the Hope of Survivors

Call It Anything But Love!
Newsflash—July 11, 2011: Call It Anything But Love! has been selected to be screened at the International Film Festival of West Wales and the International Film Festival of Mind, Body, Spirit & Ecology on August 16, 2011, in Neath, UK (Wales)! If you're in the area, stop by to watch the film and give your reviews.
Call It Anything But Love!—The Steve & Samantha Nelson Story

Call It Anything But Love!—The Steve & Samantha Nelson Story



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A Film about Pastoral Sexual Abuse

The Hope of Survivors presents Call It Anything But Love! written and produced by Steve Nelson.

Call It Anything But Love! is a true story of a couple’s struggles and challenges as they overcome their painful pasts to find themselves in a spider’s web of lies, deceit, adultery and abuse—at the hands of their pastor.

Film Synopsis

Call It Anything But Love! is the stunning achievement of Steve and Samantha Nelson, as they invite us on a journey through the darkest period of their lives. Their incredible and disturbing story offers context for the all too common, and widely misunderstood, topic of pastoral sexual abuse. This poignant illustration brings answers to the troubling questions we’ve all asked—Why? How? Who?

Steve Nelson displays his immense talent, acting as the films’ producer, director, editor, and videographer. The result is an artistic and personal expression of a pilgrimage from despair to hope.

In front of the camera, Samantha personifies every victim, while Steve compels us, as the strong and gentle hero. Through both unique perspectives, we are able to understand the destructive impact that pastoral sexual abuse has on every person involved.

Vulnerable and refreshingly honest, the Nelsons’ inspire within us all, no matter our struggle, the courage and faith to overcome.

What Viewers Are Saying...

“I was deeply moved by your story…”—Martin Weber, D.Min.

“…one of the most disturbing topics in our culture today… Call It Anything But Love! has an emotional punch yet still manages to challenge our deepest, most profound beliefs.”—Martin Doblmeier, filmmaker Journey Films

“5 Stars!…a spectacular force…”—Herb Douglass, Th.D., CA

I was deeply touched by the video... So many like us will be able to connect and relate. My heart ached deeply with yours in hearing the darkest and most painful periods of your life when you were faced with so much doubt and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.”—Survivor, Hawaii

“I just got my DVD today and I just watched it. What an awesome job you two have done! It is so hard to explain that feeling of not wanting to disappoint the pastor or make him mad and you did a fine job. I can more than relate. God, thru you my friend, saved my life and my marriage!”—Survivor, NC

“Wow. I can't tell you how much your story moved me. I can relate to most everything, including much of your childhood. ...The production of this documentary is amazing. The lighting, editing, b roll..., and the narration flow so well. The subtitles are so fitting—it's all very good. Steve is extremely compelling, especially his reflections about those red flags that made him feel uneasy, but that he didn't really know what to do with.”—Survivor, OR

“…beautiful job. Amazing. You guys really bared your souls. Courage.”—Jennifer Schwirzer, LPC, PA

“I got the DVD this afternoon and had mixed feelings about watching it—did I want to relive the pain again for no reason—or would it be beneficial to watch in some way. …I just wanted to write to say I'm glad I watched it, it was very well done, but most of all, it is ANOINTED.”—Survivor, OH

“Thanks so much for the DVD. We have watched it and are amazed and thankful for your example of a couple who have gone through such circumstances and come through it stronger than before and have turned it into an opportunity to help others. …Thanks once again for all the work you are doing. May God bless you.”—Survivor, Australia

“I watched the DVD and your story really touched me.”—Translator, UK
“Watched the video and it's great!”—Survivor, CA

“Your DVD came today...what an outstanding piece of work it is....oh my!!! I sat here watching it thinking...who do I send/give this to so it can be shared and persons can learn, or have the story told again, so folks grasp the complexity of the issue? Once again, you have done outstanding work and are to be commended. Thank you again!”—Survivor, ME
“I received your DVD in the post today and have already watched it. I thought it was very moving. You and Steve have been through so much! God bless you that you both started The Hope of Survivors. It is well needed.”—Germany

“The documentary was powerful. I was deeply moved again as I reflected on what you have gone through. But also inspired as the Lord has taken you from being a victim of an evil man to being a victor over all that was planned against you.”—Tom Lemon, President, Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

“Thank you very much for your present. It is greatly appreciated. I watched the DVD, and it will always remind me that there is HOPE.”—Olga, Russian translator for THOS

A Statement from the Filmmaker

The production of Call it Anything But Love! was a project that evolved over many years’ time. Throughout these past years, Samantha and I would often revisit the different events that transpired during the pastoral abuse, and even things that led up to our vulnerabilities. The thought came to me one day, we could turn our story into a video. We spent a number of hours, while on a trip, speaking into a little pocket recorder, talking about the different events involving our past. A few years later we sat down, and again, went through all of those events.

Samantha typed each event into a vignette, and we tried to figure out which ones would be the best to bring into a video format. How would they be portrayed? Would we reenact certain events? With these questions in mind, we created a storyboard outline of what we wanted to show.

We traveled back to where we used to live and shot some footage at the actual locations where the abuse had happened. Back at the office, we sat down together and
taped our experiences, based on what we had outlined on the storyboard. The major project was to come together to see what would fit, and to outline how we would meld together both of our experiences. What would we keep? What could we throw out, and what could we illustrate? We purchased some stock photos for the events that we were not able to reenact. Over a number of months and many hours of editing and shooting, the final project—thanks to the Lord—came out and is what we have today.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18