Faith-Based Documentary Makes Richmond Debut On Friday
Keith Martin and his fellowship team didn’t expect to win an Emmy. They didn’t make their film to win awards – they made it to provide a launching point for churches to create dialogue about faith and homosexuality. After the big win, his team’s documentary “Coming Out, Coming In” is finding its way to its intended audience.
The film makes its Richmond debut on Friday night at the Richmond Triangle Players‘ new theater at 1300 Altamont Avenue.
“We’re trying to give a voice to those that are marginalized so their stories can be heard and shared,” Martin says. “It’s kind of ironic that we didn’t set out to for an Emmy award. We spent such a long time, three years, trying to get it right.”
Martin, now Managing Director of the Richmond Ballet, started the documentary as a collaborative project of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative in North Carolina. He conceived and designed the project with four members of his fellowship. His group included four emerging leaders: Martin, two priests, and a lesbian businesswoman. They decided to focus on faith and homosexuality as an issue that affected the community as a whole. Their solution was to create a film that could be shared in Sunday school’s across the country. The production was financially supported in part by the Episcopal Church USA, which Martin proudly says gives the film the equivalent of a “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval.
Woven throughout the film’s three chapters on faith, identity, and belonging are clips from the 39 stories that Martin and his team collected. After round table discussions in North Carolina churches and visits to the local gay and lesbian community center, they narrowed the documentary’s focus on the stories of three distinct couples – a heterosexual married couple dealing with the husband coming out as a gay male, an interracial gay male couple, and a lesbian couple that gets married during the filming of the documentary.
“These are faithful people. There are some that are so disenfranchised that they left their church to find more welcoming organizations,” Martin says of some of those featured in the 30-minute film.
A suggested donation at Friday’s screening benefits the film’s growth and mission. Half of the donation is shared with hosting organization, the Richmond Triangle Players. For the screening, members of the local churches have been invited to take part in a panel discussion.
“This helps give a lens to put the documentary in context,” Martin says. “It gives the faith community an opportunity to answer difficult questions about the church’s take on homosexuality.”
Emmy aside, Martin says the meaningful conversations after the documentary are the true gauge of the film’s success.
“This is a beginning and not an end,” he says. “It’s the dedicated stories that will take people beyond faith. This is about the faith of everyday people.”
For more information about “Coming Out, Coming In,” visit http://www.coming-out-coming-in.net. The film has two showings this Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at 1300 Altamont Avenue. A $10 donation is suggested.
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