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HBO Sets Prop 8 Documentary

Directors Ben Cotner and Ryan White have followed the legal team led by Ted Olson and David Boies as well as the four plaintiffs in the case for the past five years.

Ted Olson NBC Meet the Press - P 2012
Alex Wong/Newsmakers
Ted Olson

HBO is turning its documentary lens on same-sex marriage.

The premium cable network said Tuesday that it has begun production on a telefilm focusing on the landmark Supreme Court case that overturned Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage.

Over the past five years, directors Ben Cotner and Ryan White have had exclusive access to the legal team led by conservative Ted Olson and liberal David Boies as well as the lives of the four plaintiffs in the case.

The untitled feature will be completed by year's end for a 2014 debut.

STORY: Supreme Court Hands Same-Sex Couples a Victory

"The story of the battle to overturn Prop 8 is the story of a modern-day American revolution,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said. “HBO is proud to present what is intended to be the film of record on this landmark case.”

The lawsuit against Prop 8 was backed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights on behalf of couples Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Jeffrey Zarillo and Paul Katami. The documentary will tell the story of the people behind the case and their respective journeys to secure marriage equality in California -- and for all Americans.

The Supreme Court invalidated Prop 8 on June 26, handing a major victory to same-sex couples in California. A majority of justices ruled that the petitioner in the case lacked standing and invalidated the anti-gay marriage legislation, clearing the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the state.

“I’ve always said that the best evidence in this case is to hear our clients tell their stories," Olson said. "Paul, Jeff, Kris and Sandy have been brave enough to share their lives with the courts and now with the world. As Ben and Ryan tell this incredible story -- that for me was the most important case I’ve ever worked on -- people will inevitably be moved by getting to know these amazing individuals.”

STORY: Hollywood Plays Key Role in Restoring Same-Sex Marriage to California

Cotner is senior vp acquisitions at Open Road Films; White's credits include features Pelada and Good Ol' Freda, which will bow in September.

Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment and Victoria Cook of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz negotiated the deal with HBO.          

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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