|There has been no shortage of compelling documentaries on the festival circuit in the past few weeks and exposé Kidnapped for Christ ranks among the most shocking.
It tells the story of American teenagers who were taken from their homes and shipped to American-run ‘behaviour modification programme’ Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic.
The film changed the life of its maker, a young evangelical missionary Kate Logan, who thought a film about a ‘rehabilitation centre’ for ‘struggling youth’ would be a good way to make a difference.
Logan never expected to become part of the story herself, but she does, as she becomes shocked at what she finds: stories of kids being taken by force in the middle of the night, rumours of physical abuse, and staff imposing arbitrary and degrading punishments on the young students. One poor girl is there because she was having panic attacks! And she gets punished if she has them!
Among the youths Logan meets is David, a vibrant honour student who has been dragged from his house by a belt after he told his parents he was gay, leaving his friends and neighbours wondering where on earth he is. Her heart clearly breaks for his situation.
The weird people in charge take the ridiculous and uninformed evangelical line of blaming previous sexual abuse for anyone who is gay, trying to brainwash the youths to think that way.
Logan becomes more and more uncomfortable with what’s going on at the ‘school’, realising the ‘therapy’ is doing more harm than good, and her filming begins to become restricted, so she films a little more covertly.
She leaves with a heavy heart, but of course can’t stay silent, and after some years is able to make her documentary with the help of crowd funding - tracking what happened to the young people she met after they get out of the programme.
Her gripping film goes hand in evangelical hand with Documentary Edge festival stand out God Loves Uganda - making for two of the scariest flicks to be on the big screen in New Zealand this year. Kidnapped for Christ plays as part of Out Takes at the Paramount Theatre in Wellington on Saturday at 1PM. Tickets here Jacqui Stanford - 4th June 2014