Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, May 8: THIS IS WHAT LOVE IN ACTION LOOKS LIKE
Morgan Jon Fox’s look at the activism against a controversial ex-gay program screened at Frameline last Summer. It picked up awards or special mentions at various LGBT fests – Spokane, Indianapolis, Birmingham – as well as at Indie Memphis.
In 2005, when sixteen-year-old Zach came out to his parents, they sent the Memphis teen to Love In Action, a fundamentalist Christian program designed to “cure” homosexuals of their addictive behavior. With nowhere to turn, Zach shared his anxiety over this decision on his MySpace blog – social media made his posts go viral, and spurred a series of daily protests outside of “Refuge,” LIA’s teen program, bringing media attention and pressure to close the facility. Memphis filmmaker (and protest participant) Fox was granted exclusive access to Zach to tell his story in detail, while also profiling the friends and strangers who organized around his plight, former clients of LIA, and, most revealing, the former director of LIA. Perhaps reflecting the six years it took to complete his doc, Fox errs on the side of caution, not pushing Zach for details on his experiences in Refuge or on his decision not to share his story in more depth until now, but as the double meaning of the title signals, the activism around Zach’s situation is where the filmmaker has largely decided to focus his attention. The urgency of the protests allows the film to avoid feeling dated, and, certainly, there are many similar programs around the country that continue to prey on people’s prejudices, sadly making the film still very much relevant and a compelling example of what can be accomplished by grassroot organizing.