“‘Tammy Faye’ is a classic American saga of one person’s rise and fall” The Hollywood Reporter
Best Documentary, Boston Film Critics
Best Documentary, Providence Film Festival
Nominated for Best Documentary, Independent Spirit Awards
Twelve years after the dramatic collapse of the Christian empire of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE tells, for the first time, the real story behind the scandal. PTL was the first network to launch its own satellite – “broadcasting 24 hours a day until the Second Coming”, and the first – and only – to build a theme park, a huge Disney-style Christian retreat that Jim built from donations from his loyal viewers.
But their fall was as spectacular as their rise. The couple suffered accusations that they embezzled money from their ministry and soon found themselves crucified in the court of public opinion for supposed greed and corruption.
However, this film explores the Bakkers’ view that rival televangelist Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority, tricked them out of their ministry. Falwell allegedly promised help and support, then denounced them, staged a coup, and needlessly forced their ministry into bankruptcy. Tammy Faye ended up at the Betty Ford Clinic, Jim was imprisoned for fraud, and they lost control of the first and most successful television ministry of its kind.
The film follows Tammy Faye as – twelve years later – she tries to put her life back together. We accompany her to the 1200-acre Heritage Park USA complex which has lain empty and abandoned since the bankruptcy of PTL, and we witness her attempts to come to terms with all she has been through. The film includes in-depth exclusive interviews with Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Messner, and stunning, never-before seen archive material of the operations of the PTL.
Producers & Directors: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato
Editor: Paul Wiesepape
Cast: Tammy Faye Bakker, Roe Messner.
Distributed by Lionsgate Films
Available on DVD & VHS
Running Time: 90 minutes