OUT IN THE SILENCE
Spend an inspirational St. Patrick's Day evening with filmmakers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer/
In partnership with SC Equality Coalition &
Screening at the Fox Theatre, 1607 Main Street in downtown Columbia/
March 13 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m./
Cash bar available/
A documentary by Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer
Supported by the Sundance Institute/
57 minutes, 2009/
A gray winter sky hangs over lonely city streets, rotted oil derricks, and abandoned factories. This is Oil City, Pennsylvania, a fading industrial town in the heart of the American rustbelt. It is the sort of town that Barack Obama had in mind when he made his infamous comments about bitter small town residents clinging to their guns and religion as they watch the rest of the world pass them by.
The peace and quiet is shattered when the filmmaker, Oil City native Joe Wilson, places the announcement of his wedding to another man in the local paper. The announcement catches the eye of Kathy Springer, a local woman whose teenage son, CJ, is being brutally tormented at school because he is gay. Ignored by the school authorities and with no where else to turn, she seeks help from Wilson and they begin a difficult but ultimately successful struggle to take on the school authorities who made every day eight hours of pure hell for CJ.
The announcement has a very different effect on Diane Gramley, head of the local chapter of the ultra-conservative American Family Association. Infuriated by the prospect of the homosexual agenda invading her little town, she issues an action alert calling on townspeople to denounce same sex marriage and all other forms of perversion.
Over the next four years Wilson navigates the ins and outs of being different in a conservative small town. He makes an unexpected friendship with an evangelical pastor that demonstrates the understanding that can
develop when people on different sides of an issue lay down their swords and get to know one another. And he helps a lesbian couple renovate an historic downtown theatre that could catalyze the towns economic revitalization if the community will accept them.
The greatest change occurs in Wilson himself as he realizes that while maverick acts such as the publication of his wedding announcement can create a splash, creating lasting change in small towns takes the courage and ongoing commitment of local folks to speak out and live openly.
A unique element of the film is the inclusion of footage shot by CJ, the tormented gay teen, which provides a painful glimpse into his very private suffering as well as needed comic relief from the antics he and his friends devise to entertain themselves in a quiet little town. This verite footage is juxtaposed with images of beautiful pastoral scenes and abandoned factories, old family pictures and home movies, and the hauntingly raw music of transgender singer/songwriter Namoli Brennet to create a dynamic and compelling audio visual landscape of a small town as it struggles with its own identity.
1607 Main Street
Downtown Columbia, SC 29201
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|