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Not My 

Father's Child

Before Fred Phelps began his infamous God Hates Fags campaign, he focused his rage on his 13 children. This is the story of the three that ran away and their path to healing.

Synopsis    

 

“Not My Father’s Child” tells the story of Nate, Mark and Dortha Phelps, three of the 13 children of the late Fred Phelps, founder and pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. The film details the journey of their escape from the tyranny of abuse perpetrated against them by their father. While both Phelps and the members of Westboro Baptist are known worldwide for their “God Hates Fags” sign-wielding, hate-filled public protests, the physical, mental and emotional torture levied by Phelps against his wife and children has remained, for the most part, hauntingly hidden away for decades.

Told through chilling reenactment scenes and personal interviews with Nate, Mark and Dortha Phelps, “Not My Father’s Child” reveals the untold story of these three first-generation survivors. From their daily struggle to endure the abusive outbursts of their father to breaking free from the indoctrination of a belief system grounded in hate to their search for emotional and psychological healing to their desire to eradicate hate and to help others, Nate, Mark and Dortha offer viewers a first-time, behind-the-scenes look at their path from hate to hope.

TEAM

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Brad Johnson - Director

Brad was raised in Kansas, and has always been fascinated with stories involving the heartland. After several encounters with protesters from Westboro Baptist Church, the idea of filming a documentary about the church grew into a deep desire to tell a different story – it wasn’t the church that caught Brad’s heart, it was their victims. As an accomplished Director of Photography and Post Production Manager, he has the perfect combination of talent and discipline to tackle a story of this magnitude. Brad's filmography includes multiple television shows including the Showtime documentary series The Years of Living Dangerously, AMC's Game of Arms, and National Geographic's "One Strange Rock" in addition to national commercials, local advertising campaigns and awarded documentaries.

 

 
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Jason Badgett - Director

Jason was born and raised in Paola, Kansas, before graduating from the University of Kansas in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in film and media Studies and a minor in religious Studies. While attending KU, he was a founding member of the Documentary Film Society. As a production sound mixer and editor, Jason worked on television programs for CBS, ABC and Hulu, as well as independent films including Jayhawkers, The Profit and Destination Planet Negro. He works as a lighting designer and sound mixer for theatre productions and concerts. Jason recently designed the lighting for Barry Crimmins' comedy special "Whatever Threatens You" produced by Louis CK and has also worked with artists Aziz Ansari, Tig Notaro, Marc Maron, John Waters, Adam Lambert, The Mountain Goats, Mount Eerie and Matt Pryor.

 

Terrie Johnson - Producer

Terrie’s story is difficult to condense into one paragraph, but as a well-known public speaker, she has the unique gift of establishing an immediate connection with her audience. Within moments of meeting Terrie, people say they feel like they’ve known her their entire lives. Her sense of integrity, coupled with a genuine love and concern for others, causes people both young and old to open up and share their lives and their stories with her. As the Senior Editor at a nationally recognized advertising agency in Kansas City, Terrie has been involved with media production in all forms for more than 20 years. She is the author of two books and writes a blog that has a large and growing readership base. This is Terrie’s first step behind the camera as she directs the interview sessions.