About this project
Thank you hardly seems enough to say in response to the incredible community that has come together to make this campaign such a success. We are so thrilled to see how enthusiastic people are about sharing this film with their families, churches, and communities. We have been working very hard to coordinate all of the logistics to get this film into your hands soon (we just wrapped the filmed Q & A you all helped make happen). If you didn't get a chance to be part of this campaign, please know you can contribute to this project and ongoing effort through our non-profit route at www.sgamovie.com/donate. We'll also have pre-ordering options up at www.sgamovie.com shortly (both for digital and physical copies). And you can always find us on our Facebook page at www.fb.com/sgamovie. Thanks so very much! (Daneen & Stephen, 10/27/13)
What a tremendous response to this campaign! Thank you all so much. It's amazing to see how quickly the initial goal was reached (less than 100 hours!). Clearly people want to share this film widely and help facilitate this conversation. Please keep it going! We have several great stretch goals to make this film release as impactful as possible, and it's still just a great deal to get copies of the film (shipping is included for U.S. addresses) and be part of making something important happen.
Here are our stretch goals:
$25,000 - We film an intro and Q&A with Stephen Eyer and Daneen Akers (directors/producers).
$30,000 - We add 3-4 additional languages to the DVD/Blu-ray. (We are already committed to Spanish, Portuguese, and French. The next four most requested languages are German, Italian, Korean, and Russian. Closed captioning in English is already part of our initial goal.)
$35,000 - We'll have the funds to get the film on iTunes (with the subtitle and closed captioning options) and have the film even more widely available.
$40,000 - We send five DVDs of the film to every Adventist college and university in North America, Europe and Australia (where we have appropriate languages) along with resource books. And as a community celebration, we'll offer the film for free (online) for Thanksgiving weekend. (We can't think of a better purpose for the film than to help families understand each other better and have a starting place for a real conversation.)
And, here's one to melt your heartstrings, Lily wants to participate. She probably heard us talking about stretch goals this morning, and, completely on her own, she made a "love book" to help with the DVD. At the moment it's in her own secret language, but we could translate some ; ) She'd like to make more (her words were, "One hundred is not too many for me to make, Mommy! I'm such a crafter.") So, we are going to add a piece of "Love Artwork By Lily" as a perk for anyone who pledges at the $150 level. (That's a new level we're adding now that would have everything at the $100 level plus this very heart-warming perk!). Anyone can adjust their pledge upward by visiting the project page (http://www.sgamovie.com/kickstarter), clicking "Manage Your Pledge," and entering a new amount. (Note that the amount you enter will be entire amount you are now pledging, e.g. $150, rather than an addition to your current one.)
We now have until Sunday, Oct. 27th at 9 PM (Pacific) to raise funds for this campaign. Unfortunately, we do not get any of the funds from Kickstarter until two weeks after the campaign ends (around mid-November). So even though we reached our initial goal early, we still have to wait for the funds to arrive and the DVDs to ship. However, now that we know we're going to receive funding, we can start working on some of the specific things needed to complete the DVD/Blu-ray with our vendors.
Our goal is to have the DVDs/Blu-rays ship by early December. We want you to be able to give these to Santa for delivery since they will make excellent stocking stuffers! We'll continue to keep you posted on our progress as we go along.
Please keep pledging and sharing!
Again, thank you, thank you for making this happen--and so quickly! Please do keep sharing. Its really rather great to actually see the huge interest in this conversation. We've felt this energy, and now you've demonstrated that it's really there!
Love and gratitude,
Stephen & Daneen (& Lily...less than 100 hours after launching this campaign!)
Faith, identity, and sexuality collide in this raw and moving documentary about the challenges and spiritual journeys of three Seventh-day Adventists who love God and their church and are also gay. Can their faith and sexual orientation be reconciled? Will they find a spiritual home? And what does it mean to belong when you find yourself on the margins? The stories in this film are intimately and authentically shared in a way that lets viewers from different perspectives and all walks of life to enter into their lives and truly journey with them.
Seventh-Gay Adventists is a feature-length, independent documentary film about three gay and lesbian Seventh-day Adventists who share their lives as they navigate being both Adventist and gay. Through the lens of real people and real stories, this film is creating listening spaces for genuine dialogue and connection all over the country (and internationally) from film festivals to churches.
