In PROCESSION, six men — all survivors of childhood sexual assault at the hands of Catholic priests and clergy — come together to direct a drama therapy-inspired experiment designed to collectively work through their trauma.
As part of a radically collaborative filmmaking process, they created scenes based on memories, dreams and experiences, meant to explore the church rituals, culture and hierarchies that enabled silence around their abuse.
In the face of a failed legal system, we watch these men reclaim the spaces that allowed their assault, revealing the possibility for catharsis and redemption through a new-found fraternity
"The greatest obstacle is working up the strength to take those first steps to hold the abuser accountable. You must be prepared to speak to the truth of what happened, in all its ugly details. I was my worst barrier. I questioned my worth and value believing that I had nothing to say and worse, that what I had to say was not worth hearing."
Mike is angry. Very angry. On his website iamnotcatholic.com he tells his story, and you can understand why he’s so infuriated. But the church doesn’t want to hear Mike and they say they don’t believe him, while he is 100% positive they are lying about his credibility. In PROCESSION, Mike chooses to recreate his fateful encounter with the Kafkaesque “independent review board,” where his claims of abuse were deemed “not credible.” This time, with Mike directing the reenactment, he gets to reassert power in the space he felt his most powerless, boldly confronting and condemning their inaction and hypocrisy as only he can.
“One of the things to remember is that we are accusing someone who is typically a pillar of the community and we're accusing them of terrible things.
But when you have forty people saying the same thing, you have to believe the victims, and you have to believe that this pillar of the community has constructed a protective shell using his ability to help people and generate goodwill.
The thing that I hope this film is able to convey is that these people who are pillars of the community, doing good works, are — in fact — monsters.”
Dan, a Kansas City-based locations manager for film and television, is a kind, motorcycle-riding free spirit who joins the film to help the guys. His journey takes a turn, however, when he begins to come to terms with his own nightmares. Together with his brother Tim, Dan finds himself lost as he looks for the ultimate location. “We’re starting to move from victim to survivor. I can feel that happening,” he says.