Filmmaker Bob Christie globetrotted for a year filming his powerful documentary Beyond Gay: The politics of pride. For all those who think that gay pride marches are just occasions for sex, drugs and costumes as important as all of that is, this film is a reminder that symbolically pride parades mean much more.
An antigay mob roughed up the filmmakers while they were shooting the first successful gay parade in Moscow. It was staged in front of Tchaikovsky Hall and at the Canadian embassy with a small band of gay Russians faced hostile protesters. Christie follows the circuit of parades on four continents from the 3 million strong in São Paulo, Brazil to the handful that have to stage a stealth demonstration in the rabidly homophobic Sri Lanka. It is an inspiring call to arms for global involvement, awareness and activism for GLBTQ human rights.
Bahaman filmmaker Kareem Mortimer told the audience at the screening of his stirring drama Children of God that he chose the tragic end of a love affair between a white art student and a black musician because it reflected the reality of what was happening there. This love story is set against a religious and political campaign in the Bahamas against gays.
“During the time we were shooting the film, there were five murders that happened in the block around me. I decided on that ending so, like it or not, people will have some feeling to want to do something.” This film is a vital political drama that has the power to move hearts and minds.
In the theater lobby, Mortimer talked about why he made the film. “I wanted to try to change things in the society I live in…how these hateful attitudes can turn into something really violent and ugly.”
Mortimer said there is no social networking either “There was a group called Rainbow Alliance but they disbanded, so right now there is no GLBT group in the Bahamas. There is nowhere for people to go when something happens. It’s a big hush little secret. It’s the worse thing you could be and the worse thing you could support, so no one is going to do anything.” he said.
“The Bahamas is only 50 miles off of the coast of Florida, but GLBT life is completely hidden and is openly condemned by the straight world there. Fortunately in the arts community “there were people there of influence who wanted to see a film like this made…to speak to the whole issue of homophobia and hate crimes. It actually was quite easy to raise funds for the film and get people on board, easier than I anticipated.” Mortimer said.
In the film, a minister condemns homosexuals as an elaborate cover for being on the dl himself. “The closeted minister is very common.” He based the character on an incident that happened to him. “ I actually saw a preacher in a gay bar and asked him if he was so and so “I’m not, in here.” he said.
Part of the reason Mortimer wanted to make this film is because even Brokeback Mountain was banned in the Bahamas. The director said he was enjoying his stop in Philly for Qfest and is looking forward to Children of God’s theatrical release in the US. He is strategizing the release in the Bahamas. “I’d show it for free there.”