There will be Q&A after the world premier of this doco next Wednesday with Paul Martin, Anthony Venn-Brown (featured in doco), Andrew Blythe, editor of Queensland Pride and Malcolm Burt producer. Only 20 tickets left.The Bedroom Commandments is a fundraiser for GLWA (Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association) and is sponsored by Queensland Pride.
The Bedroom Commandments, Wednesday June 15 at 6pm, Palace Centro Cinema, James Street, Fortitude Valley.
Documentary filmmaker Malcolm Burt’s current film The Bedroom Commandments investigates the conflict between sexuality and religion. Burt says he had always wanted to explore this controversial area.
“I had an interest in religion, but when I realised I was gay I felt religion simply wasn’t going to be a club I could be a part of. However, I genuinely wanted to know: can one be gay and formally religious?”
Over the past two years Burt has worked tirelessly with mainstream and alternative religions documenting a range of perspectives. The film presents testimony from a wide cross section of belief systems including: Pentecostalists, Catholics, Atheists, Pagans, Anglicans and others.
“The greatest challenge was getting either a gay muslim or a liberal religious minister appear; I failed on both counts. There are great proclamations from the church about being welcoming to gays, but when it comes to saying that on camera, we had people agree and then be told they were forbidden to speak.”
Alongside these practical issues Burt also expressed concerns around his own legitimacy.
“Initially I questioned whether I was religious enough to be asking these questions, I felt illegitimate when listening to people pour their hearts out about transcendent or horrific experiences. But I came to think of myself as an everyman or ‘everygayman’; I hadn’t had such experiences but my keen interest and skill in documentary making meant I could get the film made and have these stories heard.”
The film, funded by Burt himself with a finishing grant from QAHC, presents points of view that will shock and anger viewers.
He says the most difficult aspect of making the film was hearing “the agonising stories of staying in the closet due to religion, or being forced into ex-gay programs then considering suicide – this was standard. It made me ask, why does it need to be this brutal for gays to find peace with religion? Didn’t God make us this way?”
Burt describes how the process of making the film altered his own views on religion and sexuality. “I was always open to truly experience religion; up to that point it hadn’t happened. I was invited with my partner to a gay-affirming church. It was perfectly standard – until I was asked to take communion and the priest told me how welcome I was, and how my journey and questioning was the right thing. I missed the rest. I became overwhelmed and began to weep; ugly hard crying, and it went on for a while. Something happened: whether I was simply victim of the theatre of church, or whether this feeling of warmth and rightness and acceptance was something else . . . who knows?”
Purchase tickets here
The Bedroom Commandments – 7 minute trailer from Malcolm Burt on Vimeo.