..Gary Dretzka
..Leonard Klady
..David Poland
..Doug Pratt
..Ray Pride


January 20, 2004

NATIONAL THEATER CHAIN SAYS
“NO” TO LATTER DAYS

Gay Mormon Film’s Theatrical Date Cancelled in Salt Lake City
After Receiving Threats from Local Community

 

(Park City, UT ­ January 19, 2004) After reportedly receiving threats of intimidation from conservative religious groups, Madstone Theaters has cancelled its upcoming Salt Lake City engagement of TLA Releasing’s newest film, LATTER DAYS, which tells the story of a young closeted Mormon who falls in love with another man while serving his missionary assignment in Los Angeles.

“We are extremely upset that LATTER DAYS currently has no venue to premiere in Salt Lake City,” says Raymond Murray, President of TLA Releasing. “We picked up the film through our partnership with production company Funny Boy Films, because of writer-director C. Jay Cox’s amazing ability to tell a story about a man’s struggle in dealing with his sexuality and faith, a subject many gays and lesbians can certainly relate to. Very rarely is a story like this presented in such an entertaining, romantic, funny and poignant manner.”

Murray’s views were also shared by representatives from gay/lesbian film and civil rights organizations, who reacted angrily to the cancellation at a press conference held today at The Queer Lounge during the Festivals in Park City (UT). The participants agreed that Madstone Theater’s decision may be based on the current climate of hostility towards gay and lesbian issues in the United States.

“The recent actions of Madstone Theatres are reflective of the current climate of intolerance that the gay and lesbian community is encountering,” points outs Stephen Macias, Entertainment Media Director of The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “In the specific case of LATTER DAYS, where a character is dealing with his sexuality and faith and the end result is an organized religion’s efforts to punish him, the theatre chain’s refusal to play this film after booking the film in Salt Lake City is another example of the right wing’s efforts to censor our gay and lesbian stories.”

LATTER DAYS, the directorial debut of C. Jay Cox (writer of SWEET HOME ALABAMA), has been scheduled to open simultaneously in New York, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City on Friday, January 30. TLA Releasing received a phone call from an inside source at Madstone Theaters, saying that they were canceling the film’s opening date in Salt Lake City. The company was being threatened with boycotts, protests, and membership cancellations from religious groups.

TLA Releasing reached Madstone’s president, Thomas Gruenberg, by phone, who confirmed the threats but denied that they were the cause of the cancellation. Gruenberg claimed that LATTER DAYS failed to meet the company’s standards of “artistic quality and integrity,” and that the film failed to tell a story that was sufficiently “compelling” or “gripping.” When asked if the decision was going to mean the cancellation of potential screenings of LATTER DAYS at Madstone Theaters across the country, Gruenberg stated that this decision was just for Salt Lake City. The film has received six Audience Awards from several high-profile gay & lesbian film festivals, including Los Angeles’ Outfest and the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Raymond Murray also read a statement from C. Jay Cox, the film’s writer-director, who was in Palm Springs (CA) where LATTER DAYS had received a standing ovation from a sold-out audience at the Palm Springs International Film Festival the evening before Madstone Theater’s revelation.

“I find it quite sad that any conservative group would attempt to take such a choice away from the people of Salt Lake City,” expressed Cox. “I truly hope that we will be allowed to screen this movie and give people the opportunity to discuss the issues it raises and to judge its ‘artistic quality and integrity’ for themselves.”


C. Jay Cox is confirmed to attend a panel in Park City (UT), January 22, 2004 at The Queer Lounge, titled the “Mainstreaming of Queer Cinema,” hosted by writer Dennis Hensley (Screening Party) and featuring Stephen Farber of Movieline magazine.


Participants in today’s event were:

  • Ray Murray, President of TLA Releasing and its parent company, TLA Entertainment Group;
  • Stephen Macias, Entertainment Media Director of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD);
  • Stephen Gutwillig, Executive Director of Outfest;
  • Michael Mitchell, Executive Director of Equality Utah (the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender political advocacy group);
  • Ellen Huang, Executive Director of The Queer Lounge.

 

Visit the film’s official website, www.latterdaysmovie.com and participate in the discussion board. For more information about TLA Releasing, visit www.tlareleasing.com.

 


 

 
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