The new Netflix documentary “Procession” follows six men who were abused as children by Catholic priests, then decide to use theater techniques to help work through trauma. “Procession” follows them as they write and re-enact scenes based on the painful past — scenes that are not at all graphic but still carry a powerful emotional charge. They perform on sets and in costumes with the help of a child actor, Terrick Trobough, who plays their younger selves, and handles that role with a lot of grace and resilience.
One of the men featured in the film is Dan Laurine, a location manager in Kansas City. At first, he was only going to help the other men find locations to act out their scenes. Then, he overcame his resistance to participating on-screen. He ultimately decided to accompany his brother Tim in a search for a place from their own painful past — a specific lake house where both brothers were abused by the same priest, at different times. Until then, Laurine had never been able to discuss the abuse with his brother.
Laurine was never sure if the film would find a big audience, but now that it’s on Netflix, he’s beginning to grasp what that could mean.
“It’s just in the past few months that we realize what it’s becoming by Netflix actually picking this up and promoting it. It legitimizes us,” Laurine says. “All of our anxieties, hopes and desires, now are being turned into this idea that we could actually facilitate change and help people? That is something great to wake up to.”
“Procession” is directed by Robert Greene, the filmmaker behind other experimental documentaries including “Actress,” “Kate Plays Christine” and “Bisbee ‘17.”
Greene and Laurine tell KCRW how the film evolved over the three years they spent making it, and how they hope it can be a catalyst for positive change for other survivors looking for a therapeutic experience.