Competition Documentary Feature
Directed by: Kristine Stolakis
USA, 2020, 101m
Southeast Premiere/2nd US Screening
Gay conversion therapy can lead to depression, crippling anxiety, addiction, and suicidal inclinations. A practice that is especially popular amongst evangelicals, the “pray the gay away” movement has had many iterations over the decades, and it is still alive and well in America today. Pray Away explores how that world operates and examines its success in forwarding its agenda, much to the detriment of the LGBTQ+ community. Not so much interested in refuting specific passages of Scripture or trying to take away from anyone’s leanings regarding faith, this compelling and heartbreaking film centers on the people who perpetuate or are victims of this view on psychology, gender, orientation, and faith throughout history as well as today. Pray Away also hits close to home: the former ex-gay organization Exodus, which is explored in the film, was headquartered right here in Orlando.
The Cold War resulted in many famous competitions between the Soviet Union and the United States—the space race, arms race, etc. A lesser known competition was who could dig the deepest hole in the ground. This is particularly surprising since Hell may have been inadvertently discovered in the process.