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Filmmaker: Prop 8 movie's distribution rights sold

   |  Posted Feb 11th, 2010 @ 3:32pm


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A film distribution company has bought the rights to a documentary about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' role in a California ballot initiative to ban gay marriage.

Filmmaker Reed Cowan says "8: The Mormon Proposition" will hit theaters this spring and a DVD will follow. Cowan says he sold the film's North American distribution rights to Red Flag Releasing.

Cowan declined to disclose the financial details of the deal. He said he's also in talks with others for an international distribution deal.

The 80-minute movie had its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City last month. It contends that the Salt Lake City-based Church was the driving force behind Proposition 8. The initiative reversed a court decision that legalized gay marriage.

"I'm pretty excited," said Cowan, a former Mormon who is gay. "Now the film does truly go on to be seen all over the United States and people can decide for themselves."

Church officials have denounced the film as inaccurate and biased. But at the time of the Jan. 24 premiere, they said they hadn't seen the movie.

On Thursday, church spokeswoman Kim Farah declined to comment on the film's distribution deal.

Cowan said he'd like to know which parts of the film are wrong. He also wants an opportunity to interview church officials and add their comments to the movie. Church officials declined requests for interviews during the making of the film.

"I would hold a screening at church headquarters for them," Cowan said in telephone interview from his home in the Miami-area. "I would love to know line by line what's inaccurate."

In 2008, church leaders urged members to give their time and money to support Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote. Church members were among the campaign's most vigorous volunteers and by some estimates contributed tens of millions to the effort.

After the vote, many gay rights advocates turned their anger toward the church in protests and marches outside LDS temples -- efforts chronicled in Cowan's film.

California's Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the vote, but the gay marriage ban is now the subject of a federal lawsuit.

Like many faiths, Latter-day Saints believe traditional marriage is an institution established by God. The church has consistently fought gay marriage legislation across the U.S. since the 1990s.

The church, however, does not object to civil unions or other limited rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as long as those rights don't infringe on religious liberties.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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