Filmmakers to recreate banned trial
Published 03/02/2010 | 07:48
Seeking to overcome a broadcast blackout imposed by the US Supreme Court, a pair of Los Angeles filmmakers have undertaken the task of faithfully recreating the federal trial on California's same-sex marriage ban for the internet - all 60-plus hours of it; every "um," "yes, your honour" and "objection!"
John Ainsworth and John Ireland are using 3,000 pages of court transcripts as scripts and professional actors as the main characters to produce the weighty re-enactment of a landmark case.
The trial, the first in a federal court to explore whether the US Constitution prohibits states from outlawing same-sex unions, is on a break and will resume most likely in March with closing arguments. Ainsworth and Ireland plan to wrap up that episode as soon as possible after the trial ends.
The ruling on the case probably will be appealed to the US Supreme Court, and its ruling in the case could set precedent for whether gay marriage would become legal nationwide. Only five states allow same-sex marriage.
"This is something I believe should be a resource for Americans," Ireland said about the film. "This is a process we as a society are going through, and there is nothing like good drama with professional actors that allows people to consider the lives of others that are different from them."
Chief US Judge Vaughn Walker announced before the trial that he wanted to record the historic proceedings and transmit them to other federal courthouses and on YouTube.
But a divided Supreme Court overruled Walker two days into the trial and blocked the broadcasts, saying they could subject gay marriage opponents to harassment.
Ainsworth and Ireland had been looking forward to watching the trial unfold, having both married long-time partners before California voters enacted the ban known as Proposition 8 in 2008.
Undeterred by the blackout, they quickly mobilised a film crew. They posted a casting call on Craigslist for actors to play Walker, competing lawyers and the intrepid witnesses, then mined their Hollywood contacts to find trained thespians they concluded would be better-suited to the demanding roles.
The filmmakers are funding the project with their own money.