Just over a year ago, I decided to make my thesis film (in the Stanford Doc Film MFA program) on gay Mormons because LGBT Mormons are extremely marginalized, because the cultural climate in Mormonism doesn't tolerate its gay members and because there is a need for greater compassion and conversation. This film for me is deeply personal. At the time I was conflicted being a faithful member of an institution that dogmatically rejected my gay brothers and sisters. I couldn't reconcile the reality that I received religious blessing and cultural acceptance because I am heterosexual, where LGBT Mormons were denied and rejected. I needed answers and understanding because I was hurting. This film was born out of a faith crisis with the hope it would provide resolution.
So let me give an update on the project. After interviewing and meeting many wonderful LGBT Mormons, I chose to focus on a perculiar gay couple living in Roosevelt, Utah. Marylu and Lauralie's situation strikes me because they are trying to make being gay and Mormon work in a way I hadn't seen before––they live together and have valid temple recommends. Yet where they live is just as interesting as how they live. The bleak landscape surrounding Roosevelt is representative of the climate in which Marylu and Lauralie live—isolated and unforgiving. I think Marylu and Lauralie's dedication is exemplary.
Months later, we've filmed the majority of the project and are beginning to enter post production (although there are still a few scenes to film). I'm touched by the delicate íntimacy of Marylu and Lauralie's relationship. I'm moved by their undying determination to be active, worthy Church members despite ongoing disapproval from ward members. And I'm glad to call them my friends.
The film is still far from finished but is on schedule to be screening in June 2017. There are some exciting plans for others to get involved and support the project. Stay tuned for future updates.
PS The current working title for the film is You and I, Friend.