The 2013 Gay Pride: Supreme Court’s Historic Rulings Support Gay Marriage

The 2013 Gay Pride: Supreme Court’s Historic Rulings Support Gay Marriage

In major victories for the human rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case on Prop 8 from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there. By clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.

In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion that struck down the federal law in a stately tone indicating he was delivering a civil rights landmark. The vote in the case striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act was 5 to 4, and Justice Kennedy was joined by the four members of the court’s liberal wing. The ruling will immediately extend many benefits to couples married in the states that allow such unions, and it will allow the Obama administration to broaden other benefits through executive actions.

The case concerning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, enacted in a ballot initiative known as Proposition 8, was decided on technical grounds, with the majority saying that it was not properly before the court. Because officials in California had declined to appeal a trial court’s decision against them, and because the proponents of the ban were not entitled to step into the state’s shoes to appeal the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision. That left in place a trial court victory for two same-sex couples who had sought to marry.

Read more about the Supreme Court’s decisions in the New York Times here.

Read more about the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 decision in the Los Angeles Times here.

Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage Rights

Supreme Court Rulings Spur Celebrations Among Gay Marriage Supporters

Gay Pride Month: Celebrating Loving Feelings for Others

It’s the Dream Afraid of Waking,
That Never Takes a Chance
.”

Harvey Milk: You’ve Got to Give Them Hope

Before there was this year’s Academy Awards celebrated Milk, there was the widely acclaimed The Times of Harvey Milk, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film in 1984, and was awarded The Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, among other awards. The documentary chronicles the political career of Harvey Milk, who was San Francisco’s first openly gay elected Board Supervisor. The film, at times humorous, at times nostalgic, and at other times quite tragic, tells the story of Harvey Milk’s rise to political power and emergence as a symbol of gay political achievement.

The Times of Harvey Milk documents through assembled historic film clips the tumultuous story of Milk’s grass-roots political organizing and election, through the shocking murders and their repercussions. It takes the film’s viewers along with the eloquent candle-light memorial joined by tens of thousands of San Franciscans on the evening of the assassinations, to the scenes of angry crowds who stormed San Francisco’s City Hall in the aftermath of the lenient sentence that Dan White received at his murder trial.

This Academy Award-winning documentary feature film depicts not only Harvey Milk himself, but also the political and social milieu of the era in which he lived. From this perspective, the film continues to have significant relevance for our nation today, standing as a classic portrait of communities and cultural values in severe conflict. The film was produced subsequent to Harvey Milk’s death using archival footage, so that Milk is credited posthumously as the lead actor. Other politicians, including San Francisco’s then-mayor George Moscone (who was assassinated along with Milk) and Moscone’s successor and now United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, also appear in the archival footage. Also featured in the film is then-schoolteacher Tom Ammiano, who has been a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 1994, and was elected to the California State Assembly. The film’s outstanding narration is provided by the acclaimed stage and screen actor Harvey Fierstein, who at that time had just achieved great success with his own Tony Award-winning Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy.

The Times of Harvey Milk: The Full Version of the Documentary

Slide Show:The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

(Please Click on Image Above to View Slide Show)

Please Share This:

Share

Bad Cars: Living with Unexpected Obstacles and Imperfect Moments

Bad Cars: Living with Unexpected Obstacles and Imperfect Moments

Bad Cars is a new short film by Anthony Deptula, the writer and star of the wonderful independent film One Too Many Mornings, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Dating in Los Angeles is hard, especially when you have a terrible car. Bad Cars is a romantic comedy about a first date with a simple problem; neither person wants the other to see their crappy car. While there is elegant storytelling with an abundance of clever humor, there is also an honest and painful view of the loneliness and vulnerabilities of life in a city filled with unexpected obstacles and imperfect moments.

Bad Cars: Living with Unexpected Obstacles and Imperfect Moments

Please Share This:

Share

One Too Many Mornings: A Tale of Sordid Depravity and Honest Vulnerability

One Too Many Mornings: A Tale of Sordid Depravity and Honest Vulnerability

One Too Many Mornings is the acclaimed independent film directed by Michael Mohan, which made its world premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film is an expertly constructed ode to being free and easy, sexually depraved, drunkly confused and darkly lonely, all at the same time. On the surface, One Too Many Mornings is the humorous tale of a longtime friendship between two young men, Fischer and Peter, whose relationship has become complicated by nights of drunken debauchery. Between Fischer’s drinking problem and Peter’s troubles with his long-term girlfriend Rudy, there is an abundance of irreverent humor, but also an honest and painful view of male vulnerability.

Beneath the more obvious sense of depraved comedy, there’s a solid and confident quality to this movie that’s rarely seen in the world of young independent filmmaking. One Too Many Mornings has a fluidity that allows its characters to slip in and out of different psychological states. Sometimes they’re clearly using each other, but at other times they seem to have bonded because each completes the other in some painfully damaged, yet also wonderful way. There is a sincerity that shines through the film, a familiarity with the trials of young people trying to find their way in the face of harsh reality, and with a realization that the sense of delusion provided by depraved debauchery must ultimately be relinquished.

