Kidnapped For Christ
Originally printed 6/26/2014 (Issue 2226 - Between The Lines News)
LOS ANGELES - SHOWTIME presents a television premiere of "Kidnapped For Christ," the award-winning documentary chronicling the shocking truth behind Escuela Caribe, a "troubled teen" school run in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.
"They tied a belt around my waste and dragged me to their car," David, an Escuela Caribe survivor, states in the trailer for the film. "They dragged me through the airport like that."
David, who was a straight-A student, was placed in Escuela Caribe in 2006 after coming out to his parents. Once David's community got word of what happened to him (after some time with no communication), they immediately took steps to release him. But getting him out of the school proved much more difficult than they anticipated. How far would Escuela Caribe go?
"Kidnapped For Christ" follows the lives of students who were totally isolated with no contact to the outside world, let alone their families, who were put through shocking and abusive tactics in hopes to "cure" them of their homosexuality and or behavioral problems. The 85-minute documentary shows Director Kate Logan meeting David, Beth, a 15-year-old from Michigan suffering from panic attacks and Tai, a 16-year-old Haitian-American from Boston who was caught experimenting with drugs he used for coping with a childhood trauma.
Logan, an evangelical Christian film producer, was granted unprecedented access and allowed to live on the campus for a summer. Originally there to capture the positive experience this type of school has for struggling youth, her eyes were opened up to the truth beneath the rural summer camp. During her stay, Logan decided to help a student escape from the so-called "therapeutic boarding school."
Featured in the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival and the 2014 Sundance Festival, "Kidnapped For Christ" is controversial among those that support youth-reform camps, faith based or not. Logan, who went into the filming process with no idea of the harm, said in an interview with filmmakermagazine.com that the abusive and inappropriate practices in these types of unregulated residential treatment programs for youth are widespread and systematic.
"The reality is, these programs aren't accountable to anyone, so they do what they want with the kids in their care and that can often become dangerous," Logan said.
"I thought it would be a heart-warming film about troubled teens learning about another culture at the same time as they dealt with their issues from back home. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into," Logan told filmmakermagazine.com.
LGBT kids from around the country are sent to these types of camps each year. According to the documentary's kickstarter page, approximately 157 American teens have died from these types of behavioral modification programs over the past 40 years, which exist all around the USA and other countries.
Since many of the teens that are sent to these schools are under the age of 18, there isn't much the teen can do to escape imprisonment. Kidnapping and shipping adolescents off to these types of programs is legal under US law, with parental consent. Forbes magazine estimates that this industry is worth over two billion dollars.
Tune into SHOWTIME on July 10 at 7:30 ET/PT to see David and Logan best the traumatizing school and get him out.
For more information on the story and to see the trailer visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kateslogan/kidnapped-for-christ.
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