United States, 15 Minutes

Filmmaker: Mat Hayes

What if growing up in the church caused you to believe you weren’t going to grow up at all?


Cognitive follows the story of one man over two timelines. David, the central character, struggles to deal with the trauma caused by the church after he takes his Jewish husband and young daughter to an Easter service. Through therapy, he relives the pain of growing up gay in the Southern Baptist Church after hearing a homophobic preacher in Alabama suggest that AIDS is God’s punishment for being “different.” David, both present day and as a child, wants nothing more than to feel okay, despite the church’s efforts to condemn otherwise.