FREEDOM TO MARRY
SF Chronicle Pink Section, Sunday, June 13, 2004:
By Carla Meyer, SF Chronicle Film Critic
Filmmakers Carmen Goodyear and Laurie York had a broader agenda in making FREEDOM TO MARRY, the 57 minute documentary anchoring the shorts program at the Castro Theatre. Getting hitched themselves was only a minor part of
The couple incorporated footage of the City Hall weddings into a documentary they had been working on since September. Their film combines the giddiness of San Francisco newlyweds with profiles of same-sex couples seeking legal sanction such as pension and property inheritance rights. York and Goodyear's experiences as wedding videographers inspired them to make their documentary.
"We shot two couples over two weekends, one was a straight couple that had not known each other very long, and one was a lesbian couple that had been together for 20 years," York said by telephone from the couple's home in rural Albion, near Mendocino. "Then we started getting riled about it -- that it was so unfair that one was called a 'wedding' the other a 'commitment ceremony'."
News of the City Hall weddings brought them to San Francisco -- and a
five-hour wait in line. The wait turned out to be good for their movie,
however. Two San Francisco couples they met in line, Karla Kyria and Diana
Berry and Don Williams and David Jones, agreed to have their nuptials
Plein-air artists, Goodyear and York took up filmmaking several years as
something to do together. Their oeuvre has matured from "Punkie's Puppies" about a litter on the farm, to award-winning social documentaries such as "Parallel Lives" and "American Senior".
"People who live anywhere can make films because of digital video," York said. The couple edit their projects on an iMac at home.
York and Goodyear are glad to have recorded a momentous period in lesbian and gay history, no matter how short-lived it might turn out to be.
"We made a conscious decision not to show the struggles in the courts in our film FREEDOM TO MARRY, because that's ever-changing and could go on for a few years," Goodyear said. After FREEDOM TO MARRY plays FRAMELINE 28, the couple will shop it to schools as an educational tool.
~Carla Meyer, SF Chronicle Film Critic