Jesus Camp

Year: 2006
Country: USA
Running time: 84 mins

Photography: Mira Chang, Jenna Rosher
Editor: Enat Sidi
Sound: Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith
Music: J.J. McGeehan
M cert

With: Becky Fischer, Mike Papantonio, Levi, Rachael, Tory

Festivals: Tribeca 2006
Nominated, Best Documentary Feature, Academy Awards 2007

If you're not afraid of the political influence of the Christian right wing, then you probably will be after watching this fly-on-the-wall account of the annual “Kids on Fire” summer camp hosted by Pentecostal minister Becky Fischer in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. Twelve-year-old Levi is a bright and charismatic born-leader whose home-school lessons teach that evolution and global warming are myths. Shy nine-year-old Rachael wants to be a Christian manicurist. At camp, they salute cardboard cut-outs of President Bush and receive instruction on the evils of profanity, abortion and witchcraft. “Harry Potter is an enemy of God”, preaches Fischer. Despite the content, Jesus Camp is not a freak show, nor does it exploit its child subjects. One of the scariest moments is the sermonising of disgraced pastor Ted Haggard, whose drug-fuelled sexual trysts with another man have since hit the headlines. Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Boys of Baraka) avoid editorialising to show us what Evangelical America believes, preaches and teaches its children.

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