The Gospel According to Charlie (USA, 56 min 41 seg )

Directed by: David Bussan

Written by: David Bussan

Middle-aged, gay, outsider artist Charlie creates everything from erotica to his own biker religion on his brother's farm in rural Ohio



By: Maria Akay

David Bussan’s documentary The Gospel According to Charlie follows the downward spiral of the queer Ohioan artist Charlie and his rise to self-acceptance. For the first half of the film, Charlie seems unlikeable, unpersonable, and socially awkward, all due to the fact of his internal conflict to isolate himself from society while yearning to be accepted by a community. And through the course of the film, not only does Charlie find himself changing but Bussan and maybe even the viewer does as well.

He introduces himself to the viewer through his phallic art - which might intrigue some, or disturb others. The repression of his phallic art in the public manifests as an explosion of penises in his bunker-like home. Bussan artfully interjects Charlie’s otherworldliness and eccentric rants with stunning shots of landscape and pasture, commenting on the actions of Charlie. This presents a nice balance for the viewer who is overwhelmed by the errotic art.

The viewer has his own perception of Charlie and yet Charlie discovers the most revelatory detail of the film: Not all religions are created equal. After this realization, Charlie begins his reintroduction into art. But this time also discovers self-acceptance. A person who may be considered by society as way out of the “norm”, even by his own self, inspired a change in the filmmaker, to his reluctance. Charlie finally accepts his true self and for the first time in the documentary we see Charlie truly giddy with happiness. The Gospel According to Charlie is an official selection of the New York City Independent Film Festival and will be shown during the festival on October 12-18, 2015.