8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION gets a Sundance premiere

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EMAIL: Press@mormonproposition.com

DAVID v. GOLIATH PRODUCTIONS announced this week that their new and highly anticipated documentary, 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION, a film by Reed Cowan & narrated by Oscar-winning writer of MILK, Dustin Lance Black, will debut its world premiere at the world renowned SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL in January 2010.

Reed Cowan saying today, Ive had a chance to talk to our films narrator, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black about our SUNDANCE acceptance and he is thrilled. Our Executive Producer Bruce Bastian is thrilled and our other Producers, Steven Greenstreet, Emily Pearson and Chris Volz are also … over the moon. Additionally, our production staff which includes Richard Samuels and Brian Bayerl of Greendoor Productions and Jess Elwood our animator are also thrilled.

Months ago, in an interview with THE ADVOCATE magazine, SUNDANCEs John Cooper said: I think were going to see a lot more hard-hitting political documentaries. Prop. 8 was sort of a wake-up call. I can see that fire in the belly to finish this thing off, to get to the next phase in American life.

Everyone involved with 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION is honored to be a part of what Mr. Cooper was talking about. 8:TMP is indeed the hardest-hitting political documentary to be released in years. It is to Mormons and their anti-gay allies what Fahrenheit 9-11 was to the Bush Administration.

Thats why our team will have a ground presence in Park City and Salt Lake City the likes of which has never been seen before through our SLC manager Jacob Whipple. For that, well be enlisting the help of thousands of people … details to come.

This is an important film. Our team believes it strikes at the heart of one of our countrys highest held values separation of church and state. And mostly, this film is important because it honors in a very respectful and dignified way, those who felt the sting of prop. 8 and other legislation like it. This is their story. And with the invitation from SUNDANCE, it will now be the worlds to experience.

MORE 8:TMP INFO AND NEWS AT: www.mormonproposition.com

Reactions/Mentions:

Back2Stonewall.com: Sundance Film Festival To Show 8: The Mormon Proposition

AP: The documentary lineup features a daring entry for the festival that takes place in the heartland of the Mormon church.

New York Times: Sundance Gets Quirky

Salt Lake Tribune: Sundance: What’s hot, what’s next

Salt Lake Tribune: Prop. 8 fight returns to Utah

The Hollywood Reporter: Sundance reveals noncompetition lineup

ABC4: Controversial LDS/Gay documentary to be shown at Sundance

Rotten Tomatoes: Sundance Announces Out-of-Competition Films Screening At 2010 Festival

On Top Magazine: Mormon Gay Marriage Involvement Film Gets Sundance OK

USA Today: Where else to find our Utah news but Pam’s House Blend? Cool.

CTnews: New Documentary Looks At Mormon Church And Prop 8 In CA

The Hollywood Reporter takes top prize for including this illuminating exchange in their Sundance piece:

Of cheeky note is the inclusion of the Spotlight documentary “8: The Mormon Proposition,” from director Reed Cowan. Sundance watchers will remember that last year’s festival was threatened with a boycott as a result of the Mormon church’s support for the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state.

The festival’s “crime” was that it is held in Utah, Mormon ground zero, and one of its theater’s CEOs contributed to the campaign for Prop 8. The proposed protest never sat well with Sundance organizers, who pointed to the festival’s longtime support of gay-themed films.

Perhaps including “8” is payback?

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Cooper said with feigned guilelessness. Then he chuckled.

“I think showing ‘8’ is going to have, especially on a local level, some controversy,” said Cooper, who remembers hearing about the work in progress from Cowan at last year’s fest. “It teaches you a lot, that movie. It’s kind of scary. It spells it all out in ways that you can understand.”

Latest local news report:

P.S. Check this out: 8 – The Mormon Proposition movie? Should it be allowed?

Allowed?!?

18 thoughts on “8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION gets a Sundance premiere

  1. SUNDANCEs John Cooper said: I think were going to see a lot more hard-hitting political documentaries. Prop. 8 was sort of a wake-up call. I can see that fire in the belly to finish this thing off, to get to the next phase in American life.

    And what exactly is this “next” phase in American life? The one where there’s gay marriage throughout America? Doesn’t that seem a little simplistic at this point in the gay marriage game (where 4/5 of the states have bans)?

    I guess I don’t understand why this film specifically attacks the Mormon Church with such anger when 4/5 of the states have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Why not attack “America,” DOMA, president Clinton for signing DOMA, president Obama for doing nothing to undermine it? Maybe the film will touch on these things, but I think it’s more interested in framing the debate as anti-Mormon, anti-Church, anti-Republican. The argument seems to be that the Church is meddling in the separation of Church/state more so than other groups because of the $$$ involved, not because of the actual meddling (given that Church/state is mixed all the time in churches throughout this country, including pro-gay churches). Gay marriage is really an upper/middle-class fight, IMO, where people have disposable incomes to donate to political causes. I’d much rather see ordinances like the one that passed in SLC (housing/employment) with Mormon support than documentaries like this. Hopefully, the actual film isn’t as hate-mongering as its trailer, and is more nuanced.

