Things We Shouldn't Talk About

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Pre-Production


One filmmaker’s personal journey into the staggering mental health crisis facing queer youth born into unrelenting religious households in today’s political and societal climate.


The US is besieged by a culture war campaign that aims to strip away the rights of millions of Americans. They wage war for the dominance and reimagining of this country while fueling a mental health epidemic.

Based on his multi-award winning short, activist filmmaker Robbie Kruithoff explores the architects fueling this conflict, their growing influence, and the hidden trail of victims left in their wake. The film dispels the traditional villainization of politicians and media figures while revealing the real decision-makers, power brokers, and arbiters of this modern-day crusade.

As he peels back the onion, Robbie discovers the shadowy, well-funded legal organizations that operate with impunity under the guise of religious liberty and biblical teachings. He follows the dark money as it rides the ideological wave from the coffers of evangelical churches through the Venn diagram of religion, politics, and media before becoming law and impacting every citizen of this country.

We also hear from those most devasted by this war. Raw stories from communities most impacted by intolerance, like queer children born into conservative religious households that face a mental health and suicide epidemic not seen in our lifetime. As the gay son from a family of Pentecostal ministers, Robbie is uniquely positioned to understand the impassioned ideology of the evangelical church. And, as a suicide survivor, he connects with other survivors struggling with their mental health journeys.

While meeting with a religious parent estranged from their child, Robbie asks difficult questions to understand how they could turn their back on their queer child while unearthing the role church, media, and politics played in this decision. Alternatively, we hear the heart-wrenching story of a Christian parent who has lost their queer child to suicide and their efforts to fight this growing epidemic. The film also seeks to understand the perspectives of those vehemently fighting to defend what they perceive as freedom. We follow a young Christian Nationalist who believes they are part of a spiritual crusade fighting for the soul of the country. Robbie delves into the roots of their deep-seated hatred. Robbie will also empathize with a young suicide and conversion therapy survivor who has dedicated his life to ensuring no one else endures the pain that he has.

Things We Shouldn’t Talk About is a provocative and often controversial examination of the complexities surrounding the bitter division in this country. It touches on issues like fear, racism, and intrinsic American values. Although the real victims’ suffering often goes unnoticed and unaccounted for, we seek to elevate and amplify their stories, the resilience of their communities, and their urgent need for understanding, acceptance, support, and love. The documentary doesn’t offer simple solutions; rather, it poses the question, with so much at stake, how can we not talk about it?


Things We Shouldn’t Talk About embraces the aesthetics of cinema verite, employing a raw and unfiltered approach to capture the authentic essence of film’s journey. Through an intimate film crew, natural lighting, and unobtrusive editing we allow the viewer to become active participants in the film’s quest for reconciliation in a country so divided. Through interviews, discussions, and reflective moments, the audience is invited to question their own beliefs, biases, and preconceptions, creating a space for dialogue and self-reflection. The film incorporates subtle visual cues to reflect the internal conflict and uncertainty experienced by Robbie. By utilizing color matching, camera angles, lighting, and editing techniques, the documentary juxtaposes and blends scenes, creating a nuanced interplay that reflects the cognitive dissonance and emotional turmoil within the minds of the participants. The following are certain themes that will be utilized: • Juxtaposition: The film delves into the nuanced distinction between institutionalized religion and personal faith. We will use contrasting and symbolic imagery and parallel editing to help portray the juxtaposing dogmatic views of Robbie’s father with the internal spiritual exploration of Robbie, "Things We Shouldn’t Talk About" explores the tension between religious doctrine and the profound faith that can emerge through personal introspection. • Cognitive Dissonance: Things We Shouldn’t Talk About delves into the intricate web of cognitive dissonance by offering a glimpse into the intricate internal struggle between faith and sexual identity through intimate interviews and vérité footage. To enhance this theme, various visual and sound aids are employed, including: - Utilizing visual metaphors and motifs commonly found in religion and the queer community, along with contrasting visuals, to convey the depth of the conflict. - Employing a combination of discordant and dulcet soundscapes/tracks, as well as moments of silence, to evoke the emotional intensity and tension associated with this internal conflict. - Employing cinematography techniques such as harsh movements, angles, and claustrophobic framing to visually represent inner turmoil. • Self-Reflection: The documentary places a strong emphasis on authenticity and self-reflection. Through candid interviews, introspective moments, and participatory elements, it prompts viewers to reflect on their own beliefs, biases, and capacity for empathy, fostering a deeper understanding of the human experience. The subtle use of distorted reflections in the film, through such means as blurred mirrors, windows, or pools of water, will help tell this story. To evoke a sense of introspection and contemplation, certain scenes will be crafted with a spacious and ethereal quality. Using wide shots, gentle camera movements, and atmospheric lighting, these moments will provide breathing room for reflection, allowing the audience to connect with the emotional depth of the journey. • Reconciliation and Empathy: The documentary focuses on the intricate relationship between parent and child. Through intimate conversations and shared experiences, the film invites viewers to witness the challenges faced by both individuals, fostering understanding and compassion.


