By Drew Waller, Michigan Theater

This year, the Cinetopia International Film Festival in Ann Arbor, Mich., a winner of the 2013 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit, premiered the important documentary “The Case Against 8.” We took advantage of this opportunity to bring in filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, who wrote the stage play “8” that inspired the film, to talk about the work.

It was a first for us, and our presentation followed a series of significant moments for the work, which draws on the ongoing court battle over gay marriage in the United States and the two couples who bravely took on the weight of case, representing the interests of the many across the country who would be affected by the final decision.

In 2011, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan brought “8” to Ann Arbor. It was the first time the production was performed in the Midwest, following its sold-out, celebrity-packed, bicoastal premieres. Understandably, the one-off, live read was a sellout and set the tone for dozens of similar productions that would subsequently take place in major metropolitan areas and rural communities to help give a face to what was happening in our nation’s court system.

It was this parallel we had in mind when we invited Dustin Lance Black to our festival. This connection gave Cinetopia the ability to not only showcase an important, topical film to its patrons first before screening nationally, but also gave the festival its first Academy Award winner in only its third year who could connect with attendees.

In the accompanying interview, Dustin Lance Black discusses attending Cinetopia and what the film means to him. We applaud him for helping bring this film and its powerful message to the area for the Cinetopia International Film Festival in 2014.
Originally posted on Knight Foundation blog