HBO to Show Behind-the-Scenes Documentary on Prop 8 Legal Battle

Prop 8 DOMA
Win McNamee/Getty Images

HBO Documentary Films will air a documentary on the battle to overturn California’s Proposition 8, with exclusive access to Ted Olson and David Boies as they represented two California same-sex couples fighting the state’s ban on gay marriage.

The project’s directors, Ben Cotner and Ryan White, have been shooting footage of the case throughout the long legal battle, and Cotner was present last month when Olson and Boies appeared at a West Hollywood victory rally hours after the Supreme Court ruled that the proponents of Prop 8 didn’t have standing to defend it on appeal. The high court’s decision effectively meant that Prop 8 was overturned, and same-sex  marriages in the state started two days later.

The untitled feature will be completed at the end of this year, HBO said.

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

Cotner and White also had access to the lives of the plaintiffs, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, and Sandy Stier and Kristin Perry.

Olson, the former solicitor general under President George W. Bush, called the legal battle “the most important case I have ever worked on.” He was paired with Boies, an ideological opposite, forming an odd couple of sorts as they fought Prop 8. Boies noted that proponents of the state’s gay marriage ban successfully prevented videotapes of the 2010 federal trial in the case from being released. “But they cannot block this documentary,” he said.

Cotner is the senior VP of acquisitions at Open Road Films, while White’s credits include “Pelada” and “Good Ol’ Ends,” which will be released in September.

 

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