Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys
|Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys|
|Directed by||Adi Sideman|
|Produced by||Adi Sideman|
|Written by||Adi Sideman|
|Narrated by||Barbara Adler|
|Edited by||Nadav Harel|
|Distributed by||Stranger Than Fiction|
Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys (also known as simply ChickenHawk) is a 1994 American documentary film produced, written and directed by Adi Sideman, who founded YouNow in 2011. The film profiles members of the pedophile/pederasty organization North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) who discuss sexual relationships between men and boys below the age of consent.
The film is an exposé on the group's controversial beliefs and their clandestine lifestyle. Sideman's evenhanded approach provides the audience with an insight into the group members' psyches. It has drawn attention for its unique approach: letting its subjects, the NAMBLA members, incriminate themselves in a public forum. Since its release, the film has been screened for the FBI, university criminology departments and other law enforcement agencies.
The film describes the organization and its history and features outspoken NAMBLA members Leland Stevenson, Renato Corazza, Peter Melzer, and Chuck Dodson. In a series of interviews, the NAMBLA members describe their feelings towards boys and justifications for such feelings. Scenes in the movie include a group of NAMBLA members participating in the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. NAMBLA members argue for NAMBLA's inclusion in the gay rights movement, to the disapproval of other attendees.
Photographs of shirtless, or otherwise sexually positioned, boys are shown from the NAMBLA bulletin, as well as several drawings of nude boyish characters with wings. Leyland Stevenson describes a sexual encounter with a boy, in which Stevenson received oral sex from the boy, as a "religious experience." An interaction of Stevenson with another boy is shown, in which the boy makes a prank phone call. Stevenson, observing the boy and engaging him in conversation, suggests that the boy was flirting with him. The interview of a school teacher fired for his membership in NAMBLA is given. Several threatening messages are left on another member's answering machine.
Release and reception
The film was released to critical acclaim. The premiere at the New York Underground Film Festival was met with fanfare and was covered by national news organizations as well as shock jocks like Howard Stern.
The film was well received by the anti-NAMBLA groups "Straight Kids USA" and "National Traditionalist Caucus," both of which were represented in the film. Tom McDonough, from Straight Kids USA stated, "We feel everybody should see this movie because it exposes NAMBLA for all the evil they are", and Don Rosenberg of the National Traditionalist Caucus said, "We thought the movie was very fair. I think Adi did a very good job of letting Leyland Stevenson (the film's central character) and his cohorts hang themselves."
According to New York Newsday's reviewer, "It would have been too easy to become strident, had he [Sideman] set out to make an agitprop piece about the evils of pedophilia. So he lets NAMBLA bury itself. And the organization obliges."
Since its release, the film has gone on to screen for psychology, sociology, and criminology departments throughout the US and has also been screened for the FBI.
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