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Roger Ross Williams knew he had to make a film about the influence of American evangelicals on the the culture, politics, and religion of Uganda, but it wasn’t until he met Ugandan gay-rights activist David Kato that he understood the way he had to make GOD LOVES UGANDA. Kato’s plea was direct, to tell people how the American religious right, by imposing its own narrow views on Uganda, is causing the suffering and death of thousands upon thousands of Ugandans. Using no narrative, Williams lets the anti-gay missionaries and evangelicals tell their own stories, including one who has fought her own same-sex attraction for many years. He also allows those who have suffered persecution because of the hate speech, as well as those Ugandans, political and religious, who have promoted it. Williams lets the audience draw its own conclusions, but he doesn’t pretend to be neutral on this issue.
When we spoke on November 1, 2013, he described what it was like as a gay man to listen to anti-gay proponents talk disparagingly about the LGBT community, even egging them on for the sake of getting them to speak more freely for the camera. His face lit up, though, when discussing the people who stand up to the hate-mongering, even at the risk of their own lives. He also described what he hoped his film would accomplish, asking people of faith if they truly believed that God wants them to persecute and kill in the name of God,
Williams, an American producer who worked for CNN for over 25 years, is no stranger to Africa. His short documentary, MUSIC BY PRUDENCE, about a disabled Zimbawean who didn’t let her disabilities stop her, won the 2010 Oscar(tm).