  2. Simplistic? I guess it depends on how you score the gay marriage “game”

    Just some perspective for the weary: We started this year with two marriage equality states. We are closing out the year with five states, with a possible sixth (New Jersey) turning in our favor before the big ball drops, and the District of Columbia likely to follow suit in Q1 of 2010.

    President Clinton this year called DOMA a mistake, President Obama has called it “abhorrent,” but of course, you’re right, Alan … marriage is a boutique issue being promoted by boys better-suited to arranging their Sundance social calendars, and the real action is at the municipal level where the LDS church is getting so much of the heavy lifting done on the equality front.

  3. Here in Washington State, the PEOPLE voted for Referendum 71, not a legislative or judicial body that could be overturned by the people. Washington State now has domestic partnerships that are equal to marriages in every way but name, with the exception of federal rights of marriage. This is the same as Massachusetts, which has “gay marriage” with the exception of the federal rights that it cannot grant because it is a state. So, if the issue of “marriage equality” is the rights (which I think it should be), then you gotta go after it federally; you have to critique federal structures. What’s the point of critiquing churches (and worse yet, demonizing one specific church) who have set notions of what marriage is? If it had been put to the church-going people of Massachusetts, “gay marriage” would not have passed. A contestation of symbols cannot be won except through dialogue and this documentary does not seem to be one that will create dialogue. It expresses outrage, and whose outrage exactly? “Gay people?” I’m not outraged and I’m gay….this is the problem with “homonormative” politics (to use Lisa Duggan’s term). It makes the “good work” harder in the long run. None of this is to say that I won’t watch the film in hopes that I’m wrong (and because I’m studying gay-Mormon relations anyway), but this is my initial reaction to the film.

  4. Im not outraged and Im gay …

    Let me guess … you’re also young, single, years away from even thinking about starting a family, and lovin’ life in your liberal enclave.

    This is the problem with YOYO politics (to use Jared Bernstein’s term) … I’ve already got what I want, so when it comes to supporting the work that needs to get done to secure your family’s right to equal treatment, sorry, but “you’re on your own.”

    Agreeing with Cleve Jones and organizing for movement on the federal level is all good (and needs to be happening at the same time as state and municipal battles continue to be fought), but the goal is not to “critique federal structures” but rather, you know, to actually move legislation through Congress.

    Why does 8:TMP specifically attack the Mormon Church?

    Why not?

    The director, producers and most of the crew are Mormon. Considering that several of them have served LDS missions, just on principle, I’d say they’ve earned the right to make any (and as many) Mormon-themed movies as they like.

    But, more importantly, where did the anti-Republican comment come from? 8:TMP spends a good deal of time profiling Fred Karger, the activist behind Californians Against Hate, who also happens to be a retired Republican political consultant.

    Does opposing Gayle Ruzicka and Chris Buttars make one an “anti-Republican”? That makes about as much sense as calling those who criticize organized LDS political opposition to marriage equality “anti-Mormon” … as Fred would say, he’d simply like to see the nice Mormons go back to spending their millions on disaster relief efforts.

    And when I finally get to watch 8:TMP, I hope to see that the producers have spent their time and money on a worthwhile documentary. That remains to be seen.

    In the meantime, what’s the point of bringing up Washington, Massachusetts and the other 4/5 of the country? That’s not what this particular film happens to be about.

  5. I bring up Washington because Ref 71 was about families and rights, supported by the people of Washington, including my Mormon mother. It would not have passed if it weren’t for the 20% of Eastern, conservative Washington that supported it. Like I said, if you fight over the meaning of a symbol, that’s a different battle than civil rights. There is an argument to be made that in the fever-pitch debate over “gay marriage,” some Americans are actually becoming amendable to domestic partnerships/civil unions when they were just plain “anti-gay” before. But many states bar “anything marriage-like,” so there’s still a lot of work to be done in this regard.

    The Republican thing, I apologize; there are “good” Republicans. But the comment by Fred Krager is short-sighted, IMO, because religious lobbyists are steeped in every aspect of American politics. Krager says he’s not “anti-Mormon,” but just anti-what-Mormons-are-doing. That’s the same argument the Church makes about gay people: “We’re not anti-gay. Just anti-what-gays-are-doing.” It’s a shallow sentiment.

