Update! Well, it’s been a heckuva ride and a great launch for our little film, Bridegroom. People are shaking their heads at the phenomenal support we have received. Incredibly, we have achieved our initial goal of 300 thousand! You’ve been wonderful, awe-inspiring and tenacious, but please don’t stop now. We are humbled and grateful for all that you’ve already contributed. But we still need your help. The 300 thousand we requested was always a bare minimum. If we keep going, we can do more filming on location, obtain better music, and insure that this film is shown in theaters all over the world. We promise you that any money we receive beyond our minimum 300 thousand dollar budget will go directly to the enhancement, marketing and distribution of this film. Thank you again, all of you out there, for standing up against bigotry and joining our crusade to bring human rights to all!
Why We Want to Make this Documentary: BRIDEGROOM, will tell the emotional journey of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship – a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof. The story of what happened after this accidental death– of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized-- is poignant, enraging and opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever will.
On May 7, 2012, the anniversary of Tom’s death, Shane made a video tribute to his greatest love entitled “It Could Happen To You." This film, posted on YouTube, has gotten over 2.7 million hits and inspired over 50 thousand e-mails and comments on YouTube and Facebook. The impact of Shane’s original film and the raw nerve it touched for so many, tells us this is an important story that needs to be told… and told now.
How BRIDEGROOM Can be in Theaters by Fall: Our ambitious production schedule can be met if we immediately raise our bare minimum, fundraising goal of $300,000. To all of you Kickstarter novices out there: if we fall short of our goal during the designated donation period, we will lose all money raised, along with the opportunity to make this film, as well as play a meaningful role in the burgeoning debate over marriage equality.
If we are in the fortunate position of having surpassed our minimum goal, we will use this money to enhance the production value of the film and pay for costly marketing, distribution and music.
Watch the YouTube Video That Started it All:
A message from Director/ Producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason: In March of 1986, my mother was diagnosed with AIDS, after receiving a contaminated blood transfusion. This occurred just as the pilot for “Designing Women” was getting underway. As I wrote much of the first season, sitting beside my mom, I was witness to the incredible prejudice and prevailing ignorance inflicted not just on her, but all the homosexual men who shared her hospital floor. Because of this, I was honored to write the Emmy nominated DW episode, “Killing all the Right People,” which was television’s first scripted show to tackle the hateful prejudice surrounding gays and AIDS.
Little did I know that I would someday be provided with another opportunity to address this same kind of bigotry. It all began when I attended a gay wedding ceremony in Palm Springs, California. That night, a couple of unforgettable, young men named Shane and Tom joined my table. I learned they were “Designing Women” fans, madly in love and literally brimming with all their big plans for an exciting life together. Sadly, that possibility ended when Tom was killed in an accident last year. When I heard the news, I was haunted by the sheer weight of Shane’s loss. Even though I barely knew them, their good-hearted demeanors and earnest love had made an indelible impression on me.
Then, a few weeks ago, I saw Shane’s YouTube posting, along with his bone crushing grief and the story of what happened to him after Tom’s death—and all because they were never allowed to marry. Like so many others who saw this video, I was deeply touched. And angered. I called Shane told him I wanted to make a documentary that would tell his and Tom’s love story from beginning to end. I have now seen all of Shane and Tom’s videos and home movies. Like a lot of young people, they routinely documented their lives—but this recorded history is so prolific, it almost seems as though they had a premonition or unconscious fear of not getting to live out something important.
Tom and Shane were each other’s first and only loves. They are devoted, hardworking, unassuming and funny. Each is from a small town and each, in his own way, is imbued with the best kind of small town values. They are, in fact, the sort of young people who hold within themselves the promise of America. And that is why I want to bring to life, on film, this real life Romeo and Romeo—so that all who condemn them, might come face to face with exactly what it is they are opposing.
Certainly the fact that Tom’s last name is Bridegroom is a lucky and serendipitous gift to a filmmaker. But it is so unusual, even a skeptic would find it hard not to also feel that Tom, in his own way, is now standing in for something larger than himself. I can think of no more powerful opportunity to change hearts and minds on this very important issue of human rights, than to tell the story of Shane and Tom, which at its core, is the struggle of all people who yearn to be who they are and love who they love.
Follow our progress:
"Shane, we need you to speak up. We need you to help show the world that love is love. Your story has forever changed my life."
"This video has terrified me in the best way. Thank you so much for sharing your story so that others may not have to endure the same. Change must happen."
"This has changed me, made me stronger… I'm straight… but we are one. We should all have equal rights!"
“Because of you I found the strength to tell my parents I am gay… I will forever be grateful for you and Tom.”
“Shane, keep fighting. We're listening. Your story with Tom needs to be told over and over until this intolerance and prejudice ends.”
“Anyone who can watch this video and think that same sex marriage is wrong does not understand the concept that God is love”.
“I’ll never judge anyone anymore. You changed my life, you and Tom.”
“I, too, went through a similar situation with my boyfriend's family. When he got sick, I wasn't allowed to see him. When he died, I was neither told nor allowed to come to the service. I feel your pain.”
"Thank you for sharing. I've lost my lover. His family refused to allow me to be with him. Till today, I still don't know where he was buried... This not knowing has haunted me for 18 years."
"I am speechless, I went through almost the exact thing 27 years ago when my precious Stephen threw himself off our roof… My husband of 19 years and I carry a copy of our marriage license (CA), domestic partnership, living wills and durable power of attorneys wherever we go. No one will ever keep me from seeing him. Ever."
"Eight weeks ago, I suddenly lost my beautiful partner of ten years. We both dreamed of the day that we would be treated equally here in Australia. Sadly, we too were never allowed to marry the one we loved."
"When my boyfriend died in 1996, I felt alone. We could not be married. Besides the deep sadness… I lost everything. My boyfriend is always in my heart."
"I am a 14-year-old Christian… Gay/lesbian marriage should be legalized all over or else we are basically going against our Constitution."
"I made my overly religious mother sit down and watch this. I wanted to know what she would say when she saw two men truly in love and what such hate and ignorance could do. After it was over, she just stared at the computer screen as tears slipped from her eyes. She finally understood that love isn't just reserved for straight people."
"It was my birthday on the 7 May, 2011, (the day Tom died) I just turned 12. I’m 13 now. I wish I could have gone instead. I'm sending you all my love and I hope you'll get to see him again someday in heaven, when you get older. With all my love."
"Thanks for showing me what we often tend to forget. Love has no boundaries."
"I'm 20 years old. I live in Canada. I've never been gay, or had a single gay thought. And I’ve never loved anyone as much as this man loved Tom."
"Big support from the Czech Republic!!!"
"Shane, I live on the other side of the world. But your message affected me so much that I came out to my parents, who were very loving. I wish you all the luck in the world in making this world a better place."
"Shane, for you, for Tom’s memory, I vow to take a stand. I’ve been so wishy-washy and you have opened my eyes."
"Before this video, I didn’t believe in same sex marriage. Shane, you have changed my perspective on so much. I do believe you are going to make a difference and people will hear you. Tom would be so proud!"
"I am a Christian and it absolutely breaks my heart when people use Christianity as an excuse for hatred. One day, children will read about this time in history books and be disgusted at the fact that anyone had to fight for the right to marry the person they love."
"This is no different then back in the day when blacks weren’t allowed to marry. As a redneck speaking openly this is STUPID… this is worth fighting for and stupidity will lose in the long run."
"If they wanna make loving someone against the law, then I guess we will all be outlaws in love!"
- (30 days)