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Men Abused by Catholic Clergymen Relive Their Trauma in Netflix Documentary Procession

Six men who were sexually abused as children by Catholic priests and clergy are the subject of a powerful new documentary that explores drama therapy as a way to heal their trauma.

Procession, directed by Robert Greene, follows Midwestern survivors as they come together to write, direct and act out fictional scenes based on their childhood memories, dreams and experiences.

“I’m a contractor in New York City. I can chew the balls of a union electrician, but I can’t talk about what happened to me when I was 13,” a man explains in the film. trailer, which was released by Netflix on Tuesday.

Powerful story: Six survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic priests and clergy are the subjects of new documentary Procession

Powerful story: Six survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic priests and clergy are the subjects of new documentary Procession

Healing: The film follows the men as they come together to write, direct and act out fictional scenes based on their childhood memories, dreams and experiences as part of drama therapy

Healing: The film follows the men as they come together to write, direct and act out fictional scenes based on their childhood memories, dreams and experiences as part of drama therapy

Healing: The film follows the men as they come together to write, direct and act out fictional scenes based on their childhood memories, dreams and experiences as part of drama therapy

“I have so much anger and hatred that I can’t even put it into words,” says another survivor of the pain that has persisted for years.

The preview begins with a few survivors returning to the church where they were abused as children.

“I don’t think I’ve been to this church in over 30 years,” one man admits, while another adds, “Look at the windows. You’d never think anything bad could happen here.’

As part of the drama-therapy-inspired experiment, each of the survivors writes their own script exploring how the Catholic Church’s culture and hierarchies enabled their abuse.

More than 230 priests are known to have been sexually assaulted in that area, according to the trailer.

Facing their fears: The trailer opens with some of the survivors returning to the church where they were abused as children

Facing their fears: The trailer opens with some of the survivors returning to the church where they were abused as children

Facing their fears: The trailer opens with some of the survivors returning to the church where they were abused as children

Story: As part of the drama therapy-inspired experiment, each of the survivors writes their own script to explore how the Catholic Church's culture and hierarchies enabled their abuse

Story: As part of the drama therapy-inspired experiment, each of the survivors writes their own script to explore how the Catholic Church's culture and hierarchies enabled their abuse

Story: As part of the drama therapy-inspired experiment, each of the survivors writes their own script to explore how the Catholic Church’s culture and hierarchies enabled their abuse

Making a movie: the goal of drama therapy is to use theatrical techniques such as role-playing to bring about meaningful change

Making a movie: the goal of drama therapy is to use theatrical techniques such as role-playing to bring about meaningful change

Making a movie: the goal of drama therapy is to use theatrical techniques such as role-playing to bring about meaningful change

“The Catholic Church says, ‘Tell your mother we’re sorry,'” says one survivor. “You tell my mother you’re sorry, because she still believes in you.”

The goal of drama therapy is to use theatrical techniques such as role-playing to bring about meaningful change.

“We try to walk through each other’s memories, and the things that haunt us the most,” explains one man.

“I do have concerns, yes — worries of being traumatized again,” admits another, while another says, “It’s a chance to take back the power of those places over us.”

Procession was acquired by Netflix after premiering at the Telluride Film Festival in September.

The documentary is scheduled to release in select theaters on November 12 and will debut on the streaming platform on November 19.

Looking back: 'We try to walk through each other's memories, and the things that haunt us the most,' explains one man in the trailer

Looking back: 'We try to walk through each other's memories, and the things that haunt us the most,' explains one man in the trailer

Looking back: ‘We try to walk through each other’s memories, and the things that haunt us the most,’ explains one man in the trailer

Candid: “I'm a contractor in New York City.  I can chew a union electrician's balls, but I can't talk about what happened to me when I was 13,

Candid: “I'm a contractor in New York City.  I can chew a union electrician's balls, but I can't talk about what happened to me when I was 13,

Candid: “I’m a contractor in New York City. I can chew a union electrician’s balls, but I can’t talk about what happened to me when I was 13,” says another survivor

Release: Procession was acquired by Netflix after premiering at the Telluride Film Festival in September.  It debuts on the streaming platform on November 19

Release: Procession was acquired by Netflix after premiering at the Telluride Film Festival in September.  It debuts on the streaming platform on November 19

Release: Procession was acquired by Netflix after premiering at the Telluride Film Festival in September. It debuts on the streaming platform on November 19

“The decisions in filmmaking are all tied to choices that are therapeutic,” Greene said IndieWire of the making of the documentary.

Producer Bennet Elliott, who has been in contact with the survivors and their families for the past four years, added that drama therapy has helped the men.

“It’s a very emotional thing because I think all the participants in the film, there’s just such a noticeable, tangible difference. Everyone feels better because they chose to be part of the film,” she said.

Green chose to share the “film through” credit with the six survivors, as well as other members of the crew, including cinematographer Robert Kolodny.

“The participants are empowered in front of the camera to believe, and rightly so, that they are piloting the ship. in many ways, [to understand] that they have authorship,” he told IndieWire.

“It gives it an exciting feeling on and off the set. It really feels like they’re just as active with the staff as the producers, as the cameramen, as the sound engineer, we’re all in this together.’

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