Now available from Breaking Glass Pictures and QC Cinema is director Cindy L. Abel's inaugural full-length documentary "Breaking Through: The Struggle For Equality in the Nation's Capital."
With this documentary, Abel takes a broad look at a growing acceptance of the GLBT community employed in today's United States government. Abel panels over thirty interview subjects, including Barney Frank, first openly gay US Senator Tammy Baldwin, Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavor, Arkansas' House Rep Kathy Webb, Alex Wan, first transgender State Supreme Court Judge Phyllis Frye, and many more.
The fascinating thing about "Breaking Through" to me is the sheer scope of diversity it includes within its analysis of this small, but growing microcosm of American politics. Through race, gender, and sexual orientations, almost all facets of a diverse Capitol Hill is represented. The picture does not just limit itself to the highest ranking officials in our government, but also interviews big city mayors, state sheriffs, and their families. They come from metropolitan areas as well as areas unanticipated areas like the deep south, and rural midwest.
When watching "Breaking Through," one is taken by the honesty and courage that these people portray. They are not only handling the daily day-to-day responsibilities of what can sometimes be perceived as "governmental middle management," but standing up and representing for other bigger issues like teen bullying and suicide, reproductive rights, and adoption and parenting for the GLBT Americans.
Issues of religion and sexual orientation are also addressed. The separation of church and state can become an even muddier proposition when sexual preferences and who you love are added to the equation. Many of these politicians were pressured to come out by either the media or their constituents, only after some were interrogated in real life film noir-like settings, such as in a dark room with a tape recorder rolling.
"Breaking Through" is not a perfect documentary, though. It is less about the circumstances surrounding the reasons why GLBT politicians and our country seems to be progressing more rapidly than our freedoms did in the late '60s and early '70s, when the gay rights movement kicked off at Stonewall. It's more of just a "slice of life" and the personal stories of these pioneers. With literally nonstop sweeping, dramatic music throughout the doc, I would've preferred for this film to choose its more melodramatic moments and lull the gratuitous Copeland-esque soundtrack.
That being said, this film has been acclaimed so far in the festival circuit. "Breaking Through" was acknowledged publicly with a Remi at WorldFest Houston and the Audience Award at QFest Ft. Worth. The DVD Bonus Features include "Breaking Through"'s Exclusive Music Video, Theatrical Trailer, Filmmakers' Journey, and a Special theatrical version of the film.
One of the film's subjects recounts a time when one of her colleagues approached her years later saying, "You know, I didn't think I needed to know you... but I want to be your friend." This reiterates my feeling that, regrettably, the people who need to see this film the most, will, likely, never lay eyes on it.
"Breaking Through" symbolizes how and why politicians from the GLBT community need to be on Capitol Hill. These heroes do this because they strive to rise above discrimination, taking a more-challenging path, so that they might change the minds and hearts of less-accepting Americans someday. When civil rights issues arrive on Capitol Hill, we're going to need these trailblazers there to represent us.
"Breaking Through" Breaking Glass Pictures and QC Cinema
Cable on demand (Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon), Internet VOD (iTunes),
and Special Edition DVD