A Uganda LGBTQ film festival is staying strong despite homophobic police.
Last Month, we shared the news of Ugandan police raiding an underground LGBTQ Film Festival.
The Queer Kampala International Film Festival (QueerKIFF), founded by Kamagoa Hassan, was meant to be held between December 10 and December 11, but unfortunately the police put a stop to it.
The event was meant to be a secret, due to homosexuality being illegal in the country, and festival goers were vetted heavily to insure there would be no leaks.
That said, a leak somehow happened as police were not only notified of the festival’s existence, but they also raided the event on its second day.
“Why do people want to do this?” Hassan told Gay Star News about the raid.
“The police are coming and searching for me, they want to arrest me. But I won’t go because I have to make sure everyone is safe.”
Despite this, Hassan found a way to finish the festival’s screening.
After weeks of uncertainty concerning the police’s next move, Hassan and company decided to finish the festival anyway.
The festival founder offered a private residence to screen the remaining movies that hadn’t been watched yet.
As a precaution, the security for this event was even stricter than the original one. Only a select few were invited through the message app WhatsApp and informed of the new event’s details.
"There were people that we suspected who actually called the police last time, so this time around we didn’t tell them about the festival," Hassan said.
In addition, those who attended were banned from taking pictures, so that no one could later identify the building being used for this second event.
That said, the “select few” still amounted to around 500 people who participated in the second screening. Though, Hassan still felt bad that more couldn’t participate.
“It was a bit sad, because not all people got the opportunity to get to the rescheduled screenings," he said.
Hassan and company are now trying to get extended rights to the LGBTQ films in order to create more opportunities for people in Uganda to see them.
In addition, Hassan hopes to get the police’s help (instead of their scorn) in time for this year’s QueerKIFF at the end of the year.
He’s seeking out the aid of an organization called HRAPF (Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum), which works to teach the police how to handle citizens in a caring and humane way.