    I’m not a YOYO person… I do believe in shared political goals. I’m just highly critical at how to best reach those goals. =)

  6. The good folks in Eastern WA who helped approve R-71 certainly deserve praise and thanks, and you’re absolutely right that it wouldn’t have passed without them, but I’m not sure what “good work” gets done by pointing to that outcome to argue that marriage is more symbol than civil right.

    The recent vote counts in Maine and Washington would seem to simply confirm that too many Americans continue to conflate civil marriage and holy (wholly symbolic) matrimony. Rather than succumb to the confusion, we ought to be actively promoting the disambiguation of the civil and religious connotations of “marriage” in the public mind.

    The actions of the electorate have no bearing on the reality that the bundle of rights, benefits and responsibilities conferred by civil marriage is anything but symbolic.

    Admitting that reality might make some who’ve supported marriage bans in the past feel disquieted once they’ve woken up to the realization that they’ve been party to discrimination, but so it goes.

    Anyways, YOYO was probably a low blow. You seem to be a well-intentioned person trying to fairly weigh the concerns of two communities. Thing is, I see the scales as still being so far out of whack after Prop 8, during which we heard so much from the Mormons courtesy of the Yes on 8 campaign, that I’m not sure a single 8:TMP documentary gets us much closer to balance. Fortunately, I’m hearing good things about the Lifetime TV special that’s in the works 😉

  7. Screening times …

    Sunday, January 24, 2:15 p.m., Racquet Club, Park City

    Monday, January 25, 5:30 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City

    Wednesday, January 27, 6:00 p.m., Tower Theatre, SLC

    Friday, January 29, noon, Temple Theatre, Park City

    Saturday, January 30, 9:00 p.m., Screening Room, Sundance Resort

  8. Well, the only thing I’d like to remind you of is that while gays are pushing for a separation of church/state, Mormons view marriage primarily as religious and secondarily as civil, so for them, gender-neutral marriage would not be an upholding of the separation of church and state, but would actually be a collapsing of the civil with the religious (that is, gender-neutral marriage would become the marriage of the land). This is part of the long line of religious communities feeling sequestered by the state. Secularity always wins at the expense of schisming faith communities. (This is not to say that gays haven’t felt sequestered by religion for just as long, I’m only saying that “marriage” is symbolic because it isn’t just about marriage. People are bringing so much more to the table.)

    Yet, one can sympathize with the gay position and simply not support it because of one’s faith. There are a lot of feminist Mormons, for example, who believe in male-only priesthood. A lot of white Mormons who were pro-Civil Rights believed in no black priesthood until ’78. This is just the way faith works; it has an irrational element determined by “testimony,” which is grounded in experience. And since we don’t all share the same experiences……

    Thinking of the issue in terms of scales is very self-reflexive of you (=p), but what happens when you look at the picture using multiple scales, including those you disagree with? I don’t claim to have the answer to the kind of utopian politics I’m advocating, but I do like the idea of Ref 71 passing rather than Prop 8 failing, and thinking about one why passed and the other failed. What happens when we view the passing of Ref 71 as more progressive than a hypothetical passing of Prop 8?

  9. Mormons view marriage primarily as religious and secondarily as civil,

    This confusion is exactly the problem. Mormons — of all people — should know that the legal/civil contract recorded by the government is not remotely equivalent to the celestial sealing that takes place in the temple.

  10. What happens when we view the passing of Ref 71 as more progressive than a hypothetical passing of Prop 8?

    What happens? Folks will assume you’ve wandered into Nicholas Garrigan territory.

  11. No, but we’re supposedly talking movies, and The Last King of Scotland was a damn fine one.

    Nicholas Garrigan: I didn’t want him to die though.
    Idi Amin: But you did it. Why? You want to know why?
    Nicholas Garrigan: Yes.
    Idi Amin: You did it because you love me.

    QFT, Idi.

  12. I assume you’re getting at an idea of Mormons “not thinking for themselves” as they do the work of power-hungry people. You should read Jasbir Puar’s “Terrorist Assemblages: homonationalism in queer times” and you might see how gays, too, are just as susceptible to “not thinking for themselves” and instead thinking for “the Man.”

  13. If this is where you’d like to take the discussion, I’m interested, but you’ll have to allow me some time to read Puar and process her ideas re “queer Islamophobia.” In the meantime, since you’re already familiar with homonationalism, perhaps you could explain how you’d apply that concept to the present discussion, and I’ll weigh in once I’ve caught up.

