'Children of God' Exposes Homophobia in the Bahamas
A new documentary from gay filmmaker Kareem Mortimer exposes homophobia in the Bahamas. The documentary 'Children of God' opened earlier this month at the sixth annual Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF)
Mortimer, a native Bahamian, told The Hollywood Reporter that his film was inspired by the murders of five gay men in the country over a period of several months in 2007 and 2008. “Two of them I knew personally,” Mortimer said. “One was the subject of a documentary I produced — he had AIDS and was killed very violently near where I live. He was almost decapitated. Another guy, a fashion designer, was stabbed multiple times in his house.”
In Children of God, Mortimer focuses on the lives of a gay couple hiding their relationship from one partner’s family and the wife of an antigay — yet closeted — pastor.
Bahamas International Film Festival executive director Leslie Vanderpool said Mortimer’s film received a positive response earlier this month at the sixth annual event. “There was no negative reaction at all, and that’s because people were ready for it,” she said. “I really want Bahamians to be exposed to these types of stories — and then move on.”
Despite its controversial subject, "Children of God" had no trouble finding backers. "I raised the money locally from supporters of my work," says Mortimer, who has been making documentaries here for six years. "I called in favors from individuals who have supported my work."
The director wasn't able to tap a much-anticipated government subsidy that aims to give 17% of local spend back to filmmakers and which has been frozen in Parliament; but the government did waive taxes on imported equipment and paid for the crew's hotel rooms.
With a cast made up largely of Bahamians and a crew that mixed both locals and outsiders, the movie was shot over 24 days across the country, benefiting from some of the most glorious locales in the world.