Gravitas Ventures Acquires Doc On “Deadly Practice” Of Conversion Therapy, Built Around Survivor Stories

UPDATED with VOD release details. EXCLUSIVE: The American Psychiatric Association urges “ethical practitioners” to “refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation” and it supports legislation that would ban “reparative” or conversion therapies that purport to be able to change someone from gay to straight.

The Human Rights Campaign says, “[C]onversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.” Nonetheless, the practice remains legal in 19 states (its status is being litigated in three other states). Into this contested space enters the documentary Conversion, directed by Zach Meiners. Gravitas Ventures today announced it is acquiring U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to the film which has won awards at Film Invasion Los Angeles and the Portland Film Festival. Conversion will be released on VOD platforms on July 2; preorders begin June 2 — the start of Pride Month.

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“A story by survivors, Conversion takes us on a personal and cinematic journey as a filmmaker, an ex-Mormon mom, and a famous drag queen unite to overcome the mental and physical impacts of enduring conversion ‘therapy,’” notes a description of the documentary. “When filmmaker Zach Meiners discovered that his former conversion ‘therapist’ was still active, he began an endeavor to amplify and empower the voices of survivors, and expose the secretive and often deadly industry.”


The documentary includes interviews with doctors, experts, and the founder of “one of the most expansive conversion ‘therapy’ networks in the U.S., per a release. “Conversion is a thought provoking insight into a dangerous underground industry that is constantly rebranding, adapting and growing to this day. Ultimately a film about strength and hope, Conversion aims to give a voice to survivors of conversion ‘therapy,’ who are often left out of the conversation, and speak to the next generation who may not have a voice, choice or pathway out of the trauma being inflicted on them.”

Bill Guentzler, SVP of acquisitions and operations at Gravitas Ventures said in a statement, “Gravitas is proud to be bringing the extremely personal stories presented in Conversion to audiences in the U.S. and Canada. Zach Meiners presents these stories expertly and with clear empathy in a positively therapeutic way.”

Almost 700,000 people in the U.S. have received conversion therapy from “a licensed professional or a religious advisor or from both,” according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Of that number, more than half received the therapy as adolescents.

“This film began as a PSA, but as I began interviewing other survivors it became clear that the project needed to grow,” Meiners said. “Conversion ‘therapy’ is a dangerous and deadly practice that is happening right now all across the world, but also right in our backyards. I felt it was important to tell my and the other survivor’s stories, not only to bring hope to the children and people going through this ‘therapy’ right now, but to educate people on the dangers and effects of this industry, so that together we can save lives.”

Conversion is a production of Chronicle Cinema, “a full service, LGBTQ owned, media production company with three verticals focusing on event production, commercials, and award winning entertainment.” The film is produced by Marc Singer, Taylor Young, Josh Covington, Leilani Gushiken, and Brad Wagster.

Gravitas Ventures’ Bill Guentzler negotiated the deal with R.J. Millard of Obscured Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers. Gravitas Ventures is a division of Anthem Sports & Entertainment.

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