Our Film's Journey
Faithful was born out of the need to better understand lesbian Mormons. Over the past several decades, at least 20 movies and documentaries have been made about the gay Mormon experience, but almost no films have been made about Mormon lesbians. This is a story we want to tell.
Some of you may be wondering –– do lesbian Mormons even exist? The short answer is YES, although for those who are living on the intersection where faith and orientation are at odds, the world can feel lonely and bleak. Our goal in making this film is to tell an honest story and to foster compassion and conversation around the lived experiences of LGBT+ people. Some live in communities that may have had limited exposure to diversity and as a result, may resist understanding their hearts.
It is through spending time with people different from us that we have the chance to cast aside our own misconceptions and learn to love everyone more fully. Now, more than ever, is the time to raise awareness and understanding of those whose orientation may conflict with their faith.
What is the Film About?
Join us on a journey with Lauralie and her best friend and roommate, Marylu, to experience the joys and pains that any couple in a committed relationship might have –– but with the addition of being fully committed to a religion that is defined largely by heterosexuality.
For many people, their religion is the basis for understanding their existence and purpose. However, since much of Mormonism is rooted in a heteronormative paradigm, many LGBT+ Mormons are left despairing as they wholeheartedly seek to practice their religion but also wish to find love and companionship with a person of the same gender. Throughout the decades, they have either stayed in the Church and downplayed their need for companionship or have left the Church and found companionship and existential meaning elsewhere.
Meet Marylu and Lauralie
Being Mormon is a big part of who they are. Marylu comes from many generations of Mormons who crossed the plains, and Lauralie was once married in the temple to a man. Together, they live in the plateaus of eastern Utah in Roosevelt, a town of 6700 people. This is a tight-knit community made even tighter by the fact that almost everyone practices the same religion: Mormonism.
A large part of being Mormon is believing that marriage transcends mortal life into the eternities and that couples who marry in the Mormon temple can be with each other and their posterity, forever. In order to achieve this highest reward everyone must also follow strict rules in this life. Marylu and Lauralie are following these rules as closely as possible. They are also in love and dream that they too can be together forever. A same-gender couple, however, is not permitted to marry in the temple.
What Will My Contribution Do?
We have spent the last year making this film and are now in the final stages of editing. A contribution to this project will go directly toward production costs of the film––travel, accommodation, music, equipment, pizza, etc. But more importantly, a contribution to this project means supporting a film that has potential to build understanding and open hearts.
We have big plans to screen this film in the festival circuit and in community screenings in California, Utah, and beyond. The more people who see the film the better! We’ve calculated into our production costs what it will take to reach these screening goals and we’re confident we will reach them.
We are hopeful that this story will increase understanding in the hearts of those who watch it and offer an important window into the lives of lesbian Mormons. If you've wanted to support a cause that can impact many people for the better, now is the time to contribute!
Who are the Filmmakers?
Dane Christensen grew up in Utah and is a second-year in the Documentary Film & Video MFA program at Stanford University. His filmmaking is rooted in the belief that the stories we tell can make change happen. His impetus for making this film comes from the urgent need to understand, empathize, and support our LGBT+ Mormon brothers and sisters.
Jenn Lee Smith was born into the Mormon faith in Taiwan and was raised partly in rural Utah. She worked in academia for over 10 years and pursued a PhD that focused on telling the stories of women migrants. Jenn Lee is a life-long student of film and writing, and strives to give voice to those who have yet to be heard.
Risks and challenges
What if the project isn't fully funded? Since this is Dane's thesis film, he needs to finish it in order to graduate. And Dane really wants to graduate! If the kickstarter isn't fully funded, the project will continue to be self-funded by Dane.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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