What happens when on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion (June 28, 2009), city police and officers from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission raid a newly opened gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas, resulting in multiple arrests and serious injuries?
That is the subject of the upcoming documentary, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, by award winning director, Robert L. Camina.
In the aftermath of the raid, the Fort Worth community weathered a storm of controversy. From officers' allegations of inappropriate touching and groping by patrons at the bar, to remarks made by city officials interpreted as being homophobic, the rhetoric continued to incense the Fort Worth community and the world.
However, while the uproar seemed at first to threaten to tear the city apart, many of those involved, including activists, officials in city government, the police department and TABC, quickly stepped forward to take what started off as a "tragic incident" and turned it into an opportunity to address issues and make improvements that would benefit the GLBT community and the city as a whole. The documentary follows the rollercoaster of a journey, showcasing the good, the bad, the ugly and the controversial.
The film features interviews with eyewitnesses, activists and city leaders including an interview with the Fort Worth Police Chief, Jeffrey Halstead. In May, Chief Halstead, along with the newly appointed Fort Worth Police Department GLBT liaison, Sara Straten, sat down with Mr. Camina for nearly an hour, in an exclusive interview for the film. During the interview, the Chief took the opportunity to explain his side of the story and discuss the impact of the raid from his point of view.
The film also draws on video from heated city council meetings, protests, rallies, marches, town hall meetings, press conferences and more.
The events of June 28, 2009 sparked a historic chain of events in Fort Worth, igniting an unprecedented wave of activism, which turned the tragedy into groundbreaking change.
The teaser trailer for the film, released today, one year after the raid, shares with the audience a recount of the dramatic event that started it all: the Raid of the Rainbow Lounge.
The teaser trailer played a sneak preview at QCinema, Fort Worth's Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in early June. Chief Halstead and his wife were in attendance at the screening.
[The teaser trailer] "had a deep emotional impact for those that were there and experienced the raid itself", says Kyle Trentham, Event Director for QCinema. "Many in the audience were moved to tears and a few had to leave the theater to regain their composure."
The full length film is currently a work in progress, slated for a completion date in late 2010.
Please check out the website
to follow its progress and learn ways to support the film.
You can also follow the progress of the film by joining the group page on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid...
Directed and produced by Robert L. Camina
Featuring (abbreviated list):
Thomas R. Anable, witness
Councilman Joel Burns, Fort Worth City Council District 9
Todd Camp, witness and former journalist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Alison Egert, witness
Raymond Gill, witness and detainee
Jon Nelson, spokesman for the advocacy organization, Fairness Fort Worth
Randy Norman, Rainbow Lounge General Manager
Chuck Potter, witness
Sara Straten, Fort Worth Police Department GLBT liaison
Blake Wilkinson, founder and leader of direct action group, QueerLiberAction
Fort Worth Police Chief, Jeffrey Halstead