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For the Bible Tells Me So

Oscar's Documentary Shortlist

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Daniel Karslake

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Worked as a fund-raiser for Harlem’s Riverside Church, where he started producing stories about the intersection of religion and homosexuality for PBS’ “In the Life.” Quit both jobs in 2003 to make the film.

FINANCING: Partnered with fiscal sponsors New Light Media and the Intl. Documentary Assn. to raise the money charitably.

THEME: Conservative Christian parents come to terms with their kids’ coming out in a series of personal stories designed to show that the New Testament teaches tolerance, not homophobia.

VARIETY REVIEW SAYS: “The film will prove most valuable in encouraging (Christians) to consider their beliefs in a spirit of serious examination rather than mindless acceptance.”

DISTRIBUTION STATUS: Still expanding in platform release through First Run Features after attracting attention at both mainstream and lesbian & gay film fests.

ON THE MAKING OF THE FILM: “I got an e-mail from this gay teenager in Iowa the day after my first story aired on PBS,” Karslake remembers. “It said, ‘Last week I bought the gun. Yesterday I wrote the note. Last night I happened to see your show on PBS, and just knowing that someday, somewhere I might be able to go back into a church with my head held high, I dropped the gun in the river. My mom never has to know.’ As a gay man, I understood that religion was pushing gay kids towards suicide, and I wanted to make a film that showed the world a different side of the issue.”

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