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The Case Against 8 | Directors Benjamin Cotner and Ryan White

The Case Against 8

Attention, our audience’s and our own — it’s a valued commodity these days. We struggle to command our audience’s attention, for them to discover our work and then, once they’ve discovered it, to actually focus on it. Meanwhile, we struggle to focus our own attention, to fight our society’s weapons of mass distraction so we can not just see our work to completion but fully discover the meanings within it. What role does attention play in your work? Can you discuss an instance where you thought about some aspect of attention when it came to your film? 

Keeping our audience’s attention was a frequent conversation in the editing room over the past year. Many documentaries have built-in suspense because the stories aren’t well known to the public yet, so you have the ability to surprise your audience with where the story goes. Our film, however, was about a subject matter that had been extensively covered in the press. Almost every American knows that gay marriage won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, so how do you keep your audience’s attention when the ending is already well-known? We decided to try to do it through pulling back the curtain and showing the audience a side to a trial and Supreme Court battle that they would never normally get to see. Whether that’s intimately following the plaintiffs and their families for five years to show the effects a high-profile lawsuit can have on the people at the center of the storm, or gaining access to the legal strategies and confidential inner-workings that go into Supreme Court cases — we hope we can take our audience along for the journey and make them feel as if they were a part of the ride with our characters for the last five years.

And we tried to keep it funny! Moments of humor and levity go a long way in serious movies about heavy subject matter, so we tried to find lighter moments that could break up the tension.
[PREMIERE SCREENING: January 18 at Noon – Temple Theatre, Park City]

Sundance 2014 Responses

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