  14. There’s A LOT going on in her book, so I can’t really do it justice (mostly because I’m still making sense of it). As I understand it so far, heteronormativity is now linked with a homonormativity in American culture, where some queers are made to feel included and others are excluded through uses of the state. She talks about how queer scholars have concentrated on Foucault’s notion of “discourse” to think about sexuality and the repressions of the state, while ethnic/postcolonial thinkers have always thought in terms of biopower (since racism functions through the reproduction of racial bodies, not just discourse). Puar uses the word “queer” to mean “different,” and applying discourse and biopower to a global perspective, shows hows gay nationalism in the US/Europe is anti-Muslim and is pro-war on terror; thus, even though it’s untied to reproduction (except for those queers who are now involving themselves in reproductive kinship and the “reproduction” of gay discourse generally), it is still very much involved in discourses of race and Orientalism. She doesn’t just refer to Muslims particularly, but really the ascendancy of whiteness that prior to the 1960s was obvious, but now is “multiculturalist” (although the war on terror is obviously racist with the nationalist excuse of “security”).

    She links Lawrence v Texas and gay marriage into this imaginary. First is the fact that Lawrence v Texas did not “legalize sodomy,” but it relegated the protection of sodomy to the domestic sphere. So, here again we see the state setting the rules on the public/private binary (even though 1970s feminism was all about taking the state’s hands OUT of this binary). Puar asks: “Who is able to occupy the private in the manner L v T mandates?” And then she goes into a discussion of racialized bodies/classism/etc.

    With regard to Mormons, obviously, Mormons are “multiculturalists,” as they negotiate with difference while trying to keep white, middle-class, heteronormative domestic values at the top (although not all Mormons are like this, of course, given that most live outside the US). But the point is, while gay activists and Mormons battle about marriage within the US, and gay activists complain about the $$$ spent by Mormons, they don’t look in the mirror at the $$$ they spend too, the state-of-affairs that would allow such money to be spent — thinking mostly about this “separation of church/state,” which is actually linked to all these other Orientalist ideas concerning freedom, morality, identity, the purpose of the state, etc. If one thinks about these other discourses as “world-producing,” then gays are just as guilty of breaking the church/state binary as Mormons are, and I’m aghast why more aren’t concerned with the ways the state functions to regulate queerness.

    I’m veering off Puar now, but anyhow, I’m still processing it all.

  15. I haven’t yet gotten my hands on Terrorist Assemblages, but happened to noticed this:

    Puar – Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/24264675/Monster-Terroist-Fag-the-War-on-Terroism-and-the-Production-of-Docile-Patriots

    Puar poses the question:

    …how do these practices and technologies become the quotidian framework through which we are obliged to struggle, survive, and resist?

    But after reading that essay and this interview:

    http://www.darkmatter101.org/site/2008/05/02/qa-with-jasbir-puar/

    I’m no closer to understanding what such obligatory resistance entails in Puar’s view, and I struggle with what strikes me as vacuous posturing in passages like this:

    Many discussions were had regarding the numerous examples that highlight how western LGBTIQ attention to and intervention in certain situations, for example the Cairo-52, the execution of purportedly homosexual men in Iran, and most recently a case in Pakistan involving a transgender man and his female partner, often have detrimental consequences for those locally involved, demonstrating the fragile and tenuous links between diaspora and homeland, global and local.

    Purportedly?

    I’m wondering: in seeking to move beyond her previous fave binary (Hypermasculine USA vs. Gay Osama Bin Laden), has Puar decided to stake a new claim in that fresh territory Stephen Colbert has described as “the imaginary war between blacks and gays”?

    Anyways, just some initial concerns. And since I’ve already gone long, I read this Halperin interview a few years ago, but don’t have anyone else to share it with, so here it is if you’re interested:

    Halperin – Foucault, Gay Marriage, and Gay and Lesbian Studies in the United States

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/24264892/Foucault-Marriage

    One of the pleasures for me of reading interviews with Foucault is trying and failing to anticipate what Foucault will say in response to a question. Every time I think I know what Foucault is going to say, I keep being surprised by what he says, which goes off in some totally unexpected direction. Thats all the more reason for me to be sure that Im not able to speak for him. My intuition, though, is that he would be delighted by the whole gay marriage movement, that he would find the trouble it was causing for all sorts of social institutions to be extremely enjoyable. Of course, once the question is posedShould gay people have the right to marry?there could only be one answer, which is, Yes. And, in fact, although gay marriage isnt an issue I care very much about one way or another, I do think its notable that no valid argument against gay marriage has ever been put forward. In fact, there is no basis on which to oppose gay marriage except prejudice. This makes the arguments against gay marriage examples, particularly striking examples, of intellectual or moral disgrace on the part of the people who make them. Nonetheless, we dont have to imagine what Foucault would say about the gay marriage movement, because we know some of the things that he did say. For example, in 1963 over dinner at the home of Jacques Lacan he said, There will be no civilization as long as marriage between men is not accepted

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