“Mama Bears,” an LGBTQ+ documentary about the journeys of two conservative, Christian mothers who became advocates for the queer community, debuted its trailer Monday, Variety can exclusively reveal. The film, which premiered at SXSW earlier this year, will play at Outfest and Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival later this summer.
“Mama Bears” follows Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, two mothers of LGBTQ+ children, and Tammi Terrell Morris, a young African American lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance represents the importance of caring and accepting mothers. Although Cunningham and Shapley — the two “mama bears” — grew up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, they risk losing their lives and communities in order to keep their children safe.
Shappley began accepting her transgender daughter Kai and went from being a Tea Party Republican to winning awards for her LGBTQ+ advocacy after she joined with the ACLU and Equality Texas to fight an anti-trans bathroom bill in their Texas town. Cunningham learned to accept her gay son Parker and went on to form Free Mom Hugs, a movement of mothers offering support to the LGBTQ+ community. Morris found support in the mama bears and went from marrying a man to living her truth as a queer person.
“Once you know how important fighting for your kid is, you can’t do anything else but fight for them,” one mom says in the trailer for the film.
Directed and produced by Emmy Award winner Daresha Kyi, “Mama Bears” combines home movies, photographs, interviews and cinema verité footage to explore the crossroads of politics, faith, religion and unconditional love.
The film will screen at Outfest on July 22. Outfest opens on July 14 with the world premiere of Billy Porter’s directorial debut, “Anything’s Possible.” “Mama Bears” will also appear at the Traverse City Film Festival on July 28 and 29 in Traverse City, Mich. Watch the full trailer for the film below.