BY Julie Bolcer
January 19 2010 12:00 PM ET
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last Wednesday to block the broadcast of the Proposition 8 trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in San Francisco, filmmakers and longtime friends John Ireland and John Ainsworth hatched a plan to tell the story on the Web in as close to real time as possible.
Based in Los Angeles, with access to a replica courtroom and professional actors, the pair plan to reenact each day’s proceedings based on material from live bloggers and bring the drama to the people via their website, MarriageTrial.com, and YouTube. The first episode is expected to debut on Wednesday.
Ireland and Ainsworth spoke with Advocate.com on Monday about their ambitious project.
Advocate.com: What inspired you to create the Prop. 8 reenactment?
Ainsworth: Everybody was excited that they were going to broadcast it, and after last week’s decision, I, like everybody else, was thrust into this weird area of “Where can I find information?” It was from the live blogs that John Ireland approached me and said we should reenact this and use the material from the live bloggers as a script. John was able to pull together a wonderful location, a replica of a federal district courtroom that is part of the University of Southern California law school, and we secured a legal adviser as well, professor David B. Cruz. Over the weekend, in the matter of three days, we were finished with all the footage of the very first day and moving into postproduction.
What can viewers expect to see in the first episode?
Ireland: We jumped right into the plaintiffs’ story. They tell firsthand why it is important for them to be married. That narrative is then propelled through the rest of the drama by the professionals — the litigators and the academics. There’s quite a drama that unfolds after the plaintiffs arrive, but really it’s about those people’s stories. The drama is in two parts. I see the human drama in episode 1, and then I see the political and legal drama unfolding as the experts debate. Of course, there is a lot of interplay with the judge [Vaughn Walker, chief judge of the U.S. district court]. He’s very fun.
Our goal is not to edit or editorialize or add any commentary to it. The idea is to put this out there as an extension of the historical record. This is a nonpartisan project.