In Good Conscience

Synopsis

In Barbara Rick's acclaimed documentary, IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, a most unlikely and very funny rebel — an American nun — finds herself at the center of a human rights storm with leaders of one of the world’s most revered institutions, the Roman Catholic Church.

The film chronicles the true story of Sister Jeannine Gramick, who is defying a Vatican edict that she shut down her compassionate ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics, and silence herself permanently on the subject of homosexuality. Her battle takes her all the way to Rome where she attempts an audience with her key adversary over the years — none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — the Inquisitor who would become Pope Benedict XVI.

Sister Jeannine has worked within the church for more than thirty years on behalf of the LGBT community and its fight for acceptance, recognition, and equality. When issued this ultimatum from Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II — denounce homosexuality or lose everything — quietly and with respect, she refused.

"I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right," she says. "To me this is a matter of conscience."

Legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles was so moved by Sister Jeannine’s story he offered to shoot it. Executive produced by Humanitas Prize winner Tom Fontana, the film has won support from patrons Ellen DeGeneres, Susan Sarandon, Trudie Styler, Agnes Gund, Deborah Santana, among many others.

Called ‘a masterpiece’ by Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, ‘a wonderful film about a sensational human being’ by playwright Terrence McNally, and ‘excellent… enormous charm’ by Variety, audiences are embracing IN GOOD CONSCIENCE with standing ovations at sold-out festival screenings around the world. TimeOut NY magazine calls Sister Jeannine Gramick ‘a freedom fighter on the frontlines of the cultural wars,” adding, “This gripping documentary by Barbara Rick is a must-see.”

The film debuted at IFP/Lincoln Center’s Independents Night series in New York City in 2004. It won the Audience Favorite Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Philadelphia Int’l Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Best Documentary at the ReelPride Michigan Festival and Honorable Mention at NewFest for its ‘inspirational and stirring portrait of a woman who has defied censorship to speak out against homophobia and discrimination.’ It was selected as the Closing Night Film at the Queer Screen Documentary Festival in Sydney, Australia and FilmOut San Diego and is featured in the Real to Reel segment of the PBS program In The Life in the fall of 2005. IN GOOD CONSCIENCE is profiled in the Winter 2006 issue of the Yale Divinity School journal, Reflections.

As global debate continues to explode over gay civil rights, this laugh-out-loud film follows Sister Jeannine throughout the U.S. all the way to Rome where she faces grave consequences to her life-defining decision to defy the Vatican.

Barbara Rick is president and founder of the independent documentary company Out of The Blue Films, Inc., dedicated to the production of films that explore, articulate, and celebrate humanity. A Peabody and Emmy award-winning filmmaker/journalist for more than twenty years, Rick has helmed a number of acclaimed films, including the Emmy Award winning PBS documentary, SHE SAYS/Women In News. Ms. Rick is a freelance writer and producer at ABC News — part of the weekend World News Tonight team nominated for a 2005 Emmy award for coverage of Indonesia’s tsunami disaster.

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