By general agreement, it wasn't a banner year for documentaries at January's Sundance Film Festival, but one of the stronger entries I saw was Ryan White and Ben Cotner's “The Case Against 8.” The HBO film maps out the history of the landmark legal battle over California's Proposition 8 (that's the ban on same-sex marriage, if you're returning from a decade-long Arctic exile) is exhaustive, intelligent detail; it's not a flashy or formally daring documentary, but it's all the more moving for focusing on fundamentals. (You can read my review here.)
HBO today confirmed a release plan for the film: it will hit screens in New York and Los Angeles on June 6, expanding to other cities the following week. Not coming to a theater near you? Don't worry: it'll be televised on HBO shortly afterwards on June 23, the anniversary of last year's Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Nice attention to detail there.
HBO Documentary Film president Sheila Nevins states, “We feel it's important to bring the story of the men and women behind this roller-coaster battle to screens across the country, and we're extremely proud to bring attention to a fundamental civil rights issue that faces the country today.”
“The Case Against 8” won Cotner and White the Directing Award in the US Documentary section at Sundance, while South By Southwest added to its laurels with an Audience Award. It's certainly one to keep an eye on for next year's documentary Oscar race. Check out Greg Ellwood's interview with the directors above.