OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A documentary filmed in Kansas City, Missouri, is getting attention in early conversations about Academy Award nominations. “Procession” is available to stream on Netflix beginning Friday.
The film takes a first-of-its-kind approach to stories of alleged abuse by catholic priests.
Director Robert Greene first became interested in the story following a 2018 press conference in Kansas City where four men said priests abused them when they were children. The film highlights six men with similar stories, including some from that 2018 press conference.
“This is unlike anything I’ve ever done,” Greene admitted. “We completely tried to put the keys to the car in the hands of these guys so they could do something with it.”
The documentary gave those six men the keys by empowering them to recreate their traumatic experiences through a coping strategy called drama therapy.
“I was kind of thinking, 'What’s the point of documentaries? What’s the point of filming someone anymore?' I don’t even know. Everyone has cameras, everyone has the ability to document their own story,” Greene said. “For me, it was like, there has to be another point, there has to be another layer to it.”
The six men wrote plays, built sets and then acted out their worst memories with the end goal of reaching a catharsis to help them heal.
“You’re still walking around with this stain on your body that you feel like everyone else sees. This, I think, allowed me to dig it back up, bring it all out, and I don’t have to hide it, I can work through it,” Daniel Laurine, a co-director and survivor featured in the film, explained.
Laurine said the film changed him. He’s optimistic it will lead to more changes.
“I’m hoping it reinvigorates the idea (that) there needs to be more justice. People need to be held accountable,” he said.
Investigations in Missouri after that 2018 press conference led to the arrest one retired priest. Frederick Lutz is set to go to trial in February.
Last month, the Kansas Bureau of Investigations confirmed its Catholic Clergy Task Force has initiated 122 investigations into priests since it formed in 2019, but has made no arrests.
Statutes of limitations often prevent prosecutors from pressing charges in such cases.
Procession is also playing at the Screenland Armour Theater in North Kansas City, Missouri.