This is a Film that Attempts to Be as Neutral as Possible
Throughout my legal career, I have had many, many opportunities to serve and work as a neutral both here in the U.S. and abroad. It is never an easy task. Oftentimes, people who are caught up on one side of an issue cannot see “neutrality.” All they can see is that the “neutral” was not “neutral enough” on their side. That is precisely how bias and prejudice operate—they tint the lenses through which we see the world in ways that we cannot even begin to appreciate. Intelligent, well-read and well-studied people understand that perfect “neutrality” on an explosive issue like Civil Unions or Gay Rights is very, very difficult for a filmmaker to achieve. This filmmaker has managed to do just that.
This film was not made to appease hard-core Gay Rights activists or to somehow “bend” the conservative Christian church. It was constructed in a wholly neutral fashion to help the average person in the street understand both sides and perspectives of this issue and perhaps begin to seek more understanding and education of the opposing viewpoint. There is no hidden agenda here; no dark, Oliver Stone-like conspiracy, seeking to undermine either side. I have heard one critical person worry that there might be “hidden forces” at work in this film. That is simply not the case and, knowing the individual making the comment as a hard-core activist, they hardly have the perspective of the average person on the street and are in no position to see this film’s brilliant and moving neutrality. It is, after all, this neutrality that allows the viewer to begin to honestly question his or her own perspectives and perhaps prepare to move to a different space.
Moving into the production details a bit, the notion that somehow this filmmaker made unfair use of lighting or backgrounds or camera techniques to prejudice the viewer is simply not the case. Perhaps you do not like the lighting of background of a particular scene and wish it were otherwise to make “your” advocate appear stronger, but that is a far cry from trying to maintain a neutral perspective. For instance, if Pastor Wayne Cordeiro appears more modeled, it is only because the film crew managed to squeak out a hasty interview with him while he was in his own church’s studio in the midst of doing other productions. The lighting and coloring were not contrived to make him appear more authoritative. Notice, for instance, that the various scenes throughout the entire film of the two opposing (from a viewpoint perspective) psychologists use equal amounts of blue or colored elements and that both wear blue throughout the entire film. The filmmaker’s objective here was to light every single interview in such a way as to achieve the best aesthetic look, period. There is no color schema or psychological divisiveness deployed in the making of this film.
The lower third name & title supers use the information that was given by the interviewees to “Chasing Rainbows” and do not approach anything prejudicial. They reflect the content point to be established. I do not buy the dark, paranoid suggestion to the contrary by one ranting critic whose glasses are severely tinted.
There are no Hidden “Forces” secretly funding this Production
I know the books and I know the financing of this film production. As the filmmaker, Greg Andermann disclosed at the outset of the UH Forum on Friday, October 29, “Chasing Rainbows” received 2 extremely modest seed-money donations at the very outset of the project: one from a conservative church and one from a liberal church. Those two donations combined amount to less than 1% of this film’s production cost and had no impact whatsoever on the intellectual content, force or direction of this production. None. The remaining 99% of the production costs for “Chasing Rainbows” have been personally financed by the filmmaker. There is no secret financing here that tainted this film’s remarkable neutrality.
Actor’s Remorse is the same as Buyer’s Remorse
There are a couple of the film’s actor/participants that are very high-profile within the Hawaii LGBT community and have appeared in countless LGBT promotional materials, magazine articles, and on magazine covers, in political ads, and in political publications. They readily and most willingly volunteered to be in the film, “Chasing Rainbows” and signed full Talent Waiver Releases granting the production full legal rights. Later, they somehow they leaped to the bizarre conclusion that the film was wholly funded by the evangelical Christian church and have asked to be taken out of the film for that reason. Their premise is wrong and this is a legal issue that ends with the signing of a Talent Waiver Release.
Reverse Bullying and Bashing
It is a sad fact of life that oftentimes a civil rights movement will have hard-core, hate-filled groups that actually operate to inflame the challenges and then drag the movement and process down.
The civil rights movement under Dr. Martin Luther King still had the radical likes of Malcom X and Huey Newton spewing violence and hatred contra to the civil disobedience approach of Dr. King. This whole issue of Civil Unions and Gay Rights is no different. The church has its ultra-conservative and “Anti-Gay” groups just as the LGBT community has its own hard-core, “Anti” elements. We witnessed this reverse bullying and bashing in spades at the UH Forum on October 29. A hate-spewing critic made awful comments about the William H. Richardson Law School and the University of Hawaii as “prostituting” themselves for this film production by hosting an open public forum on the issue of Civil Unions. The critic, who came in late, proceeded to misunderstand, misinterpret, and then twist comments of members of the Panel and then bash the film, the law school and the U.H. then made the preposterous statement that comments of the Panelists were somehow part of the film (under the theory, I suppose, that the film’s soundtrack had not yet been finalized and was being spontaneously redone right there in the U.H. Architecture Auditorium). To take language out of context by panel speakers and then suggest that the film production made those statements is not only inaccurate and unfair, it is an outright lie generated solely for the purposes of sensationalism and creating hatred. Moreover, this same, hate-spewing critic then went on to make the dishonest, intellectual leap that this film production and public forums on the issue, like the “Chasing Rainbows” Public Forum at U.H., supported the pre-existing-causes, reasons and rationale behind the terrible psychological stigmas that induce today’s suicides in Gay youth in the U.S. A portion of this critic’s commentary can be found at as the first “Guest” comment to the Hawaii News Now article, “Hawaii Film ‘Chasing Rainbows’ Gets Hollywood’s Attention”. Obviously, this bizarre notion is not only preposterous, it is a form of intellectual violence. It is a reverse form of bullying and bashing and, taken to its logical conclusion, this hateful critic would eliminate all public forums and discussion on this critical issue. Where is the common-sense solution in that approach?
If more people could understand the basic issues of why both sides feel the way that they do – there is no question that a pragmatic, productive and realistic rationale could be developed for emotional healing and substantial reconciliation on the part of the church towards the LGBT and vice versa. But this is not going to happen overnight. Progress does take time, no matter how impatient we are. This individual’s unwillingness to participate in a forum to seek reconciliation or to view or allow others to view a film that may have something valuable to teach us about the “other” side simply lacks common sense. That kind of unwillingness is based on some selfish need to show hostility or present a militant face. It does not advance the ball.
Reconciliation and healing will require that we all find common ground on this issue. Common ground necessitates being able to peek out from under the spectacles of bias or prejudice that we all carry. You can never take those lenses of prejudice completely off in my experience, but you can lift them a bit, and peek out from under the lenses–with education or a bit more understanding of the “other” side. That is where the brilliance of Greg Andermann’s “Chasing Rainbows” comes in. The film gives “the average guy in the street” a chance, for once, to learn about this explosive, emotional issue and the “other” side. It is preparing the ground for change.