Adventist documentary filmmakers Stephen Eyer and Daneen Akers joined me for the 12th interview in the Viewpoints series at Adventist Today (interview link). The husband and wife team are behind the documentary, Seventh-Gay Adventists, which follows the stories of three individuals as they wrestle with their faith, the church, and their relationships. A Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the DVD/Blu-ray release is nearing its end.
AToday: What led you to be interested in this film project?
Eyer: Our introduction to this intersection of faith and identity really began because we started attending a small church plant in San Francisco led by Greg and Shasta Nelson, who were formerly Adventist pastors. They created a community that met on Sabbath mornings, and although it wasn’t officially an Adventist church, word got out that if you were an Adventist on the margins in the Bay Area, this could be a spiritual home. There were a good number of gay and lesbian Adventists who started attending there because they had no other place to worship on Sabbath. We simply got to know LGBT Adventists for the first time, and our assumptions and stereotypes did not match the people we got to know and love.
AToday: How have audiences generally responded to the film?
Eyer: It’s a remarkable experience to see people with very different perspectives come together, watch a film, and be able to have a conversation about it in a constructive way. That happened over and over. At the screening in Lincoln, NE, Chris Blake—a professor at Union College who moderated the discussion—joked that it was ironic a bunch of Adventists were able to create a sacred space in a theater of all places. But that’s really what has happened. We’ve seen it be really powerful for people to get the chance to step inside the lives and perspectives of people they usually know little about. It’s absolutely transformative, and that process of creating these sacred listening spaces all over the US, Canada and Australia has been one of my favorite parts of this entire project.
Read the complete interview here.
Additional articles addressing the film:
- When A Redneck Loved A Queer (Cruz, Believe Out Loud)
- An Open Letter to Conservatives (Akers, Spectrum)
- How I Became An Adventist Ally (Akers, Believe Out Loud)
- Paradigm Shifts & Miracles: Seventh-Gay Adventists (Akers, Knight, Patheos)