THEATER CHAIN SAYS
NO TO LATTER DAYS
Gay Mormon Films Theatrical Date Cancelled in Salt Lake City
After Receiving Threats from Local Community
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 Releasings
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 Coxs amazing ability to tell a story about a mans
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.
Murrays 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 Theaters
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 religions
efforts to punish him, the theatre chains refusal to play this
film after booking the film in Salt Lake City is another example of
the right wings 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 films opening date in Salt Lake City.
The company was being threatened with boycotts, protests, and membership
cancellations from religious groups.
TLA Releasing reached Madstones 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 companys 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
also read a statement from C. Jay Cox, the films 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 Theaters 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
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 todays
- Ray Murray, President
of TLA Releasing and its parent company, TLA Entertainment Group;
- Stephen Macias,
Entertainment Media Director of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
- Stephen Gutwillig,
Executive Director of Outfest;
- Michael Mitchell,
Executive Director of Equality Utah (the states lesbian, gay,
bisexual, & transgender political advocacy group);
- Ellen Huang,
Executive Director of The Queer Lounge.
Visit the films
official website, www.latterdaysmovie.com and participate in the discussion
board. For more information about TLA Releasing, visit www.tlareleasing.com.