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Prop 8 sparks a potential Sundance boycott

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The latest fallout from California’s controversial Proposition 8? A potential boycott of Park City, Utah’s Sundance Film Festival. Earlier this month, activist blogger John Aravosis urged filmmakers to skip the January 2009 fest as a way to hit back at the Utah-based Mormon church, whose members donated an estimated millions in support of the gay-marriage ban. Boycotting the fest would, Aravosis argued, hurt the overall economy of Utah — and therefore the Church. Then, it turned out that Alan Stock, CEO of the national movie theater chain Cinemark, donated $9,999 to Yes on 8. And guess who owns Park City’s Holiday Village, one of Sundance’s biggest screening venues? Yep, Cinemark.

For all the heated chatter it’s generated, the call to arms hasn’t gained much traction with industry players. That’s likely because Sundance has long supported gay cinema, helping launch landmarks like 1991’s Paris Is Burning and 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry. “We understand that people have real emotion around this issue,” says Sundance Institute spokesperson Brooks Addicott. “But we have a long history of championing diversity. So instead of staying away, we hope people come and have conversations.”

Assuming the festival proceeds as planned, the Mormon Church may soon face a new storm anyway. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are developing a stage extravaganza called Mormon Musical, which they hope will someday hit Broadway. Contrary to recent reports stating that the show will hit the Great White Way next year, Mormon Musical

is only in the development stage. “We haven’t even written the whole

thing,” says Stone. “We don’t have any financing, we haven’t sold the

project to anybody. We’ve basically written some songs and some of the

story.” While the show will undoubtedly pack the kind of polemical

punch we’ve come to expect from the pop-culture pranksters, it won’t

mention Proposition 8. “We’ve been working on it for years,” explains

Stone, “so it’s not really current event-y. This comes from wanting to

do a musical about Joseph Smith and Mormons and stuff. Trey and I both

grew up with a lot of Mormons in Colorado — Mormons next door, Mormons

down the street.” Stone expects raising funds in this economy to be

tough. “Our agents and lawyers are like, ‘What the f—? Will you guys

go make a movie and make some money?’ But hopefully,” he says, “it’ll

open and make as much as Cats.”

Assuming the festival proceeds as planned, the Mormon Church may soon face a new storm anyway. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are developing a stage extravaganza called Mormon Musical, which they hope will someday hit Broadway. Contrary to recent reports stating that the show will hit the Great White Way next year, Mormon Musicalis only in the development stage. “We haven’t even written the wholething,” says Stone. “We don’t have any financing, we haven’t sold theproject to anybody. We’ve basically written some songs and some of thestory.” While the show will undoubtedly pack the kind of polemicalpunch we’ve come to expect from the pop-culture pranksters, it won’tmention Proposition 8. “We’ve been working on it for years,” explainsStone, “so it’s not really current event-y. This comes from wanting todo a musical about Joseph Smith and Mormons and stuff. Trey and I bothgrew up with a lot of Mormons in Colorado — Mormons next door, Mormonsdown the street.” Stone expects raising funds in this economy to betough. “Our agents and lawyers are like, ‘What the f—? Will you guysgo make a movie and make some money?’ But hopefully,” he says, “it’llopen and make as much as Cats.”

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