Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ex-Gay Survivors Featured in Canadian Documentary

Tonight on Canada's Global Television Cure for Love, a documentary about the Ex-Gay Movement will air.
Cure For Love is a new documentary about the "ex-gay" movement - a religious network whose goal is to help their members renounce homosexuality. The ex-gay movement now encompasses 120 ministries in the US and Canada and is active in 56 countries world wide.

The film follows two men who have experienced the ex-gay movement in different ways. One gets married, though he admits he is still attracted to men, and another struggles to embrace his homosexuality. The film premieres on Global Television, at 7pm Saturday April 12.

With startling honesty, the men tell their stories of struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with their Christian values.
At least one ex-gay survivor I met through Beyond Ex-Gay and this blog will be featured in the film. The Canadian crew also attended the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference in Irvine, CA this past summer. The picture above shows Christina Willings in front of the Chalk Talk I facilitated at the conference.

More and more in these documentaries and in press coverage we are beginning to see the human stories behind the ex-gay movement. In the case of survivors, this helps people to understand why someone might have elected to go through a de-gayification process and the unexpected and at times harmful outcomes they experienced.

I sat with Christina and her crew for an interview during the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference and found her to be genuine, sensitive and well informed. I saw her moved to tears during the Chalk Talk (along with many others both survivors and allies). If anyone gets to see her film, please share your thoughts about it here in the comments.

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At 6:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just turned the TV on and flipped over to Global.

Looking forward to seeing this, thanks for the heads up.

Bene D

At 9:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a documentary you want to talk about.

My compliments to Willings and Pelletier.

Worth your time.

This is a doc that would be useful for church people. Not-churched people will certainly get it.

Starting off with the wedding of Brian and Ana gives us empathy for Brian.
He tries so hard to be likeable, so hard to be clear, so hard to be helpful, so hard to not come across as ambitious, not weird, tries so hard to be comfortable with the camera.
He's exhausting to watch and I don't think that's at all intentional.

You walk away from this doc realizing in his head he doesn't have choices, (he says so at the end) and it's not Canadian society or Christianity, it's him. You find yourself relieved New Directions has given him a job. I was honestly left wondering if he'd cope outside religious circles, and that is really sad.

His wife is interesting, she doesn't pretend to be anything she is not, she is quietly pragmatic.

I don't know if the film makers intended to show it appears she willfully (?) allows herself to be overshadowed by her husbands needs, ambitions and nervous energy. That is a huge unanswered impression. (?)

If she didn't have single camera time, she'd be just a shadow, a Brian or New Direction appendage, and her few moments speaking show Ana is far more.
She is very clear she has chosen to be in Brian's life, you do care what happens to them.

Jeremy articulates positions best I think.
He has an intellectual, spiritual and emotional honesty, maturity and other-awareness.

Again I don't know if this was on purpose, he's peaceful. He's the guy whose family has rejected him, and he inadvertantly comes across as more centred, together and other focused than his friend Brian.
The dinner scene is interesting.

This is a doc about people and the choices they make, less about political battles and stereotypes.
It is doc that makes you want to talk.

Bene D

At 11:36 PM , Blogger D said...

Unfortunately I was taking a friend out for dinner for his birthday while this was on. But I had my mom watch it. I came home and asked what she thought about it, "Well it was nice, a gay man and a lesbian, it gives me hope that you'll make the right choice." So, well it kinda failed the mom test. I'm hoping watching "For the Bible Tells Me So" will help. At least now she's more interested in hearing things.

I dono I need to watch it, my mom's rather deluded in her decision that I'm going to marry a woman. So we shall see. She did mention that there were ex-ex-gays, which is good. At least she got that part.

At 11:45 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

Was it just about Brian and Ana? Did they also include someone named John?

At 2:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I said it was very people oriented and I can't remember some of the names.

I blame that on the temperature I'm running.:^)

There was Jeremy Holms (?) from Illinois and his partner; Brian and Ana, you, Mel While, a shot of an Exodus meeting with Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers identified.

There was the chap who ran the website in the US somewhere (?) where Brian and Ana met.
He kicked out a couple of people because they broke one of his rules and cried on camera saying he loved these kids.

There was your meeting, the chalk talk, a shot of Jeremy et all watching your play, then your cutaway interview.

The only John I think I recall was the internet site owner and that might not be his name, sorry. He sees himself as a minister/ministry to ex-gays. He wasn't on camera long. (Living waters?)

David, your mom test is funny/sad.

Sorry Peterson, this isn't helpful.

I think Global TV chat boards are open, someone may have the answer. You may be able to contact the filmmakers through the NFB site.

This had a needed Canadian slant, me forgetting names isn't the fault of the doc.

Cure for Love is moving to film festivals and DVD so it should be available to you soon.

Bene D

At 5:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

would have rather watched an infomercial on vacuums or juice-it-alls... this 'documentary' was boring, confusing, and was it filmed by a 5 year old? Having a strong 'right-wing' christian background, i was sorely disappointed at how this film (if you would call it that) didn't even begin to capture this homophobica culture we call christians. did you choose the first two subjects that you found to interview? interviewing moldy cheese would have been more interesting, at least to watch. where ever the funds came to produce this?, they would have been better spent on a political campaign... because we ALL know that those are worthy causes, too. rotten. this stunk. shame on global for wasting the viewers time with this unartistic, unfactual nonsense.

At 2:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm the other guy in the film--my name is actually "Jonathan Holm." I didn't see the documentary on Canadian television, but I saw an almost-finalized version last Thursday.

I would have to say how pleased I was with Christina's evenhanded treatment of both my story and Brian and Ana's story. Knowing Christina's personal convictions on ex-gay therapy, I knew there was a chance that Brian and Ana's story would be presented in a dark light. But I felt that wasn't the case. Their wedding is presented as a joyous occasion--which it certainly was! And she lets Brian and Ana speak openly and positively about their relationship.

There are a few things I would change about the film, but overall I was very pleased with the documentary. Very even-handed. I hope it opens up space for conversations between conservatives and progressives. I feel rather confident that it won't add to the vitriol of the culture wars.

Very well done, Christina!

BTW, at one point in the piece the song "Down to the River to Pray" is sung softly in the background. That's Christina's voice. Cool :-)

At 4:40 AM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

John, thanks for commenting. I can't wait to see the film. More and more I think the media is looking at the human stories behind the issues. When that happens we see the complexity of the issues. Sounds like some of this happens in Christina's film.

At 9:33 PM , Blogger Pomoprophet said...

I'm glad this Documentary is getting press! I was part of the documentary too but my footage got cut due to the fact that I wasnt comfortable having my face on camera. But it was a great experience none the less! Peterson I met you briefly one night at BXG.

I can't wait till my copy arrives in the mail. I too, hope it adds to the discussion without so much unnecessary noise.

At 8:08 AM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

John! Thanks for visiting. I can't wait to see it myself.

Pomoprophet, I remember when we met in Irvine and I think I knew at that time that you were filmed for the doc. I can understand not feeling comfortable with showing up on camera. Although according to my friend Joe G, he would find that surprising coming from me. I do know that the process of sitting for an interview has helped me to wrap my mind around my own story. I often walk away knowing more about myself and my process.

At 2:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This link should take you directly to the documentary. Click on video

At 6:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I apologize for getting your name so wrong.

I was running a fever, got knocked down with influenza, that's not an excuse. I could have taken notes and I'm very sorry, this was disrespectful.
Please accept my sincere apology.



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