Children of God is a 2010 Bahamian romantic drama film by director and screenwriter Kareem Mortimer.
It tells the story of two young Bahamian men who fall in love with each other, and it portrays the homophobia of the Bahamian society. The film also deals with themes of bisexuality, as a romantic drama film.
It is one of the first feature narratives from the Caribbean to address homosexuality. It was the opening night film of the Bahamas International Film Festival. The Bahamas had banned the film Brokeback Mountain in 2006. The film made its International Premiere at the Miami International Film Festival and has premiered at over 100 film festivals around the world, winning 17 awards. Children of God was named one of the top ten films of 2010 on BET.com.
Jonny (Johnny Ferro), an awkward painting student, is “banished” by his instructor to the remote island of Eleuthera, to focus on his work and find his artistic voice. But first he finds Romeo (Stephen Tyrone Williams), a handsome, self-confident guy who shows Jonny the scenic spots, and a bit more. Romeo’s got a girlfriend, however, as well as a blustery mother who willfully ignores any clue or hint he drops to set her straight.
Meanwhile, Lena (Margaret Laurena Kemp), a pastor's wife, has also made her way to this distant spot to contemplate her future in relative calm. Tired of her husband spouting high-and-mighty, anti-gay rhetoric at rallies while refusing to own up to the cruelty and contradictions in his private life, Lena has a decision to make.
The phrase, "Children of God" is the religious expression used by Christians to refer to human divinity as being all God's Children. Four Bahamian individuals set out on a journey from the frenetic energy of Nassau to the slower-paced and open Eleuthera. The year is 2004, when the Caribbean world is rocked by the emergence of Rosie O'Donnell's gay family cruise ship. Actual documentary footage details the mass hysteria that divides the Caribbean, as some fundamentalists lead widespread rallies.
Jonny, a young, obsessive-compulsive white Bahamian artist, faces losing his scholarship at a local university if he does not live up to the potential his professors believe he has. Jonny escapes from his gritty inner-city life, in Nassau, to the under-populated and dramatic Bahamian island of Eleuthera. Here he decides to paint his 'masterpiece' and then gets killed by a closeted homosexual when Jonny was en route to meet Romeo. It could have had a happy ending. However, in this film, life does not have happy endings for many gay and lesbians.
Lena Mackey is an extremely conservative forty-year-old, anti-gay activist who finds out that her husband is not who he represents himself to be. She believes that the only way to fix problems in her life is to limit the rights of homosexuals. She heads to Eleuthera for the purpose of galvanizing the community to oppose gay rights. When Jonny arrives, his and Lena's paths cross, and together these two embark on a series of physical and emotional adventures that not only inspire Jonny to paint, but also give him a new zest for life.Johnny Ferro as Jonny Roberts
Margaret Laurena Kemp as Lena Mackey
Stephen Tyrone Williams as Romeo Fernander
Van Brown as Reverend Clyde Ritchie
Mark Richard Ford as Ralph Mackey
Craig Pinder as Mike Roberts
Sylvia Adams as Grammy Rose
Aijalon Coley as Omar Mackey
Jay Lance Gotlieb as Angry Driver
Jason Elwood Hanna as Purple
Christopher Herrod as Dr. Mark Wells
Juanita Kelly as Lonnette Adderley
Adela Osterloh as Romeo's Mother
Leslie Vanderpool as Rhoda Ritchie
Christine Wilson as Anna Ross
Conrad Knowles, Romeo's true friend
Children of God made its International Premiere at the Miami International Film Festival in March 2010. It had a limited theatrical release beginning May 20 in New York and Miami. Children of God went on to premiere on the Showtime television network on June 2, 2010, and the DVD was released on June 7 through TLA Releasing. Johnny Ferro won Best Actor at the Out on Film festival in Atlanta, Georgia, against runner-up James Franco (for Howl).