The Advocate's 18 Favorite Films at Outfest 2013
BY Daniel Reynolds Sunnivie Brydum and Diane Anderson-Minshall
July 11 2013 4:00 AM ET
Saturday, July 13, 1:30 p.m. at DGA 1
In 2011, Tom Bridegroom, 29, accidentally fell off a roof in Los Angeles and died. His untimely death sparked a chain of events that led his partner of more than five years, Shane Bitney Crone, to create a YouTube video that chronicled the legal and social barriers that prevented him from attending the funeral of the man he loved. The video, titled “This could happen to you,” went viral, and its success inspired Crone to produce Bridegroom, a documentary that further explores the couple’s story.
While the 10-minute YouTube video sketches out the timeline of events through title cards — Tom’s death, his family’s threats of violence against Shane, and the hospital’s refusal to release information — the 80-minute documentary offers an in-depth portrait and expansion of the video that has gained nearly 4 million views to date. The film includes interviews with friends and family, and video footage of Tom and Shane’s life, courtship, and love. Even the voice of Tom, a talented singer in his lifetime, appears as part of the soundtrack of the documentary. Though Shane was banned from Tom’s funeral, in Bridegroom, he has given his partner a touching memorial. For many, it will also offer a compelling case for the necessity of marriage equality.
“Anyone watching this documentary could wish they had the love that Tom and Shane had,” says Josh, a friend of the couple featured in the documentary. “That’s what you dream about at night. And they had it.”