Screening & Review & Response

When it rains, it pours, right? (And I love the rain.) Lately it seems that after it has been quiet around All God's Children for a little while, suddenly several things happen at the same time.

This past weekend the documentary screened for the first time outside of the USA, which makes it the International premiere, when mkPLANET and MK SafetyNet presented it at Queensway Cathedral in Toronto, Canada. Dana Crawford (adult missionary kid and co-founder of mkPLANET) wrote a report on the mkPLANET Blog about the screening, which also includes some great tips on sharing the film with others.

A big thank you to Beverly Shellrude Thompson (film participant, MK, co-founder MK SafetyNet) and Dana Crawford and everyone else who helped organize the screening and to Dr. Lois Kunkel (MK and therapist) and Nancy Mayer (Member of SNAP and therapist) for participating in the Q&A and to everyone for attending the event and supporting the survivors of abuse.


Dana Crawford, Beverly Shellrude Thompson, Lois Kunkel, Nancy Mayer during the Q&A
(photo by Ernie Thompson)


The very next morning we got notice that Bob Felton has published a thoroughly researched article about All God's Children on the blog Piety, Inc. (Independent coverage of the other white-collar crime). The article was also reposted on Bob Felton's blog Civil Commotion.

Bruises heal and fears recede, but the abiding injury is the humiliation and impotence of unanswered degradation, and there is no cure for that but justice. But when a courageous handful of Mamou ‘alumni’ stepped forward to demand justice, they were victimized again. 

The article does a great job capturing the facts of Mamou and the film, assesses the filmmaking style and gives some interesting context to certain Christian concepts. It also includes links to related documents, e.g. the Mamou report and reports from other denominations. Mr. Felton was also able to speak with someone at Christian and Missionary Alliance (the denomination who ran the boarding school and eventually initiated the investigation):

Mark Failing, a spokesperson for C&MA, said “I think it is” when I asked him if All God’s Children is an accurate portrayal of events at Mamou. He adds, though, that no investigation of allegations elsewhere has turned-up like abuse, and speculates that what went wrong at Mamou was a failure of leadership. Beverly Thompson’s answer to that is swift and no-nonsense: “It was not unique.”
MK SafetyNet has on numerous occasions, and again in a recent press release, challenged "the denomination to establish an Independent Investigation into all allegations of abuse at the following schools: Dalat Academy, Quito Alliance, Sentani, Bongolo, Zamboanga, and in their dorms at Ivory Coast Academy." From what I understand, up to this point all the investigations have been internal investigations - except for the one into the abuse allegations at Mamou Alliance Academy.

CMA has recently published a page in response to All God's Children and the discussions that the film has stirred up. The writer (not listed) of the page points out that we included "very little" of Dr. Fetherlin's (CMA) interview and then proceeds to share excerpts from the interview as transcripts and video clips (they had their own camera run along with our interview). Of course, just the same way, they also don't include the entire interview on this page - and specifically leave out parts that are featured in the film.

Just for a fun fact: we have about 70 hours of footage that we edited down to a 70 minute film. A less fun fact: on this response page CMA made available for download the interview request letter Scott originally sent to them when we still thought the documentary would focus on several denominations' boarding schools (now just listed in the titles). Is it just me or does it seem a little petty to publicize this letter (without permission, of course)?

As I've said at almost every screening, we’re grateful that the CMA was so open to participate in the documentary and (I'd like to add now) that they can’t find anything wrong with the finished film, but we wish they would be inspired by the film and their own positive actions depicted, to initiate independent investigations into the other schools and finally allow justice for all the abuse survivors and their families.