SLO FILM FESTIVAL: APRIL 25-30 2024 ENCORE MAY 1-5

PURSUIT OF EQUALITY (2005)

By issuing marriage licenses to same gender couples, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom uproots the status quo and attempts to change the way the nation looks at life, love, and marriage. Winner of the SLO Film Fest Audience Award for Best Documentary Award in 2006.

NOT AVAILABLE DURING THE VIRTUAL ENCORE FESTIVAL.

A NOTE FROM WENDY EIDSON, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (2006-2021):

Skye asked me to suggest a film that was pivotal in my career and this documentary jumped out in my mind as just that. I was the Artistic Director my first year with the festival and was hired in late October 2005 to produce an exciting festival program for March 2006. 

To say the learning curve was steep is an understatement…it was more like a straight vertical line. We had some excellent submissions to choose from that year (nowhere near as many as the festival gets now however) so I focused on watching every one of them while also trying to figure out how to license special event movies from major studios. There was no manual. 

At one point, I was told by some sage Festival volunteers that it would be best if I avoided programming any films that dealt with sex, religion or politics. I was stymied. What was left? I wanted to ignore that advice but I was new in the job and feeling unsure about what was expected and what people would want to see. But I had to follow my instincts and hope for the best.

We ended up with a surprisingly good line up for the 2006 Festival and I was not expecting any last minute additions, but we got a call from a young director named Geoff Callan who had just finished a new controversial documentary that had just premiered in San Francisco. The film focuses on the compelling human rights struggles surrounding same-sex marriage, illegal in the state at the time. Callan managed to get a “fly on the wall” look at Mayor Gavin Newsom as he uprooted the status quo in 2004 and brazenly issued same-sex marriage licenses, igniting an equal rights battle that continues to this day.

Callan wanted to know if we’d like to do one of the first public screenings ever, and although he was initially told we weren’t interested by a Festival rep who took his call, he persisted. Fortunately I heard about it and had a chance to not only see the film, but add it to our lineup at the last minute.

It went on to win our Audience Award for Best Documentary that year. Not only were our audiences receptive and deeply moved by this powerful and important film, but I learned that I could trust my instincts and that perhaps films that touched on sex, religion AND politics were just the ticket to put “butts in seats” in San Luis Obispo after all.

Wendy Eidson, Former Artistic & Festival Director (2006-2021)

SHOWTIMES

In-Person


10:00 AM — Palm Theatre

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PREMIERE STATUS: Re-Mastered Film

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DIRECTOR(S):Geoff Callan, Mike Shaw
PRODUCER(S):Geoff Callan
SCREENWRITER(S):Geoff Callan, Mike Shaw
CAST:Gavin Newsom, George Bush, Rosie O”Donnell
RUN TIME: 85 Minutes

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