Although this topic is often controversial, this film's tone and style has been endorsed for simply allowing the audience to enter into the lives of three people who deeply love God, their faith, and are also gay.
One young man spent five years in "ex-gay" therapy trying to become straight, but now he's falling in love with another man and wondering if that can be okay. Another was an Adventist pastor in Brazil who was fired for being gay. Can he find his calling again? And a lesbian mom from the midwest wants her daughters to grow up with her faith and beliefs, even though she knows her church might not accept their family. Growing up Adventist means knowing you belong. And being Adventist is about much more than a set of beliefs--it's a close-knit community not easily left. Discovering you are gay in this community often means loss and exile from all that has been home. This feature-length documentary follows their raw and moving journeys as they wrestle with deep questions and struggle to find a place where they can integrate identity, love, and belief.
The film is set in the context of the Seventh-day Adventist church, the fastest growing denomination in the U.S. with a large international presence, but people from all walks of life have been connecting with these stories even if they can't tell their Adventists from their Mormons. It's a slice of life that's powerful, real, and simply human.
This film has now screened to well over 13,500 people at both LGBT film festivals and churches around the country and internationally. Along the way, it has garnered endorsements from a wide range of thought leaders in both the Adventist and Christian faith communities and the LGBT community.
"This is a beautiful and compelling film...Although it's set in the context of Seventh-day Adventism, anyone who has felt that their faith and sexuality are in conflict will instantly get this film." - Sharon Groves, director, religion and faith program, Human Rights Campaign
"This film is—hands down—the best bridge-building film in this genre that I’ve seen." - Andrew Marin, author of Love is an Orientation
"This is a really beautiful, gentle, compelling film that I found very hopeful." - Daniel Karslake, director of For the Bible Tells Me So
"It's rare to find a film that deals with this subject with this much nuance and sensitivity! We enjoyed showing it at our annual conference, and I'm happy to recommend it to others who want an insightful look into the human side of the gay debate in conservative churches." - Justin Lee, Executive Director, The Gay Christian Network
"The film is superb--a poignant and profound experience beyond any I've seen on the subject." - Chris Blake, author and professor of English, Union College
"The movie, which simply tells stories rather than taking an advocacy stance, is powerful. It can, I believe, do much to make Adventists more compassionate..." - Dr. William Johnsson, retired editor The Adventist Review
What This Film Can Do
We spent the last year traveling to screenings all across the United States, Canada, and Australia. In order to make this happen, we gave up our apartment and lived on the road (with our 4-yr-old daughter who has become quite the ambassador), which sounds a bit more grand and idealistic than it felt in the moment, but we wouldn't trade the opportunity to witness the transformative power of this film for anything. For a recent story of what happened after a screening in a very small, very conservative, very religious town in the South, see "When a Redneck Loved a Queer" from Believe Out Loud.
We've already been seeing and hearing incredible stories about the impact this film has had on families, churches, schools, and individuals. It's become a movement about sharing, listening, and loving without caveats, even if we have differences. It's really become a quiet revolution of love and listening to the stories that aren't usually heard.
Now that we are done with our film festival run and other major screenings, we know it's time to get the film on DVD so that it can be shared in even more places. The people in this film model a generous graciousness that shifts paradigms and opens hearts and minds regardless of theological differences. It's time to have this conversation in a new way, in an authentic way. And this film is facilitating those transformative spaces when people connect and truly engage.
"If you are processing how a 'follower of Jesus' should respond to someone whom society has labelled as LGBT, you owe it to yourself to add this documentary to the list of resources you are considering. I was unexpectedly blown away... I cannot recommend this film highly enough." Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries and author of Finding the Father
"Whatever one's position regarding homosexuals and the church may be, this film is worth seeing because it candidly probes issues with real human faces and stories." - Dr. Roy Gane, author and Seventh-day Adventist seminary professor
“As a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor, watching this film has changed my personal paradigm. I have determined to follow Jesus who stood both with and for the socially and financially marginalized, to love them and serve them in order to draw them to God, to respect them as human beings first and regard gender orientation secondarily. For after all, aren’t the separating walls of gender, class, nationality, and culture torn down in Christ?” – Pastor Bill Clark (West Virginia)
"What was wonderful about the film was that it did not take place on a mere theological level but on the human level of individuals struggling between the church and ideals they love and their sexual orientation. Therein lies the greatest strength of the film, I think. You brought these individuals close to us, and helped put a human face on what has been otherwise dealt with as a theological problem. Seeing this film will and must have an impact on the way we as a church community have been reading and interpreting scripture." - Dr. Abi Doukhan, Adventist lay leader, professor, and president of the society of Adventist Philosophers
How You Can Help!
