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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmaker #27: Born into Activism, Linda Bloodworth Thomason Fights for Marriage Equality in 'Bridegroom'

By Indiewire | Indiewire April 13, 2013 at 12:36PM

Linda Bloodworth Thomason's father was a lawyer who refused to allow the family to join the country club because Jews could not belong. Her grandfather was also a lawyer and was shot by the Ku Klux Klan for his civil rights activities. Her three uncles were also attorneys, including one who was a Judge Advocate at Nuremberg. She says their voices have inspired her work and that "the great gift of my life was to be raised around these improbable men and their fierce ideas about mercy, justice, southern populism, racial equality and religious tolerance."
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Linda Bloodworth Thomason
Linda Bloodworth Thomason
Linda
Bloodworth Thomason's father was a lawyer who
refused to allow the family to join the country club because Jews could not belong. Her grandfather was also a lawyer and was shot by the Ku Klux Klan for his civil rights activities. Her three uncles were also attorneys, including one who was a Judge Advocate at Nuremberg.  She says their voices have inspired her work and that "the great gift of my life was to be raised around these improbable men and their fierce ideas about mercy, justice, southern populism, racial equality and religious tolerance."

What it's about:
"The journey of two young men in a committed relationship cut short by an accidental death, opening a window on the issue of marriage equality like no speech ever will. "

What else should audiences know?: "I hope people will see Shane and Tom’s story as a cautionary tale. I hope everyone who views the film will hold their gay children, brothers, sisters, and friends a little closer. I also hope they will be newly or even more appalled by the colossal stupidity of this seemingly endless debate involving who should be allowed to love whom and how they should be allowed to express it. And finally, I hope all the parents who see this will make sure that not one more gay child hangs himself in a closet or jumps off a bridge."

On her biggest challenges: "Money. This is not the most popular subject for which to raise financing for a film. And music. There are a number of musicians and songwriters out there who are very much afraid of losing their fan base."

What she hopes audiences will walk away with: "The political, legal and cultural goals of "Bridegroom" are obvious. But on a more visceral level, I wanted to cinematically show that gay love is no different than straight love—that, for example, Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in Love Story and Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic are really not that different from our real life characters, Shane and Tom. Gay relationships have been misrepresented and misunderstood for so long in real life and cinema. People have already heard the intellectual and philosophical arguments. I felt it was important to present a compelling gay couple who is every bit as romantic and winning as their most appealing straight counterparts, not to mention faithful and loving. I believe understanding and admiring a relationship is the beginning of accepting it. Truthfully, I also wanted to make rednecks cry."

"Bridegroom" Still
"Bridegroom" Still


Films that inspired her: "Philadelphia"meant a lot to me because my mother died of transfused AIDS and I was witness to the bigotry and mistreatment that she and all the young men on her hospital floor experienced. My family was very liberal on social issues, but "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner" meant so much to me because it backed up everything I’d been taught. The Civil Rights Act obviously changed the law, but it took Stanley Kramer, Sidney Poitier and Spencer Tracy to really change people’s hearts and minds."

What's next:
"I’m developing a musical about some of the big-shouldered female movie stars who inhabited Hollywood in the thirties and forties and finishing my novel entitled The Oscar Wars (About five women vying for the Academy Award in the same year). Also, my screenplay, Catnip, (a story of teenage Fatal Attraction) is scheduled to begin production this summer."

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.



Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.


This article is related to: Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers






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