Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Donations sought for film on same-sex, binational couples

The people behind a documentary about the plights of binational same-sex couples are seeking just over $4,000 to complete their film.

Entry Denied follows three couples, including two Oakland men, who’ve struggled to stay together. The film’s executive producers are two-time Academy Award winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk).

Under U.S. immigration law, an American citizen can sponsor his or her spouse or qualifying family member for immigration benefits. But because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, that right is denied to gay and lesbian couples. The law means many people in binational relationships have unfortunate options to choose from: staying together in the U.S. and risking the foreign partner’s deportation, leaving the country together, living in separate countries, or splitting up.

Geert Botzen, 51, (at left in photo) and Mel Terry, 64, (at right) who live in Oakland and have been together for 33 years, are one of the three couples featured in the film. They became legally married in California in 2008.

After first being threatened with deportation in 1996, Botzen, who’s originally from the Netherlands, finally received his green card in 2010.

Botzen said that he and Terry started participating in the film when he was still “illegal.”

“We had made the decision not to go underground,” Botzen said. “If anything, we would fight the whole situation.” He said the film offered the perfect opportunity “to fight the policy, not just for ourselves, obviously, but for anyone else who was in a similar situation.”

James Q. Chan, the documentary’s line producer, said the filmmakers need to raise $4,200 by Friday, October 7 in order to finish the movie. The total budget for the film is $120,000. To make a donation, visit the film’s Kickstarter page.

The filmmakers have submitted a rough cut of the documentary to the Sundance Film Festival and hope to show it there in January 2012, Chan said.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 30, 2011 @ 2:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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