About a year and a half ago I saw a video online. Nothing about that statement is strange, the internet pretty much exists for cute animal videos and clips of people walking into walls while texting right? Obviously I am over simplifying here, but in this day and age we are inundated with video clips other people think we “must” watch from facebook, twitter, e-mail forwards, you name it, that they tend to hold our interest for however many seconds we watch the video and then we’re on to the next thing that grabs our attention. This was different. This particular video was called “It could happen to you” and it really packed a punch. We’re talking ugly sobbing, runny nose, staying in your thoughts days later… No matter who you are or how you live your life I think everyone can relate to the love and loss and sadness and devastation, the raw human emotions playing out in this video.
If you haven’t seen it go ahead and watch it now, this post will be here when you’re done.
Pretty powerful huh? I still get choked up, even now. I don’t know any of the people involved in this story, I have never had anything remotely similar happen to me or anyone I know, but there is something about this story that breaks through right to the center of my heart.
Have you heard of Kickstarter? In a nutshell: it is a website that allows people to post ideas and plans for projects (of all sorts) they don’t have the funding for, and other people online can pledge money towards that project. It’s not a donation exactly, you get “rewards” at various levels for your contribution, but it’s different than say, buying a t-shirt after seeing your favorite band in concert. That concert would have happened whether you bought the t-shirt or not. I’m over simplifying here, but that will give you an idea of what Kickstarter is all about if you’ve never used it. I think it’s one of the best examples of how the internet can really connect us all no matter where we are. But I’m getting off topic…
The video had truly gone ‘viral’ and people who had long, legitimate Hollywood resumes wanted to take this story and turn it into a feature length documentary. A Kickstarter campaign was started. I remember bookmarking the link, and going back every day to see what the new amount raised was. If you know me in real life you know I don’t exactly have disposable income, but this project felt too important, too necessary, not to contribute. A little over 6,500 people felt the same way I did. It became the highest funded Kickstarter project in the history of the website.
The people who were making the movie were great about sending updates and keeping us “backers” informed on what was happening, but it felt like forever. When the film was completed it was shown on the festival circuit and won all kinds of awards. It even had a small theatrical release, and was shown on OWN on TV. Finally a DVD of the film showed up in my mailbox, my “reward” for my Kickstarter contribution. It was a year and a half later but I was as excited to see this story told as I had been when I made the contribution, and after waiting so long and finally watching it I can tell you the story did not get any less powerful in that time.
I tend to ignore the “Reviews and Recommendations” part of this blog more than the other categories, and that’s okay with me. I don’t want to recommend anything I don’t absolutely love so I’m not going to review every movie I enjoy or every band I like. If I take the time to blog about something though, you know it really means something to me. I can’t recommend this documentary enough. If you’re like me and cry at everything sentimental, grab the tissues. But it’s not strictly a sad story. Tragic yes, but something beautiful happens too. Shane’s brutal honesty is both noteworthy and commendable; watching him talk about the person he was while looking at the person he is now inspires me to want to become a better version of myself and do more to touch other people’s lives. I think that is probably true for a lot of people who watch Bridegroom. I hope it is. I hope this story changes minds and hearts on the issues of equality and gay marriage, but even for those of us who think this is a “duh, of course, no-brainer” there is always more we can do. Pre-social media and pre-internet no one other than those directly involved would have known Tom & Shane’s story. And so it seems the internet is good for more than cute animal videos after all…
Bridegroom is available on DVD and Netflix streaming. Amazon streaming and other streaming media services will also have it available.
When you watch Bridegroom stick around for the credits, my name is in there!