Born This Way

DIRECTORS: Shaun Kadlec, Deb Tullmann

Expected to attend: directors Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann.

In silhouette cast by the light of a solitary candle, two women speak softly about their inability to express their love in public—because in a country where they arrest people for making love, discretion is the most important skill one can master. Such is the life of the gay men and lesbians of Cameroon, an African nation where homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison. But filmmakers Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann have found their way into the underground gay and lesbian community here and have discovered some signs of hope and change. A lawyer actively fighting for gay rights, Alice Nkom fiercely defends those being persecuted by the system.

At Alternatives Cameroun, an organization that advocates for gay rights and provides HIV treatment and prevention, a vibrant, close-knit community has formed; here, gay Cameroonians can find support, friendship, and a safe haven from the hostile society that surrounds them. Though they experience constant threats and harassment, some of these brave men and women are starting to come out publicly. There is sweet, petite Gertrude, who proudly maintains her Christian faith even as it denounces her sexuality. There is fashion-forward Cédric who is being threatened by his neighbors but is still not ready to come out to his family. Amidst the homophobia, fear, illness, and unemployment, there is still great joy, friendship, music, and culture—and the sense that the country is on the verge of positive change.

— JOANNE PARSONT

In French,English with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D303

Co-presented by:
Museum of African Diaspora

Get the Frameline Festival App

A festival in your pocket

FilmFest is a simple, easy to use pocket guide to all the films in this year's festival.

Frameline36 app available now!