GOSPEL OF EUREKA
Directed by Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri
Two hundred miles away from Hot Springs is the other tourist mecca in Arkansas. The spa town of Eureka Springs is home of healing waters, a Christian Passion Play, gospel-themed drag shows, and an epic battle to pass a municipal law that would protect LGBTQ citizens and visitors from discrimination. Eureka Springs has one of the highest per-capita gay populations alongside a large evangelical Christian population.
As the vote for City Ordinance 2223 races towards its decision, the film poetically explores the surreal atmosphere of a town with such stark contrasts and conflicting opinions. The colorful cast of characters include a devoutly Christian gay couple who own a local bar which they refer to as “The Hillbilly Studio 54”; The Passion Play’s singing pastor and master of ceremonies who sounds like Elvis during his rendition of “Peace in the Valley”; and a passionate drag performer singing “You can’t pray the gay away.”
Archival footage conjures up ghosts from the past including infamous anti-gay activists Gerald L.K. Smith, who commissioned the largest Christ statue in North America that overlooks the town, and singer Anita Bryant, who tried to stage a comeback concert in Eureka Springs. With their hopeful film, Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri present a miraculous vision of a Southern Utopia where two divergent populations co-exist peacefully and where religious-themed attractions and diversity festivals compete for tourist dollars.
Stephen Stanley / Short Films / USA / 2017 / 22 minsThe small Arkansas town of Conway has had an annual LGBT Pride Parade since 2004. When the 2017 edition is threatened after the founders pass away, their adopted children band together to save a local institution and honor their gay dads.
Precedes: GOSPEL OF EUREKA