Slamdance Film Review: Kidnapped for Christ

Posted January 23, 2014 in
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Kidnapped for Christ
Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Kate S. Logan

David is a close-to-4.0 student enrolled in AP classes and an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate, but once his parents find out that he’s gay, he’s forcibly taken from his home in the early morning and enrolled in Escuela Caribe—a Christian youth correctional school in the Dominican Republic. Here, these born again Evangelicals manipulate biblical doctrine in order to brainwash teens into conforming to the model of an ideal, Christian, all-American adult—and any aberration is punished. Director Kate S. Logan graduated from a Christian college and originally sets out to document the school out of curiosity predicated by her faith. When she gets there, it becomes almost immediately clear that the staff at Escuela Caribe is abusing their students. They base their methods on culture shock (hence maintaining their facility in the Dominican Republic) and subject them to undue, superfluous physical exercise to the point of injury and sickness. The teens are ranked with outdated methods and categorized by their ranking, which are just numbers. Additionally, the kids—whom the school purports to have been troublemakers—seem to be victims who were sent to Escuela Caribe: Tai is a girl who was raped and subsequently disaffected with her family, and Beth is a girl who clearly suffers from acute anxiety issues. Even more sadistic is that the school denies the kids their right to leave when they are 18 and unlawfully forces them to stay until they’ve completed the program. Once Logan begins to see the damage that this school has done, she takes a secret letter from David to give to his best friend, Angie, who, with some adult neighbors, begin to organize a heist to get him out of there. This documentary effectively displays one of many schools of this kind, and shows the mania that extreme Christianity is capable of propagating. It delves deeply enough into the psyche of the kids interviewed at the school (along with some interviews years after their experiences) to demonstrate the tension and psychological/emotional trauma they feel. It’s highly informative and incredibly scary to think that these exist under the noses of federal lawmakers. Check out kidnappedforchrist.com for more information on the documentary and these hideous facilities.

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