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"Kidnapped for Christ" debuted at the Slamdance Film Festival, an alternative film festival running at the same time as the Sundance Film Festival, last week. The film explores a Christian school in the Dominican Republic where frustrated parents sent their children to shape up. The documentary shows abuse the kids suffer, and controversial behavior-modification methods, including attempting to convert gay children to straight.
"I get a lot of things across my desk that I don’t attach myself to, but I saw the footage and was like ‘Oh, my gosh,’" the former ‘N Sync member said. "My jaw dropped. I can’t believe that this even existed, and I knew I was called to do something."
Bass, the executive producer of the film, spoke about it at Sunday’s Human Rights Campaign party; the HRC is dedicated to advancing the rights and causes of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
Bass said the reaction to the film at Slamdance has been overwhelming.
"People have walked out because they are so mad that they actually had to walk out the theater," he said.
Bass is pushing for Congress to regulate these schools and raise awareness of the issue. Besides the documentary, which does not yet have a distributor, there is also the website for the film, kidnappedforchrist.com.
"No one knows about it — and that’s really scary to me. I didn’t know about it. I’ve heard of these places, but I really didn’t think too much about it," Bass said.
"The big thing is the awareness. We want people to know this is happening, and, yes, some of these schools are good and they do good for kids. But the majority of them are just abusing them, and all we want is regulation."
—Nekesa Mumbi Moody
ILM STRIKES PERSONAL CHORD » Zoe Saldana and Mark Ruffalo explore the effects of mental illness on a family in their movie "The Infinite Polar Bear."
Ruffalo and Saldana play parents, Cameron and Maggie, in the 1970s. After Ruffalo’s character loses his job after having a nervous breakdown, the family falls on hard times. Maggie gets accepted into an MBA program out of state and must leave their two daughters in the care of their father.
Saldana said the story struck a chord with her because she lost her own father as a child.
"It sort of had a very powerful impact on me once I read the script because of the whole father and daughters relationship, and that sort of hit home for me," said the actress.
Saturday’s premiere marked Ruffalo’s eighth film at Sundance.
"I have a history at this place," he explained. "This will be my eighth movie here and the first time I came here was in 1990," he said.
"I didn’t have a movie here and I lived in a ski dorm with a bunch of skiers for $30 a night, dreaming about the day that I’d get to go to Sundance with a movie," he laughed, " and here I am eight movies later ... It’s cool."
— Alicia Rancilio
KRUGER’S SUNDANCE DEBUT » Diane Kruger made her first trip to the largest U.S. indie film festival for the premiere of "The Better Angels," about a young Abraham Lincoln.
"This is my first time in Sundance. So it seems very crowded and fun," Kruger said Saturday. "It’s a really neat resort and the movies are a little bit more independent I guess than the Cannes Film Festival’s are. So I’m really excited to be here."Next Page >
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