I Am Samuel (2020)

  • Documentary
  • 1h 8m

Samuel grew up on a farm in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He moves to Nairobi in search of a new life, where he finds belonging in a community of fellow queer men where he meets and falls in love with Alex. Their love thrives even though Kenyan laws criminalize anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, and together they face threats of violence and rejection. Samuel’s father, a preacher at the local church, doesn’t understand why his son is not yet married and Samuel must navigate the very real risk that being truthful to who he is may cost him his family’s acceptance. Filmed over five years, I Am Samuel is an intimate portrait of a Kenyan man balancing pressures of family loyalty, love, and safety and questioning the concept of conflicting identities.

“I can’t really be myself. It’s like they’re seeing just half of who I am.” - Alex, I Am Samuel

“This is a lovely film, very honest, very raw, with characters who are compelling in how real they are.” - Neela Ghoshal, Senior Researcher, LGBT Rights, Human Rights Watch

This film offers subtitles in English and Closed Captioning. You can select these options by clicking the ‘CC’ button in the bottom right of the player.

Thank you to everyone who joined our digital film festival screening + live Q&A on June 14. You can still watch the film until June 20, and view the recording of the Q&A with filmmaker Peter Murimi, Producer Toni Kamau & HRW’s Senior Researcher in the LGBT Rights program Neela Ghoshal here on our Facebook page or below in our “bonus content” section.

We do not want the cost of entry to these films to be a barrier for participation in these events. If the price of buying a ticket to this film would prevent you from participating, please email the following address (filmticket@hrw.org) + we will send you a free ticket code. We have set aside a set # of tickets per film on a first come first-served basis. Once the free tickets are no longer available, the code will no longer work. For anyone that purchases a ticket, we appreciate your support. Your ticket purchase enables us to make tickets free for those who might otherwise be unable to watch. This also allows the festival to support the filmmakers for sharing their work in our festival and for the festival to cover the cost of hosting the films online.

Director

Peter Murimi

Producer

Toni Kamau

Language(s)

English, Swahili, Luhya

Subtitle(s)

English

Bonus Content

45 mins
Live Q&A for I am Samuel

This live Q&A ran on Sunday June 14 with filmmaker Peter Murimi, Producer Toni Kamau and HRW’s LGBT Rights Senior Researcher Neela Ghoshal.

2 mins
Privacy Threatened by ‘Homosexuality’ Arrests in Tunisia

Tunisian authorities are confiscating and searching the phones of men they suspect of being gay and pressuring them to take anal tests and to confess to homosexual activity. Prosecutors then use information collected in this fashion to prosecute them for homosexual acts between consenting partners, under the country’s harsh sodomy laws.

Read full report here, and download I Am Samuel to access this video content.

3 mins
Malawi: Arrests, Violence against LGBT People

Malawi’s laws prohibiting consensual same-sex relations foster a climate of fear and fuel violence and discrimination. The punitive legal environment combined with social stigma allows police abuse to go unchecked and prevents many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from reporting violence or getting medical care.

The lack of clarity about the legal status of same-sex conduct leaves LGBT people vulnerable to arbitrary arrests, physical violence, and routine discrimination. The justice minister issued a moratorium on arrests for adult consensual same-sex conduct in 2012, but there are divergent views about its legality.

Read full report here, and download I Am Samuel to access this video content.

5 mins
Discrimination, Violence against LGBT People in Ghana

Ghanaians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) suffer widespread discrimination and abuse both in public and in family settings. While some Ghanaian officials have publicly called for an end to violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the government has yet to repeal a colonial-era law that criminalizes same-sex activity.

Read full report here, and download I Am Samuel to access this video content.

2 mins
No Longer Alone

LGBT rights activists from across the Middle East and North Africa bring you on a journey of self-discovery, solidarity and strength.

Learn more, and download I Am Samuel to access this video content.

12 mins
Facing the Myths

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people living in the Middle East and North Africa share their responses to myths and stereotypes about LGBT people in the region on a new video and special feature by the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) and Human Rights Watch. Although these myths can be harmful, activists who spoke to AFE and Human Rights Watch for this video face them every day with grace, determination, and humor. In the video, they debunk these myths and share their experiences with other LGBT people in the region, letting them know they are not alone.

You may also like

Welcome to Chechnya
  • Documentary
  • 1h 47m
Gather
  • Documentary
  • 1h 14m
From Here
  • Documentary
  • 1h 29m