Stonewall Forever: Docu about Gay Bar and Origins of Gay Rights Movement

Jesse Tyler Ferguson (star of TV’s Modern Family) and his husband Justin Mikita will exec-produce Stonewall Forever, a documentary about the famed institution, marking the 50th anniversary in the fight for gay rights.

 

 

 

 

 

They join producer-director Jeffrey Schwarz, who had previously made Tab Hunter Confidential, and exec producer Craig Gartner on the project.

The feature will take advantage of New York City’s Gay Pride festivities that are connected to the famed Stonewall Inn and the June 1969 riots, which kicked off the gay rights movement.

“So much of where the community is today is because of wheels set in motion 50 years ago, and yet in the day of dying retail and Grindr, it is getting harder and harder to keep queer spaces open,” Ferguson told the Hollywood Reporter.

“We decided that we wanted to create a documentary for the younger generation, which tells the importance of queer spaces for gathering both then and now, and why we have to work to preserve these spaces. We hope that it will not only educate and enlighten but also inspire. We always need new leaders and who better to learn from that those who came before us.”

Stonewall was a gay bar in New York City in an era where dancing and public displays of affection with someone of the same sex got a person arrested.

When the cops raided the bar on June 28, 1969, the patrons resisted. The riots lasted for several nights, and a gay resistance was born.

The documentary aims to use the events of those nights, and its upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, as a jumping-off point to tell the history of gay activism, the triumphs and tragedy in the ensuing decades.

Harvey Milk, AIDS, hate crimes, marriage equality and the fight for transgender rights will be touched upon, with interviews with notable activists, artists and influencers from Stonewall, gay liberation and the generations that followed.

The filmmakers plans to use archival footage and photos, activist videos and home movies, innovative animation, motion graphics and original music.

“Every time there is a major event in the community, people go to the Stonewall to celebrate,” says Schwarz. “It’s s place to gather, to celebrate, to mourn, to protest and to party.”

“We are going to be on the frontlines at this year’s NYC gay pride which also happens to be World Pride and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall,” says Ferguson, who is actively involved in gay rights with his charity, Tie the Knot, while Mikita is participating in charity affair AIDS/LifeCycle. “Our main focus is to fully take advantage of documenting that once in a lifetime event.”

It is an event Schwarz says can’t be taken for granted: “The movement has always been about moments of triumph and backlash. Every time there is progress, it’s followed by pushback. We’re in that moment again. A lot of the progress is being undone. That makes this story even more relevant and urgent to tell.”

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