Entertainment » Movies

Prop 8 Documentary in the Works

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Jul 10, 2013
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HBO has given the green light to a documentary centering around the defeat of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriages in California, the Hollywood Reporter reports.

Officials from the cable network said on Tuesday that they’ve started production on the untitled documentary, focusing on the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to overturn Prop 8.

Over the past five years, the project’s two directors Ben Cotner and Ryan White, had exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the legal team that helped take down Prop 8: conservative lawyer Ted Olson and liberal lawyer David Boies. The directors were also able to film the lives of the four plaintiffs in the case, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Jeffrey Zarillo and Paul Katami.

"The story of the battle to overturn Prop 8 is the story of a modern-day American revolution," HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said. "HBO is proud to present what is intended to be the film of record on this landmark case."

The documentary will also show the journeys made by the plaintiffs and their supporters to legalize same-sex marriage in California.

"Their willingness to give us such amazing access speaks to how confident they were about where history would end up," Cotner told the New York Times, referring to the plaintiffs in the case.

Last month, the gay rights movement made huge strides when the Supreme Court left a lower court decision overturning Prop 8 stand, which effectively ended the gay marriage ban in California. The High Court also struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal measure that bans gay marriage.

"I’ve always said that the best evidence in this case is to hear our clients tell their stories," Olson said. "Paul, Jeff, Kris and Sandy have been brave enough to share their lives with the courts and now with the world. As Ben and Ryan tell this incredible story -- that for me was the most important case I’ve ever worked on -- people will inevitably be moved by getting to know these amazing individuals."

The New York Times reports this is Cotner’s first time directing and White is known for the documentary "Good Ol’ Freda," about the woman who served as secretary to the Beatles.

The documentary is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, with plans of a 2014 release.

Out screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who wrote "Milk," wrote "8," a 2011 play that portrays the closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal trial that led to the overturn of Prop 8. Lance said he created the play because the court refused to release a video recording of the trial and to give the public a true account of what happened in the courtroom.

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