Seattle filmmaker brings film on marriages, gay and straight, to Everett festival
Seattle filmmaker Drew Emery has traveled the country showing his documentary "Inlaws & Outlaws."
"We're almost at our 500th community screening," Emery said Tuesday. "It's been shown in churches and schools all over the country, and all over Washington state.
"It's people telling their stories," he said.
Emery will be in Everett on Sunday to introduce and discuss his award-winning movie at the Sno-GLOBE Equality Alliance 2012 Winter Film Festival.
The event beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Everett PUD Auditorium is a first for Snohomish County. It's a festival showcasing films telling stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
The festival also happens to be timely.
On Monday, state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, made big news with her announcement that she would support a measure legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Her vote would be the 25th in the Senate, the number needed to pass the bill which already has the backing of Gov. Chris Gregoire and a majority in the state House.
"On one hand, things have happened very quickly, it seems on the surface," said Emery, 49, whose film premiered in 2005 at the Seattle International Film Festival. "Yet many of us grew up thinking it would never happen. As a political issue, it seems impossible. But this is not a political issue as much as a personal issue."
Emery said the gay marriage issue has evolved as people share their stories and families discover that loved ones are gay.
Jane Abbott Lighty, pictured on the front page of The Herald on Tuesday, was in Olympia with her partner of 35 years, Pete-e Petersen, when it appeared Monday that the gay marriage bill was headed for approval.
Lighty and Petersen also are featured in "Inlaws & Outlaws," Emery said. "I got to be at their wedding. They had a church wedding at Seattle First Baptist Church," he said.
Brenda Newell is active in Sno-GLOBE, the group putting on the film festival. Proceeds from the event will support Sno-GLOBE programs. The organization's aim is to create a just and unified community by promoting safety, acceptance and support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning adults and young people.
She has worked with youth involved in GLOBE, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth empowerment group in Snohomish County. A short film at the festival will feature the voices of those young people. "It's their own stories of coming out," Newell said.
A social worker with the Snohomish Health District, Newell has also been involved in diversity workshops presented by the city of Everett.
"We're trying to reach out," she said Monday. "We're really excited about the festival. It's the first I'm aware of in Snohomish County. It's family friendly. The films are all great," she said.
Even as the gay marriage issue makes news and some couples proudly share their stories, Newell sees young people struggling with fear and secrecy.
Lori Hartelius, who is also involved in Sno-GLOBE and the festival, sees a dichotomy in the struggle for gay rights. "It's almost normalized, but it's also polarized," she said.
Emery, whose "Inlaws & Outlaws" was chosen Best Local Film at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, sees the issue through a lens as old as humanity.
At the start of his film, the viewer doesn't know who is paired with whom, or which characters are gay or straight.
"To hear these stories, as a filmmaker it changed my life," Emery said. "It's kind of the way life should be. Allow people to be people first.
"Relationships are going to happen, whether you approve or not," he said. "Does anybody have anything to gain by discriminating?"
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
Sno-GLOBE Equality Alliance will host the 2012 Winter Film Festival: An Afternoon of Inspiring LGBTQ Stories is Sunday at the Everett PUD Auditorium, 2320 California St.
The festival opens at 1 p.m. with a social hour. The documentary "Inlaws & Outlaws" will be shown at 2 p.m., with an introduction and discussion by filmmaker Drew Emery.
It will be followed by "2011 Web Cam Confessions," a short film made by Snohomish County young people in the GLOBE group.
"Out in America," shown on PBS in 2011, will be shown at 4:45 p.m. Showtimes may vary slightly. Tickets are $10 online at www. brownpapertickets.com or at the door.
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