Ben Cotner and Ryan White are directing the pic which is currently in production by HBO Documentary Films. It tells the story of the people behind the historic Supreme Court case that overturned Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. “For the past five years, Cotner and White have had exclusive access to the work of the powerhouse legal team led by Ted Olson and David Boies as well as the four plaintiffs in the case”, Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming said today in a statement. The untitled feature will be completed by the end of this year for debut on the network in 2014.
The lawsuit, sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, was brought on behalf of two couples, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Jeffrey Zarillo and Paul Katami and argued by the unlikely pairing of conservative Olson and liberal Boies. Both previously squared off in Bush v. Gore.
“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”, said Ted Olson.
David Boies added, “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,” said 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.”
Cotner is currently SVP of acquisitions at Open Road Films. 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.