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Linda Bloodworth Thomason Directing Marriage-Equality Doc 'Bridegroom'

Linda Bloodworth Thomason - P 2012
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The film, which is being fast-tracked for a fall release, raised a record $384,376 in financing on Kickstarter.

Having set a fund-raising record on Kickstarter, Linda Bloodworth Thomason is moving forward with Bridegroom, an independent documentary about marriage equality that she is producing and directing with hopes of having the finished film in theaters before the November elections.

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Bloodworth Thomason, the creator of Designing Women, turned to crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise financing for the film based on Shane Bitney Crone’s YouTube video, “It Could Happen to You.” In just four weeks, the project received 6,508 pledges, totaling $384,376, a record for a film project on Kickstarter.

In the YouTube video, Crone told of his six-year relationship with Tom Bridegroom. The California couple was planning to marry once same-sex marriage becomes legal in the state, but on May 11, 2011, Bridegroom died after an accidental fall from his rooftop. Bridegroom’s family, which disapproved of his homosexuality, claimed his body and refused to allow Crone to attend the funeral and burial. On the anniversary of Bridegroom’s death, Crone posted a video, telling their story and promoting marriage equality. The video received more than 3 million views after it was promoted by supporters including George Takei, Neil Patrick Harris and Sarah Gilbert.

Bloodworth Thomason, who had once met the couple at a gay wedding in Palm Springs, saw the video and contacted Crone about expanding it into a documentary. “The prejudice and bigotry that Shane and Tom experienced was not unlike what I witnessed in 1986 when my mother died of transfused AIDS,” she explained of her interest in the project.

Crone is producing the film with Bloodworth Thomason, who is interviewing family and friends of the couple and is planning to shoot in their home towns of Kalispell, Mont., and Knox, Ind. “We hope and expect to complete the film by the end of September,” Bloodworth Thomason said. “As the debate about marriage equality becomes more strident, we would like to have Bridegroom out before the election.” 

Watch the original video posted by Crone below: