Children of God was a beautiful movie. The Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival called it a “gorgeously shot, poignant and captivating love story”. Director Kareem Mortimer filmed the movie in the Bahamas and just as the movie tells a story of homophobia and violence toward gay men, the production crew faced it in real life. “We had to change locations several times, we were filming in a church and some of the parishioners and local people found out about the movie, so we moved.” Say’s Mortimer in a Q&A after the screening.
The story has two main focuses; first, One of a young Bahamian, “Johnny, an introverted white artist” and how he is tormented for being gay. The film focused on his search to find himself…you could tell that he was a drained person, emotionless. A school official, who was stern but friendly with him, demanded he start taking his art work seriously or lose his spot at school and lends him a rental home to use so he can focus on his art, which was lacking any substance, due to his obvious depression. He meets a “sexy young black man” who has a fiancée with a “overbearing mother”. The romantic relationship between Johnny and Romeo, opens Johnny up and his demeanor visibly changes. Eventually, when faced between Johnny and his fiancée/mother-in law the film turns direction and Johnny’s lover becomes another piece of the hate machine that wore him down for so long.
The movie also focuses on the hypocrisy of a preacher and his wife and how they say one thing and act the complete opposite. One of the opening scenes involves a preacher, sweating at the pulpit proclaiming, “I will wipe them all out with the mighty blood of Christ.” Followed shortly by his wife in a doctor’s office finding out she has a venereal disease, she dismisses the doctor…there is no way a lady of God, like herself, could have something like that, she just needed to pray extra hard and God will cure her! When this is brought up to her husband the Preacher, he lets loose a violent tirade. Holding her by her neck he calls her a “Slut, she was made to submit, he’s in control…. everything that she has or every will have is because of me and you have the nerve to come in here and accuse me of this shit”. (I think this might of been the same conversation Ted Haggard had with his wife before he couldn’t deny it any longer.) Eventually, The wife becomes the most outspoken of the two, a true hate monger. The film goes from scenes of her with different pulpits vilifying homosexuals, intercut with scenes that show the preacher having sex with men in restrooms.
I asked Mr. Mortimer if the preacher and the preacher’s wife were based on anyone in particular, “No, they were different people…I read the paper ever day while filming…it was a mixture of people” They definitely are…this film show us how bullying and the spreading of hate is everywhere, some places worse than others, but none the less, it’s all around us. Films like Children Of God leave me wanting to fight, to really get out there and show support for our community and I hope that this film did the same for the others who were lucky enough to have viewed it. Well done, Kareem Mortimer.
- Brad Crelia