A POW in Nazi Germany, Vietnam peace promoter, leading gay rights advocate and loving partner of 46 years to Charles Chiarelli, “Taking a Chance on God” follows the extraordinary life of 86-year-old Jesuit priest John McNeill. This powerful documentary, tells McNeill’s inspiring story of faith, love and perseverance in the face of oppression and rejection. McNeill, the co-founder of the LGBT Catholic group Dignity NY, author of the revolutionary “The Church and the Homosexual,” and leader in the gay community during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, has refused to let his voice be silenced despite being expelled from the Jesuits after forty years of faithful service. Chronicling his love for the Church, the LGBT community, his Jesuit brothers and his partner Charlie, “Taking a Chance on God” proves that there can and should be harmony between the gay community and the Catholic Church. – Emily Suttmeier
BIO: Brendan Fay is an activist, filmmaker and advocate for justice and equality for LGBT people. He is founder of St. Pats For All, New York's inclusive St. Patrick's Parade, and founder of the Lavender and Green Alliance, serving the needs of the Irish GLBT community. Fay is director of Remembering Mychal and co-producer and European Field Producer of Saint of 9/11 films about Fr. Mychal Judge, Chaplain to the FDNY who died on 9/11. Fay was also Associate Producer for the award winning film, Edie and Thea.
Involved in the movement for marriage equality since 1998, Fay co-founded, with Jess Lebrn, the Civil Marriage Trail Project, which brings gay and lesbian couples across borders legal marriage. Originally from Ireland, he lives in Astoria, NY, with spouse Tom Moulton. They were among the first New Yorkers and bi-national couples to legally marry in Canada in July 2003.
The Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization with a mission to present an
annual program and year-round schedule of film, music,
and art-related activities that promote artists, culture,
inspired learning, and diversity. The Hudson Valley Film
Commission promotes sustainable economic development
by attracting and supporting film, video and media production.