Robbie Kruithoff - Director/Producer
Robbie Kruithoff (he/him) is a new, yet award- winning director known for his latest short film, which received 11 wins across 18 film festivals. Before entering the film industry, Robbie accumulated over 15 years of experience as a hospitality and events manager in Australia and the U.K. He later transitioned to the nonprofit sector in the U.S., where he held the position of Fundraising and Events Director for the United Nations Association of Tampa Bay, focusing on refugee and equality programs. Additionally, he has provided consultation services for Habitat for Humanity in multiple states. Robbie holds a B.A. in Public Health from the University of Southern Florida and is also an accomplished artist and award-winning opera singer.

Christy McGill - Creative Producer
Christy McGill (she/her) is a documentary film producer, writer, story consultant, and distribution advisor. She is currently producing the documentary feature film PASANG: IN THE SHADOW OF EVEREST (director, Nancy Svendsen) which had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in March of 2022 and won the Charlie Fowler Award for Best Adventure Film at Mountainfilm Fest in Telluride, Colorado, among numerous audience awards and best film awards. Previously, she produced the award-winning feature documentary AI WEIWEI: YOURS TRULY (director, Cheryl Haines, co-director Gina Leibrecht, 2019). Prior, she produced the documentary features SERENADE FOR HAITI, and GHOST BIRD. Christy has consulted on funding partnerships, built targeted distribution strategies, and helped secure critical fiscal sponsorships. Christy has contributed to the production and promotion of documentary projects that have won a Peabody award, Emmy nominations and been showcased on PBS, HBO, NETFLIX, and another broadcast, theatrical, museum, community, education, and digital outlets.

William Nobel - Producer
William Nobel (he/him) is an Atlanta native with a diverse background in the entertainment industry. William set out to explore the vibrant entertainment hubs of Los Angeles and New York where he studied film and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts. Immersed in these creative environments, he gained invaluable experience and forged connections that would shape his career. William’s time in both cities allowed him to expand his artistic horizons and further develop his skills as a writer-producer. Through his work as a writer-producer and the establishment of his production company, Wrong Turn Films, William strives to create content that resonates with audiences, sparks conversation, and leaves a lasting impression.

Jes Gallegos - Director of Photography
Jes Gallegos (they/them) is a cinematographer, producer, director, editor and documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco, California. They specializes in cinéma vérité and complex interview lighting. They have collaborated across media platforms for many of the world's leading brands such as National Geographic, Buzzfeed, Vice, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Channel, Netflix, Google, Dropbox, Salesforce, Shopify, Airbnb, Dow Jones among many others. They have made work with filmmakers like Monika Truet on ‘Gendernation’, Marc Smolowitz on’ The G word,’ Cheryl Dunye on the FX series ‘Pride’, Morgan Fallon on ‘Elvis Goes There’, and Rivkah Medow on ‘Ahead of the Curve’. In their free time, they organize Rock Paper Film Society, a Bay Area women/non-binary folks in film with over 2,000+ members.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2023


Help promote my fundraising campaign
Put our donation widget on your website

Get Widget Code



The Gotham Logo


© 2023 The Gotham. All Rights Reserved.
   Design by Andrew Martin

The Gotham Film & Media Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding, developing and celebrating the people and projects that shape the future of story.

Learn more about us or become a member