– or why you should contribute to our film!
My name is Andrew Adams and I am a co-producer as well as the writer and editor and an actor in this short half hour film.
“Epiphany” is based on the experiences I had after my time in a Catholic religious order came to an end - it is therefore highly biographical.
The story begins with the main character Peter, a middle aged, white guy entering a massage parlour and taking his place on a massage table. He is attended to by Christian, a buff, Caribbean masseur who begins to work on his tense, out of shape body.
Peter responds by slowing coming out of his head and into his body, a place that he is not altogether comfortable with inhabiting. As this happens he opens up and starts to tell his story.
He begins with a flashback to the 1970’s where he is living with his lover Fred while battling with a desire to investigate a more spiritual, mystical yearning. The relationship fails and Peter, already disillusioned with the gay community because he never really felt accepted by it, becomes a born again Christian.
On his spiritual journey he meets and falls in love with St. Francis, becomes a Catholic and enters a Franciscan Catholic religious order, eventually taking a simple vow of poverty, obedience and celibacy.
Christian is appalled at this because he can not understand how anyone can live that way. Peter responds by noting that when you are in love with someone the things you give up to be with them don’t feel like sacrifices.
He then describes his love of religious life, his love of St Francis and Jesus and of God’s miraculous Creation.
His journey comes to an abrupt halt when he is not permitted to take his solemn vows on account of his problem with obedience.
Peter is convinced that if he wanted to become a priest he would still be in the order but he felt called to use the creative gifts and talents that God had given him that would surely have languished in parish work.
He tells the good Fathers that St Francis never wanted the brothers to become priests because they would then lord it over the brothers thus destroying the friars sense of fraternity and its life of poverty which is of course what happened over the seven hundred and ninety odd years since its founding.
This observation seals his fate.
The devastation of this rejection makes it impossible for him to continue the way of life of daily prayer and celibacy that he had began years before even going into the order.
Peter begins to feel that Christ has abandoned him.
Life will be nothing now but a slow descent into powerlessness, privation and despair.
He begins to cherish the times of joyous, exuberant, sexual intimacy that he experienced with Fred and begins to realize that they were just as spiritual as the times of prayer and good works that he did when he was in the order.
He decides to return to the gay community but once again is faced with the rejection that he experienced before when he was much, much younger. A life of celibacy was tolerable back then because it was a matter of choice but now it is unbearable because it’s born out of fear and rejection.
Peter’s story comes full circle and he relates how he met Christian in a video store. Christian explains to him that he is an erotic neo-tantra massage therapist and goes on to explain that it involves manipulation of the genitals that falls short of ejaculation by taking the energy that touch generates and redistributes through out the body through breathing exercises.
That energy renews, heals and vivifies the whole body to the point where the massage is seen by some as reconnecting oneself with the very “life force” that runs the universe!
Peter is immediately interested and agrees to experience it for himself.
The massage results in all the painful images of rejection that we saw previously, being expunged from Peter’s mind and body.
After a time, Christian unwraps Peter, sits him up and embraces him as Peter slowly recovers from the experience. Christian kisses Peter.
Peter experiences an Epiphany.
He dissolves into a flood of tears.
Film and Other Relevant Life Experience
I started to make films when I was sixteen after I had purchased a super 8 camera.
I graduated from a film school in 1974 and went on to work in television commercial, post production houses, on and off for the next 17 years.
During this time I became a born again Christian and then fell in love with St. Francis of Assisi – (a place in Italy that I have visited four times).
I converted to Roman Catholicism and five years later entered into the formation program of the Conventual Franciscans in Toronto. This came to an end when I was not permitted to take my solemn vows – a situation which precipitates the dramatic crisis presented in “Epiphany”.
Needless to say, this devastated me and I struggle to make sense of my vocation and calling in the world in which I live, to this very day.
During my time with the Franciscans I edited and directed two promo films for them.
After the Order I went back into the film industry and edited and directed a documentary called “Happy Pride” which premiered at the Inside/Out LGBT film festival in 2002.
