,” opening Friday in San Francisco and Berkeley.
“God Loves Uganda” pits religious zealots and African law makers who think homosexuals should be killed against civil rights activists who fight for every person’s rights. Williams says he didn’t have an agenda when he made this film and tried to let all sides speak their mind. The end result has lead to an outpour of both shock and praise including winning several awards.
In my conversation with Williams we reviewed that there seems to be so many religions – all with their own scripture – that anyone can really put pen to paper and create their own Bible. Williams says he learned in making this movie that many of the Christians he met in making this movie believe what they preach “is Biblical law and they then have the right to rule the world” and if you’re not of the same mind-set you’re “damned to hell.” But with adding a 2009 bill that passed banning homosexuality, making it even punishable by death, adds a whole new dimension to the issue.
Since many of those he talks to in the film felt that Williams has “the gay agenda,” he made them feel comfortable by making it clear he is there to report on their beliefs and not offer commentary.
Williams captures both sides of the story. On the one hand we have Pastor Scott Lively whose testimony given to the Ugandan Parliament served as inspiration for Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. Then there’s Rev. Kapya Kaoma, who according to Williams thinks the “church is open to everyone” and free of judgment, was forced to flee the country when his safety was jeopardized by the same violent sentiment that he came to investigate - the inhumane treatment of LGBT people in Uganda.
“God Loves Uganda” screens in San Francisco at the Roxie Theatre – www.roxie.com. Williams will make a personal appearance at the 8:45pm Friday screening and the 6:45pm Saturday show.
It also opens at Berkeley’s Elmwood Rialto Cinema – www.rialtocinemas.com.
Read more on the film at www.godlovesuganda.com.