Now, we're here to ask for your support to help share these moving stories far and wide. We've heard from so many of you that you can't wait to share this film with key people in your lives, and now we really need your help to make it happen.
We need to raise funds to create the DVD and online release of the film. This money will go towards producing and editing the special features, graphic design, authoring the DVD/Blu-ray/online versions, and creating multiple language translations, subtitles, and closed captioning, and retooling the website so it's easy to find resources and discussion guides. All these are hard costs that we need up front to make this happen.
From the very beginning, this film has been funded by the grassroots community that has come together to make it possible. It's been a huge challenge at times for us to know how we will pay for basic expenses, and none of this ever seemed possible four and a half years ago when this project began. Somehow, when we keep moving forward, the resources come in to make it happen. Thank you all so much for bringing this project this far. You have created a miracle. And now we need your help for this final phase.
We're keeping the campaign amount to the bare minimum and hoping for more because we'd like to have the additional time and resources to add some of the special features the SGA fan base has told us (enthusiastically) that they want.
If we make our stretch goals (more on that after we meet the minimum!), we'll add special features like filming a Q & A with us and adding more stories of other LGBT Adventists that we started to follow but couldn't fit in the film. And if we make more than that, we'll continue to host as many screenings and workshops as we can in communities that need and want this conversation. We want to keep doing this work as long as we can because we've seen the hugely positive impact this film is having on lives, families, churches, and communities.
Thanks for believing in us and for making this project possible. We've put together some incentives for support at every level! Please do what you can. And please, please share this campaign with your family, friends, and colleagues. Anyone in the world can give to this campaign, so let your international friends know too!
The way Kickstarter works is all or nothing, which is high risk, but it also means that you can pledge in confidence that you won't be charged unless we have raised enough funds to actually make it happen. But it means we need your help to spread the word so we can get this DVD made!
And thank you. You are the small, committed group of people who are making a difference. Oh--and Lily wants to tell you all that's she really wants the DVD to be done so that "Everyone in the whole world can watch the love film at the same time," and that, "You are the best people ever." (She's a smart one ; )
Who We Are
We are Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer. We're producing partners focusing on documentary films that connect us and share stories that might not otherwise be seen. We also happen to be married to each other.
Why would a straight couple make a film about gay Adventists? (We like to think we're "Straight but not Narrow….) It's a long tale, but the highlights are that we go back five generations in the Adventists church on both sides. To us, this is our family. About eight years ago, we started attending a small, nontraditional, welcoming-to-all church in San Francisco where we simply got to really know and love LGBT Adventists, and we realized that our faith community had often completely mistreated people in the name of God. We witnessed some very disturbing events when Prop 8 really upped tensions in churches in CA, and, since we were expecting our daughter just a month after the elections, we had started asking ourselves what sort of world and faith community we wanted to raise her in. (To read more about how we came to be making this film and the journey here, see Kimberly Knight's "Paradigm Shifts & Miracles: Seventh-Gay Adventists".)
This film began as more of a classic issue film with experts from across the spectrum debating the topic, but gradually, we realized that people don't need more debates--they know the debate points--what we all need is stories. Real, authentic, intimate stories that let us journey with someone whose life, challenges, and faith we think we already know all about, until we actually get to hear them speak for themselves. We would have never predicted that we'd have made this film, that somehow we could have survived the challenges of making and screening it, or that our lives would be so profoundly enriched by the experience. We're eager for the next stage when these stories can impact even more homes and communities.
Risks and challenges
The last four and a half years of making, editing, posting, and screening this film has been fraught with obstacles! It's often hard for us to truly believe how it has all happened, so the potential obstacles in this final phase feel minor in comparison. However, there are always risks from equipment not working as it should, a vendor having an unforeseen delay, Lily getting into the hard drives (they actually aren't all in the same place), or such. Please know that the grassroots SGA film community that has made this project happen is incredibly dear to us, and we'd communicate with you through any challenges or obstacles that arise.
Note: This film is an independent production and is not officially sanctioned, endorsed, or sponsored by the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists or its affiliates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (31 days)