“Sins of the Amish” — Behind the Scenes with Hope Anne

A few fun facts about “Sins of the Amish” and my role in it.

A few fun facts about “Sins of the Amish” and my small role in it.

  • There was a multi-step screening process I had to go through before I was chosen to be an expert on this program.
  • I was filmed for most of two days, in two separate locations–one in Lancaster County, PA. They ended up using the footage from there, not the day spent filming in Ohio. There was filming done a third day later in Ohio with some others, but again, that was all left on the cutting room floor.
  • I was not paid for the filming.
  • The questions were not given to me ahead of time–I had to answer them literally at the point they were asked. I was very grateful to have a friend who had gone with me to PA who was sitting in ear shot but out of sight, praying hard for me!
“I have pointed a real bad finger at the Amish.” Convicted rapist Johnnie Byler speaks in court in Sins of the Amish.
  • I saw a comment from someone claiming that the things the experts said were “self-explanatory” and were stating the obvious. Maybe, just maybe, for them. But that is how a documentary is typically done, and remember, not everyone KNOWS everything you might know.
  • There was a LOT of behind the scenes work that went on, as NBC’s legal team asked the Plain Culture experts to provide documentation for everything that wasn’t covered officially by court records or some other easily available proof. We were digging many times in books, sermons and more. It took a good deal of time and energy, but we were willing to do it to make sure this documentary was not only accurate, but that all bases were covered with legally acceptable proof.
Survivor and advocate Mary Byler reads from Amish sex education materials in Sins of the Amish.
  • The best thing from this lengthy process? I think not only learning to know some of my advocate friends better, but also getting to learn to know the wonderful team from Israel, Daniel Sivan and Mor Loushy and a few other amazing people! When you go through a project this intense and heavy, you really do form some strong connections, and it was a joy to do so, due to their kindness and respect.
  • I will always be grateful to my husband, children and board for the strong support and encouragement they gave me for this important project.

Sins of the Amish is available for streaming through Peacock TV.

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