I wrote 2 unproduced feature film scripts, and did odd freelance assistance jobs till SARS and the rise of the Canadian dollar, made finding work in the film industry hard to do. I took on a retail job to pay the bills.
Over the years I have remained in touch with people whom I met during my time in the industry and organizations such as the Directors Guild of Canada.
I sought and received help in editing the above promo video and would like to thank my editor friend David Ransley for his input into it.
My connections have produced somewhat serendipitous moments. Last December I found myself sitting beside a programmer in the TIFF Bell Lightbox Centre bar discussing the process of entering “Epiphany” into this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. This chance meeting was occasioned by my attendance at a retrospective screening at the Lightbox centre, of “The Hard Part Begins”, a film made 40 years ago by my friend Paul Lynch, which was programmed by the person I was later chatting with.
Why Support Our Film?
The massage depicted in the script more or less happened to me. This experience caused me to reflect on the dichotomy between spirituality and sexuality and I came to the conclusion that it was a false one.
During my studies at an evangelical fundamentalist seminary and then at the Toronto School of Theology when I was with the Franciscans, I came to the realization that the goal of existence was to enter a state of BEING where we become morally, ethically, socially, sexually, spiritually, economically and environmentally integrated, self-constituting, mature adults.
It is hard to accomplish this, if we not only remain ignorant of how we function as sexual beings but also demonize our sexual drives to love one another outside of strictly defined patriarchal boundaries. Are not the inner conflicts that this false dichotomy creates, an attack on the integrity of our very BEING?
You may have noticed that our 16:9 aspect ratio video contains 4:3 aspect ratio material. The latter was shot in 2009 when we first started to work on this project. As you can see Mardi and Phillip are still involved in it as is Nico Stagias who shot it, as well as the promo video. Janal and Sean committed themselves in 2009 to the project as well as the storyboard artist, Max Egbali who completed his work in 2010.
Why is it that they stuck with the project for so long?
It is because they love the script and want to see what it says, said!
And this commitment is shared by those who have come on board since then.
When you contribute to this project, even if it is just sharing it with your friends on FB or other social media sites, you too are saying that you want to see what it says, said. You are also contributing to the social and cultural debate which questions this false dichotomy between sexuality and spirituality and in so doing you will also help to open the debate about other false, destructive dichotomies such as public vs. private, the individual vs. community, labour vs. management, economic development vs. the environment etc, etc, etc.
So please donate and share and take comfort in knowing that you are participating in a conversation that addresses the most pressing issues of our time.
We are committed to making a well designed, photographed and edited film that is heavy on engagement, production value and needless to say entertainment and so are asking for $95,000.00 to make this 24 min. film. We believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well!
Roughly the breakdown is as follows, 33% will go to salaries, 27% will go to production costs, 21% to post production and 19% to finance rewards and Indiegogo, Paypal fees.
We have been asked by Indiegogo to let you know what we would do if we did not receive the total budget. This will depend upon how much money is donated. Should we decide to put what funding we get into production, we will none the less endeavour to honour our commitment to our donors, without whom our production would not be possible, when it is finished. Needless to say we will be working VERY HARD to ensure that all the money that we need, will in deed, be raised!!!
The rewards are as follows, $30 and up gets you a DVD of the video, $500 and up gets you dinner with Mardi and I in a Toronto restaurant of our choice and $1,000 and up gets you the life changing, healing touch therapy that Peter experiences in the video, at the very hands of master masseur and massage advisor, Phillip Coupal himself! If you have any concerns about this or any ideas about other rewards, please contact us at epiphanyprods@ hotmail.com.
Other rewards will be added as the campaign continues.
I want to thank all the people who have stuck with this project over the last three years and all those who have joined us since then. Your commitment and enthusiasm has been hugely encouraging! You folks are a great team and I am looking forward to working with you!
And finally I want to thank in advance those of you who will contribute to this project in whatever way you can. Your contribution is greatly appreciated – Thank You for joining our team and making it all possible!!!