In a “real life Romeo and Juliet” tale of love and tragedy comes “BRIDEGROOM,” depicting the emotional journey of Shane Crone and Tom Bridegroom—committed partners in business and in love. This weekend, on October 27, the darkly inspirational documentary from producer Shane Bitney Crone and writer/director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason will have its worldwide Netflix debut.
In “BRIDEGROOM,” viewers will witness Crone and Bridegroom’s journey up to the point where Tom Bridegroom passes away after a tragic accident that involves him falling off a roof during a photo shoot. After Bridegroom’s death, due to lack of legal rights and protections, the Indiana native’s family immediately alienate Crone, erasing his place in Bridegroom’s life to ensure that, in their world, the relationship never existed.
“I know I’ve said it a million times, but my life without you…it just feels meaningless,” Crone managed to speak between sobs during a 10-minute video that expressed the importance of equal rights. Because, “it could happen to you.”
“After grieving for a year, almost silently, I decided to make a video to deal with my pain, to honor Tom, and to bring awareness about the discrimination I had encountered,” Crone told 429Magazine. “I wanted people to see how innocent our love was, and how terrible it is to deny people that love, and the rights that should come along with it.”
Crone, who produced the documentary, admitted that he was embarrassed and terrified about broadcasting the video, which later caught the eye of writer/director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.
“My partner Tom and I attended a wedding years ago,” Crone said, as he recalled the introduction between him and the director. “Seated at our table was writer/director and creator of ‘Designing Women,’ Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. She and her husband were very friendly, and the four of us spent the evening laughing and talking about the future, particularly Tom’s and my dreams of one day getting married.”
Bloodworth-Thomason, who was so moved by Crone’s heart-wrenching YouTube video, convinced him that it was a story that needed to be told because it—specifically, film—held the power to create, change, and reach people in unimaginable ways.
“The actual results exceeded all of my expectations. I think it resonated with people, gay and straight, because for one of the first times in my life, I was being completely honest and vulnerable,” Crone told 429Magazine about the finished film. “Tom had always encouraged me to speak my mind, and ironically, in his absence, I’ve learned to do so. I now see the world very differently, without fear and shame. I’m more positive, stronger, and more motivated to fight for my rights and the rights of others, in a world that does not always want to care about minorities.”
According to Crone, the film “is not about revenge or politics” although it makes no effort to sugarcoat how discriminatory and cold his partner’s family treated him, following Bridegroom’s death. More so, the film is one about love, forgiveness, and about finding the courage to be who you are when the world says you shouldn’t.
“This is my fairy tale, and Tom is—and always will be—my happy ending.”
Already, the film has won the Audience Awards for Best Documentary at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, the 2013 Toronto Inside Out Festival, the 2013 Little Rock Film Festival and Outstanding Documentary Feature at the 2013 Outfest in LA.
In addition to being available on Netflix, “BRIDEGROOM” will premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network and hits iTunes and Amazon on November 19.