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4 items from 2007

For the Bible Tells Me So

17 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

First Run Features

NEW YORK -- Using true-life stories to complement its obligatory assemblage of talking heads, Daniel Karslake's documentary handles the theme of religious attitudes toward homosexuality in moving and educational fashion. While the film is unlikely to sway anyone whose mind already isn't made up, it provides plenty food for thought in its examination of biblical doctrine on same-sex love and how it resonates to this day.

The film concentrates on five individuals whose family lives were dramatically affected by their eventual coming out. They include such relatively well-known figures as Chrissy Gephardt, daughter of former U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, and Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. The former was publicly supported by her politician father, who offered to cut short his Democratic presidential candidacy if it would make her life difficult. The latter was embraced by most of the members of his congregation after he declared his gayness.

Other happy stories include that of Tonia Poteat, whose parents have continued to support her despite their strong religious convictions, and Jake Reitan, whose parents became activists demonstrating against such Christian organizations as Focus on the Family.

A sadder note is struck in the case of Anna Wallner, whose suicide subsequent to coming out inspired her mother Mary Wall to become an advocate against homophobia.

Along with these inspirational stories is commentary from religious leaders (including Archbishop Desmond Tutu) and scholars countering the literal interpretations of the Bible employed to bolster anti-gay arguments.

More amusingly, a brief animated film makes the case for the scientific arguments bolstering the genetics theory behind homosexuality.

Although displaying little more in the way of technique or style than would be employed in a typical television newsmagazine, For the Bible Tells Me So makes its passionate case with conviction and intelligence. »

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First Run books 'Bible' docu for N. America

13 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- First Run Features has picked up all North American rights to the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, which features interviews with Bishop Desmond Tutu, politician Dick Gephardt and his family on reconciling homosexuality with religious beliefs.

Daniel Karslake's first feature, which premiered at January's Sundance Film Festival, examines biblical scriptures and takes a critical look at how organized religion has interpreted them to discriminate against gay people. Other people interviewed in the docu include Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, one of several subjects who attempt to explain how the Bible is compatible with homosexuality.

First Run plans a platform theatrical release for Bible beginning in October. The film was produced by Karslake, co-producer/editor Nancy Kennedy, co-producer Helen Mendoza and executive producers Michael Huffington, Bruce Bastian, Robin Voss, Robert Greenbaum and Keith Lewis.

First Run vp Marc Mauceri negotiated the deal with Cinetic Media. »

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Bono Guest Edits Vanity Fair

7 June 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Rocker Bono has become the first guest editor of Vanity Fair, and has made his mark by giving the July issue of the U.S. magazine 20 different covers. The crusading U2 singer has published a special Africa issue and gathered a galaxy of stars to feature in pairs on the many covers, which were all photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Among those teaming up are Muhammad Ali and Maya Angelou, Bono and Jordan's Queen Rania, Desmond Tutu and Oprah Winfrey, and U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice. »

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Tribeca gives projects All Access pass

23 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- The Tribeca All Access mentoring program announced 32 new projects to help aspiring filmmakers, including films chronicling a lynching survivor and Christian wrestlers, along with two high-profile names: producer Lawrence Bender and actor Joe Mantegna.

The narrative and documentary films in the fourth annual program, presented by Tribeca Film Festival, American Express and Tribeca Film Institute, will allow their directors and screenwriters to meet with more than 100 investors, development execs, producers and agents.

Notable narrative projects include Tze Chun and Sheila Dvorak's sperm donor odyssey Artificial Dissemination, Joshua Sanchez's romantic drama Four from producer Gill Holland, screenwriters Aaron Greer and Fran Kaplan's lynching biopic Fruit of the Tree and Priyanka Kumar's The Flicker's Dance, a tale of an ill boy featuring actors Mantegna, William Mapother and Ione Skye.

Docus include Barb Lee's "Adopted: The New American Family," Karen Hayes' "The Foolishness of God: Desmond Tutu and Forgiveness," Jae-Ho Chang and Tara Autovino's Ultimate Christian Wrestling and Jessica Sanders' music-themed Samba from exec producer Bender. »

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