“Kate Plays Christine,” “Bisbee ’17,” and “Actress” filmmaker Robert Greene follows survivors of Catholic church sex abuse in his latest documentary “Procession,” which premiered to a rapturous reception at the Telluride Film Festival. The film is set to be released in select theaters from Netflix on November 12, followed by a global arrival on the streaming platform November 19. Exclusive to IndieWire, watch the trailer for the film below.
Here’s the official synopsis courtesy of Netflix: “Six midwestern men — all survivors of childhood sexual assault at the hands of Catholic priests and clergy — come together to direct a drama therapy-inspired experiment designed to collectively work through their trauma. As part of a radically collaborative filmmaking process, they create fictional scenes based on memories, dreams and experiences, meant to explore the church rituals, culture and hierarchies that enabled silence around their abuse. In the face of a failed legal system, we watch these men reclaim the spaces that allowed their assault, revealing the possibility for catharsis and redemption through a newfound fraternity.”
Greene spoke to IndieWire about the decision to allow the survivors to co-direct the movie to “give some catharsis and healing.” He added that “the filmmaking decisions are all tied into choices to be therapeutic.”
“The participants are empowered in front of the camera to believe, and rightfully so, that they are steering the ship. In many ways, [to understand] that they have authorship,” said cinematographer Robert Kolodny, who shares a “film by” credit with Greene, the survivors, and other members of the crew. “It lends it this exciting feeling on and off set. It really feels like they are as active of collaborators as the producers, as the camera people, as the sound person, we’re all in this together.”
From IndieWire’s review out of “Procession” out of Telluride: “It goes without saying that encouraging these men to write, direct, and act out scenes from their worst nightmares is a fraught process. And — at least for those familiar with Greene’s work — it should also go without saying that it’s a relatively transparent one. For every wall that this outgrowth of drama therapy allows [survivor Mike] Foreman and his fellow survivors to break through, it has the potential to build another right behind… As one of the survivors puts it, referencing another movie with which all of them are assuredly familiar: ‘‘Spotlight’ was about trying to get in from the outside. In our film, we’re trying to get out.’ It’s not for us to say whether they do here, or will some day in the future, but cinema is a collaborative medium, and watching these men crew for each other is more than just a counterbalance to the Church’s unforgivable betrayal — it’s a beautiful work of art unto itself.