HBO TO PRESENT DOCUMENTARY ON HISTORIC GAY MARRIAGE CASE; FIVE YEARS IN THE MAKING, FILM FEATURES EXCLUSIVE BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE
LOS ANGELES, July 9, 2013 - HBO Documentary Films is currently in production on a film telling the story of the historic Supreme Court case that overturned Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. Over the last five years, directors Ben Cotner and Ryan White have had exclusive access to the work of the powerhouse legal team led by Ted Olson and David Boies, as well as the lives of the four plaintiffs in the case. The untitled feature will be completed by the end of this year for debut on the network in 2014.
"The story of the battle to overturn Prop 8 is the story of a modern-day American revolution," noted Lombardo. "HBO is proud to present what is intended to be the film of record on this landmark case."
The first Supreme Court case challenging a ban on same-sex marriage was argued by the unlikely pairing of conservative Ted Olson and liberal David Boies, who previously squared off as opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore. The lawsuit was sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights on behalf of two couples, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Jeffrey Zarrillo and Paul Katami. This documentary tells the story of the people behind the case and their journey to secure marriage equality in California, paving the way for marriage equality for all Americans.
Ted Olson states, "I've always said that the best evidence in this case is to hear our clients tell their stories. 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."
David Boies says, "The evidence at trial, including from the defendants' own witnesses on cross-examination, proved that discriminating against LGBT couples seriously harmed them and their children, without any benefit to anyone. The opponents of marriage equality have successfully blocked the release of the videotapes of that testimony. But they cannot block this documentary. Everyone who sees this film will understand the pain our fellow citizens feel when they are deprived of the right to marry the person they love - and why that pain is so unnecessary."
"We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to reach so many people through such a distinguished platform as HBO, which is the perfect partner to present the hard work of the many people involved in this case to the rest of the country," comments director Ben Cotner.
"Watching this case unfold has been a master class in the judicial system and in the ongoing movement towards realizing equality in this country," adds director Ryan White. "We are excited to share that experience with the world."
Ben Cotner is currently senior vice president of acquisitions at Open Road Films. Ryan White's films include "Pelada" and "Good Ol' Freda," which will be released in September. The deal was negotiated with HBO on behalf of the filmmakers by Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment and Victoria Cook of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.