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‘Out Here in Kansas’ premiere opens conversation to sell-out crowd

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A packed house, a standing ovation and a discussion brought out in the open.

Adam Knapp, creator and director of “Out Here in Kansas” accomplished all of premiere of his documentary on Oct. 11.

The 30-minute documentary was followed by a question and answer session with Knapp, editor Kenneth Linn and producer Jon Pic.

A sell-out crowd of 165 guests — more than the 150 capacity in the center — ranged from Jeff Longwell, mayor of Wichita, Shelly Steadman, mayor of Mulvane and Sierra Scott, former host of the “Brett and Sierra Show.”

“Knapp did a nice job with the film,” Longwell said. “It is very difficult to make a film of that nature and I think he did a fabulous job especially at the end. It was appropriate.”

Longwell was pleased with the way Knapp opened the conversation.

“These are conversations we need to have,” he said. “I have family members that are gay and I understand the confliction that people have and how it’s hard for people to talk about.

The film not only unraveled the story between Burt Humburg, a gay man, doctor and All-American football player, and his former pastor Joe Wright, but also Knapp’s personal story weaved in.

According to the film makers, his story wasn’t decided to be added until after months spent with Knapp. Pic realized Knapp humanizes the story by adding a more personal touch other than Humburg’s scientific outlook and Wright’s biblical stance.

“I wasn’t used to actually being a part of the story, I was always the one writing the story,” Knapp said. “It was so strange being face to face with myself, it was like breaking the fourth wall.”

The documentary took a surprising twist at the end that left the entire audience in shock. People interested in seeing the documentary and seeing what the surprise ending is can see it Oct. 21 through 23 at the “Lid Off Film Festival”, Oct. 29 at the “Universalist Film Festival”, Nov. 4 through 10 at the “Kansas International Film Festival”, and Nov. 12 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

The filmmakers’ goal was to open a discussion about the topic, and try to open people’s minds as well. Knapp believes they did a good job at representing both Wright and the Christian community, Humburg and the gay community equally.

The crew believed they appropriately conveyed the different perspectives to the audience at the premiere.

“There was an unmistakable thrill in seeing Burt’s tale unfold in front of an audience for the first time and knowing how important this movie was, not only for Adam to tell it, but to offer a unique perspective for the untold number of people struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality in light of their faith,” Pic said. “We packed the house, received fantastic responses and answered very thoughtful questions from an array of friends, family and LGBTQ allies.”

Although the target audience for the film is straight people, many members of the LGBTQ community came to support.

“I thought the documentary was a really insightful story and it really makes you think about the different sides of Christianity,” Miranda Allen, viewer, said. “As a Christian myself, I have had similar discussions and i think this film really hits it home.”

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