Writer/director Kareem Mortimer expands his short film Float into a candid look at homophobia, sexism, and violence in the Bahamas. Despite the sometimes sad or brutal content, he creates a beautifully photographed film.
An art teacher sends the talented but creatively bland artist Johnny (Johnny Ferro) to the island of island of Eleuthera, where she wants him to explore obscure and evocative landscapes. Instead, he finds the alluring and captivating Romeo (Stephen Tyrone Williams).
Johnny, though obviously gay, includes a fear of physical contact among his many phobias. Romeo won’t give up on Johnny and wants him to experience the joy of floating in the beautiful tropical water. Soon, their limited touching becomes something more. Unfortunately, Romeo isn’t as brave or out among other people, which quickly complicates their relationship.
Lena (Margaret Laurena Kemp) spouts anti-gay bigotry even more vehemently than her husband, the pastor Ralph Mackey (Mark Richard Ford). Van Brown also plays a pastor, but one who provides a voice of moderation and compassion.
Kareem Mortimer casts all the roles perfectly. The actors all give natural performances that reveal a variety of fears, attitudes, hopes, and concerns. He also chooses his locations perfectly: the settings provide flashes of wonder and beauty amid a sometimes troubling collection of intermingled storylines.
By raising questions and allowing his characters to counter hateful attitudes, Mortimer creates a film that can spark much needed dialogue in the Bahamas and around the world. Children of God has received fourteen awards and recently premiered in America.