#SXSW: “MAMA BEARS”
By Amanda Gilmore
This thought-provoking Documentary examines the struggles the LGBTQ+ community and their families face in relation to their Christian faith. It follows two conservative Christian mothers, Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, and how their love for their LGBTQ+ children has made them advocates for the Queer community. This leads them to join an online community of like-minded Christian mothers called “Mama Bears”.
Director Daresha Kyi has found subjects who are open about their prior faults. Both mothers grappled with accepting their children at first. They were tied to their faith rather than unconditionally loving their children. Once they accepted their children their impactful advocacy began. Cunningham works within the community showing up to events with a “Free Mom Hugs” sticker, which has now become a national movement. And Shappley battles the Texas anti-trans bathroom bill that would prevent her child from using the girls’ bathroom in their hometown.
What Kyi beautifully captures through these two Mama Bears is the profound impact one can have when one chooses love instead of hate. Kyi ties her message together through her third subject, Tammi Terrell Morris. Tammi is a young lesbian who has struggled with self-acceptance. Through her story, the audience has someone who exemplifies why the Mama Bears are so important.
Mama Bears is a touching Documentary that explores the complex intersections of politics, religion and unconditional love.
Mama Bears screens at SXSW:
Sunday, March 13 at 3:00 PM EST – Alamo Lamar E
Monday, March 14 at 4:00 PM EST – Violet Crown Cinema 2
Monday, March 14 at 4:30 PM EST – Violet Crown Cinema 4
Monday, March 14 at 10:00 AM EST – Available for 48 hours