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USU filmmaker alum brings same-sex Prop 8 documentary to campus

October 13th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

LOGAN—Amid national media attention over the LDS Church position on same-sex marriage, a Utah State University alumnus returns to campus next week for a screening and discussion of his award-winning 2010 Sundance documentary, 8: The Mormon Proposition, which examines California’s Proposition 8 outlawing same-sex marriage, the involvement of the LDS Church in that campaign, and larger issues of being gay in Utah.

Utah native Reed Cowan, a 1997 USU journalism graduate and veteran TV newsman, started out to make a movie about homeless gay teens in Utah, but the 2008 Prop 8 campaign expanded the scope of his project.

8: The Mormon Proposition examines the challenges of being gay and lesbian in Utah, and the role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in passage of California’s vote to rescind a state law permitting gay marriage.

The film will be shown Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Eccles Conference Center Auditorium at USU, followed by a Q&A discussion. The event is free and the public is invited.

The screening comes amidst widespread debate both criticizing and supporting recent remarks by Boyd K. Packer, the No. 2 ranking leader of the LDS Church, who condemned gays and lesbians in an Oct. 3 speech.

Cowan, who worked as a TV journalist in Salt Lake City for many years, said it is an important time to come home to Utah to participate in the ongoing discussion.

“I’m humbled to be a part of such an important conversation, especially in the shadow of Boyd K. Packer’s recent comments,” Cowan said Tuesday. “His words, and the major protests all over the state of Utah and beyond in reaction, show this is a subject not only deserving of attention, but demanding of it.”

Cowan and his fellow filmmakers experienced first-hand what it was like to grow up gay in Utah in the Mormon faith. The film follows gay couples through the Prop 8 campaign, and documents the LDS Church’s involvement.

“8:TMP follows the stories of many LGBT citizens seeking marriage equality and never-before revealed Mormon efforts to stop them,” says the film’s website.

The USU screening and discussion are part of the Department of Journalism & Communication’s Morris Media & Society Lecture Series, which is dedicated to bringing media professionals to campus to prompt discussion of current issues in the mass media and in society.

This event is co-sponsored by nine other departments and units at USU: the Office of Student Services; the Center for Women & Gender; the College of Humanities & Social Sciences; the USU Access & Diversity Center; the GLBT Association; the Honors Program; and the departments of History, Political Science, and Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology.

“We are very pleased to welcome Reed Cowan back to his alma mater to help us make sense of these difficult issues,” said JCOM department head Ted Pease. “Clearly these are issues that people on all sides of the conversation struggle with, and we’re grateful to Reed to help us make this a teachable moment at Utah State.”

Next in the Morris Media & Society Lecture Series:

Nov. 4: Anne Garrells, National Public Radio’s war correspondent, brings her eye-witness accounts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and more to USU with “Bearing Witness—One journalist’s take on covering the world.” USU Performance Hall, 2-3:30 p.m.

For more information, contact the USU Department of Journalism & Communication at 435-797-3293, or email Ted Pease at ted.pease@usu.edu.

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  1. One Response to “USU filmmaker alum brings same-sex Prop 8 documentary to campus”

  2. By In ogden on Oct 20, 2010

    Will this be recorded? I can’t make it but I sure would like to listen.

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