One Too Many Mornings: A Tale of Sordid Depravity and Honest Vulnerability

Please Share This:

Share

Last Minutes with Oden: A Powerful Elegy on Love, Loss and Grief

Last Minutes with Oden: A Powerful Elegy on Love, Loss and Grief

Last Minutes with Oden is a deeply engaging, extremely heart-wrenching 6-minute documentary short film directed and edited by Eliot Rausch, in association with PhosPictures and Uber Content. The film was named Best Documentary and Best Video at the 2010 Vimeo Awards, chosen from over 6500 film and video submissions.

Last Minutes with Oden tells a story about Jason Wood (Woody), an ex-convict who is saying a final farewell to his best friend, of the man’s last minutes with his dog before he has to have it euthanized for health reasons. The documentary is a beautiful elegy that calls attention to certain heartbreaking moments most of us experience, which is an incredibly powerful reminder of the importance of family and friendships in all our lives.

The 2010 Vimeo Awards site can be viewed here.

Last Minutes with Oden: A Powerful Elegy on Love, Loss and Grief

5 Hours with Woody: Three years before “Last Minutes with Oden”

Please Share This:

Share

The Maker: The Beguiling Preciousness of Life and Love

The Maker: The Beguiling Preciousness of Life and Love

The Maker is an acclaimed stop-motion animated short film directed by Christopher Kezelos, which has screened and wan major film awards at a number of film festivals. The film has recently been nominated for Best Animated Short Film in the 2013 Short of the Week Awards, with winners to be announced beginning February11, 2013.

The Maker is set in a dimly-lit fantasy world, where a strange rabbit-like creature races against time, as he attempts to make the most important and beautiful creation of his life. Freud more than once implied that what is fundamental to our sense of happiness is the ability to love and work. Similarly, director Kezelos describes The Maker as an exploration of “the preciousness of our moments on earth, the short time we have with loved ones and the enjoyment of ones life’s work and purpose. In their fleeting existence our characters experience joy, love, hard work, purpose, loss and loneliness.”

The Maker: The Beguiling Preciousness of  Life and Love

Please Share This:

Share

As I Am: We Are Meant to Find Each Other

As I Am: We Are Meant to Find Each Other

The more I keep thinking about when I died, when I was a child, I got a job to do.
I wish I could remember what God told me to do.
I wish I could remember the cuts I’m supposed to take, what cuts I’m supposed to create.
What I know is, we are meant to connect, to find each other.
Eyes to see. Hands to feel. Hearts to love.

As I Am is a beautiful, sensitive documentary short film by Emmy-Award winning photojournalist/filmmaker Alan Spearman. The poetic and powerful imagery of the film follows the Memphis landscape of remarkable young Chris Dean, revealing the many lives that have shaped his world. Told in Dean’s own words, the film is a long spoken word poem describing his trenchant observations about life: his thoughts and feelings regarding the places and people that make up his home. As I Am portrays Dean’s hopes, fears and, more than anything, his sensitivity and grace. The film has recently been nominated for Best Live Action Short Film in the 2013 Short of the Week Awards, with winners to be announced beginning February 4, 2013.

Chris Dean’s heart stopped when he was two; he died but he came back. When Chris was five, his father was murdered, shot with more than 20 bullets in a gang shootout. In 2011, at age 18, Chris gained national attention when he introduced President Barack Obama at his high school graduation. Chris is an observer-philosopher who has always had a few things to say about life from his vantage point in South Memphis. As I Am is a wonderful work, which originally premiered on the website of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

As I Am: We Are Meant to Find Each Other

Booker T. Washington Senior Christopher Dean Introduces President Barack Obama

Please Share This:

Share

Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

Limbo is the new documentary short film directed by Eliot Rausch, created in association with Phos Pictures, which had its World Premier in New York City earlier this week. Previously, Rausch won the Best Documentary Award and the Grand Prize at the 2010 Vimeo Festival + Awards, for his short film Last Minutes with Oden. After winning the 25K Grand Prize Grant from the Vimeo Awards, Director Eliot Rausch partnered with Producer Mark Schwartz and the Dreamers of Los Angeles to create Limbo.

The emotionally moving 19-minute documentary short film exposes the lives of three undocumented students, who are living in Los Angeles without legal status. Without ever before having touched a camera, the students were gifted with a small video camera and provided with a half-day of training. They were asked to film everyday for three months. Through their lens, this is a story from the hearts and mouths of the undocumented.

Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

From Last Minutes with Oden to Limbo

Rausch won the Grand Prize at the first Vimeo Festival + Awards, held in late 2010, for his documentary short film Last Minutes with Oden. The film documents ex-convict Jason Wood’s emotions as he must euthanize his beloved dog, Oden, who had been suffering from cancer. Oden is a poignant, deeply touching chronicle of love between human and pet, which has been viewed on Vimeo more than 2.5 million times.

After winning the award, Rausch said that he began to feel guilty. “I think the project was exploiting the life of a friend and his suffering,” he said. So, in the months that followed, Rausch came up with the idea to use his $25,000 Grand Prize money to create a film that might empower his subjects, rather than simply chronicling their struggles.

From Last Minutes with Oden to Limbo

Update:

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration.

Read President Obama’s announcement in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon here.

Please Share This:

Share

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,457 other followers

%d bloggers like this: