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INDEPENDENT LENS: God Loves Uganda

Still from "God Loves Uganda." Journey to the heart of East Africa, where Ugandan pastors and their American counterparts spread God’s word and evangelical values to millions desperate for a better life. Inspired by his own African-American Baptist roots, director Roger Ross Williams explores a place where religion and African culture intersect.
Courtesy of Derek Wiesehahn
Still from "God Loves Uganda." Journey to the heart of East Africa, where Ugandan pastors and their American counterparts spread God’s word and evangelical values to millions desperate for a better life. Inspired by his own African-American Baptist roots, director Roger Ross Williams explores a place where religion and African culture intersect.

Airs Monday, May 19, 2014 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

One of the most acclaimed documentaries of the year, "God Loves Uganda" explores the role of the American evangelical movement in Uganda, where American missionaries have been credited with both creating schools and hospitals and promoting dangerous religious bigotry.

Street preacher in Kampala, Uganda.
Courtesy of Derek Wiesehahn
Street preacher in Kampala, Uganda.
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo visiting a rural school in Uganda.
Courtesy of Crispin Buxton
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo visiting a rural school in Uganda.
Rev. JoAnna Watson, Kampala, Uganda.
Courtesy of Derek Wiesehahn
Rev. JoAnna Watson, Kampala, Uganda.

The film follows evangelical leaders in America and Uganda along with politicians and missionaries as they attempt to eliminate what they deem “sexual sin” and convert Ugandans to fundamentalist Christianity.

The film records the tense atmosphere of fear created when a virulently anti-gay bill wins widespread support. Signed into law in February 2014, the Anti-Homosexuality Act mandates a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for engaging in homosexual activity as well as imprisonment for those who provide aid or counseling to members of the LBGT community.

Produced and directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, "God Loves Uganda" premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, May 19, 2014 on PBS.

Using vérité, interviews and hidden camera footage, the film allows American religious leaders and their young missionaries that make up the “front lines in a battle for billions of souls” to explain their positions in their own words.

Shocking and enlightening, touching and horrifying, "God Loves Uganda" reveals the conflicting motives of faith and greed, ecstasy and egotism among Ugandan ministers, American evangelical leaders and the foot soldiers of a theology that sees Uganda as a test case, ground zero in a battle not for millions, but billions of souls.

Past episodes of INDEPENDENT LENS are available for online viewing. INDEPENDENT LENS is on Facebook, and you can follow @IndependentLens on Twitter. "God Loves Uganda" is on Facebook, and you can follow @GodLovesUganda on Twitter.

See the Preview for God Loves Uganda

"A journey into the heart of East Africa