Private Project

Conversion Therapist

A pansexual, polyamorous trio kidnap a 'pray-the-gay-away' evangelical conversion therapist and torture him until he sees the light.

  • Bears Rebecca Fonte
    Director
    Roadside Assistance, The Procedure, iCrime
  • Bears Rebecca Fonte
    Writer
    Roadside Assistance, Prenatal, iCrime
  • J. Brad Wilke
    Producer
    13 Chambers
  • Sara Fletcher
    Key Cast
    “Justine”
    Days of Our Lives, Secret Girlfriend, NCIS
  • Evalyn Jake
    Key Cast
    “Salina”
  • Michael Dickson
    Key Cast
    “Ira”
    Black Mountainside
  • Jordan Morgan
    Key Cast
    “Clay”
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    LGBTQ, Horror, Thriller, Drama
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    27,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.39:1
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Distribution Information
  • Real Rain Productions
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Bears Rebecca Fonte

Bears Rebecca Fonté is a transgender writer/director and the founder and Artistic Director of Other Worlds Austin, one of the preeminent sci-fi film festivals in the world. In two years as the Director of Programming for Austin Film Festival, Bears helped shepherd 38 world premiere features and had seven films picked up for distribution at (or immediately following) the festival. Their current sci-fi short, Prenatal, has played 15+ festivals in five months, and their feature thriller, iCRIME, which they wrote and directed, was released on DVD, VOD, and streaming by Vicious Circle Films in 2011. Their last short film, the supernatural thriller Roadside Assistance, screened at over 69 festivals including Sci-Fi London and Dances With Films. Bears was also one of the producers on the Sundance jury award-winning short film The Procedure. Bears also self-produced two web series which have been seen by a combined ten million viewers.

Prior to arriving in Austin, Bears wrote coverage for independent producers and coverage services in LA and placed in nearly every single screenwriting contest out there. Bears received his BA from Carleton College in British Studies and Theatre Studies, and an MFA in Directing from Indiana University. They've directed over forty plays, including the Austin Critics Table nominee Corpus Christi, and the Austin Shakespeare Festival's Complete Works of Shakspeare (Abridged). They studied writing with noted playwrights Jeff Hatcher and Denis Reardon, and directed the first-ever professional productions by Princess Grace Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Don Zolidis and up-and-coming playwright Itamar Moses.

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Director Statement

On June 12th, 2016, I woke up to coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting and felt my heart being ripped out. Even worse, I was due to moderate a Q&A of the Sandy Hook shooting documentary Newtown that night. What world were we living in? In the aftermath of Pulse, I couldn’t believe the bigotry of certain “ministers” who did more than hint that they believed the terrorist had done the world a favor. I poured my anger into this script and project.

But I also had started a ticking clock. I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to bring this story, with its transgender character, into the world and honestly discuss the story with the actors, crew and audiences without first being honest about myself. When I launched our Kickstarter campaign, I also announced to the world that I was Transgender.

A filmmaker has to realize they are on the front line at festivals, represent these issues as they represent their film, understand what is “in play” with their film and be ready to defend it. For my film, in addition to conversion therapy, I know the discussion will be about my own journey and the character of Salina, on whom the entire plot hinges. The most important thing about making any film is casting—you can’t fix that in post. With Conversation Therapist, this was especially important; I refused to cast a non-trans actress. Films and series like Transamerica, The Danish Girl and Transparent have been great for trans-visibility, but the casting of cisgender actors in these roles has been increasingly offensive to the trans community. Transgender actors should be able to tell their own stories. After a 9 month search, I found my star in Evalyn Jake, a young trans woman from Michigan who had never acted before. She is going to be a star if given the chance.

I hope you will accept our film. We want to get the message of the film out to as wide an audience as possible, to expose Conversion Therapy for the fraud it is, and to promote trans-inclusivity.