Interview with Filmmaker Robbie Kruithoff (THINGS WE SHOULDN’T TALK ABOUT)

Directed by Robbie Kruithoff
The mental health impact of religion on the LGBTQIA+ community is unchecked and misunderstood. Alone and largely ignored, queer individuals from conservative, religious communities commit suicide at alarming rates. How many must die before we start talking about it?

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film first started when I was doing research for my memoir. Growing up the gay son of two Pentecostal Pastors from a small town in Australia, I know first hand the mental health struggles that religious trauma and suicide survivors face in the religious world. What I didn’t know was how prevalent suicide among religious queer individuals is in today’s society. This spurred me to find other survivors to understand the issues a little better.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

It took about 5 months to create the actual film but the idea has been brewing for years.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Honest. Vulnerable.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Ensuring my own mental health safety. As a survivor myself I had to understand my own trauma before I can tell someone else.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was really emotional. I think because as religious trauma and suicide survivors, we rarely are acknowledged or seen. No one wants to talk about these issues in general so to hear the audience talking about it was heartwarming and validating.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve always had an interest but I never had the opportunity until the last year.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Dark Crystal (yes I’m an 80s nerd)

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I very much enjoy meeting people in person. I know that it has been hard during the pandemic but I can’t wait until we have in-person events again.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway has been super easy to use. I have no complaints.

10. What is your favorite meal?


11. What is next for you? A new film?

Through this process I have met dozens of survivors, religious family members (some who have lost children to suicide), advocates (including the Trevor Project) and religious leaders who are willing to b interviewed. I am currently pitching to studios to take this to a 3 part limited series. I want to tell not only the survivor’s stories but that of the religious family members struggling to reconcile their faith with the identity of their child. Reconciliation is my aim not more division. If the studios do not pick it up I will make it independently. This is an issue that is not getting better and needs to be addressed. Conversion therapy is just the tip of the iceberg. It is my hope to raise awareness of this at-risk group and the mental health challenges they face without demonizing those of a faith.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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