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'Children of God' to headline Eau Queer Film Festival

RELEASED: Sept. 29, 2010

poster for Children of GodEAU CLAIRE — "Children of God" (Bahamas 2009) will headline the inaugural Eau Queer Film Festival at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Oct. 7-10. "Gorgeous, loving and heartbreaking" (San Francisco Chronicle), the drama will be presented at 8:30 p.m. in Davies Theatre. Admission is free at the door.

Juxtaposing the tranquil, idyllic natural beauty of the Bahamas with its tumultuous and homophobic political and religious climate, Kareem Mortimer's debut feature tells the stories of three very different individuals. Lena is the conservative, deeply religious wife of a secretly gay firebrand pastor; Jonny is a white artist struggling to express himself creatively in a world where his truth is considered a crime; and Romeo is a handsome young black man hiding his sexuality from his close-knit and loving family. Each one's journey leads to the beautiful island of Eleuthera, where their disparate worlds collide — shaking foundations and challenging beliefs with the poignant questions of tolerance, courage, love and self-acceptance.

The story begins in July 2004, when Rosie O'Donnell's gay family cruise ship makes the Bahamas a port of call. Actual documentary footage details the angry hysteria that divides the island as protesters chanting anti-gay slogans meet the cruise when it arrives.

Kareem Mortimer told Reuters that he initially conceived his movie "Children of God" in purely romantic terms, but it turned darker following the murders of five gay men over a few months in 2007-08.

"I am a Bahamian filmmaker committed to showing the diversity of my people in the art form that I know and love best," Mortimer wrote. "I live in a beautiful country that is grappling with the after-effects of colonialism and forging an identity, only being an independent country since 1973. This can be a daunting experience, but is also exciting. This film was made as a love letter to the different people that live in the Bahamas, a declaration of who we really are by making a film that is honest, risky, beautiful and self-assured."

Chosen to open the Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival in November, "Children of God" has screened at festivals worldwide and received audience awards at the 2010 Torino Film Festival (Best Film) and at NewFest (Best Narrative).

The 104-minute film (not rated) is sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the Student Senate and the San Francisco Travel Seminar, coordinated through UW-Eau Claire's women's studies program. The full schedule for the Eau Queer Film Festival is available online.

More information about the campus film series is available online and at the Activities and Programs office, Davies Center 133.

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JS/DW

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