In 2005, Caroline and Laurie Hart met. One lived in the US and one in the UK. Love and the desire to be together forever quickly followed. Simple and lovely. Right? Well, not so as the US government threw up every blockade to letting them be together. Hart 2 Hart Productions felt that this story must be told. As first time filmmakers, these two brave writers of STATUS UNKNOWN have set forth to educate us all. Laurie found me through More Than Friends Film Funding, Inc. From that moment on I have watched this film unfold into a beautiful tribute to the power of love and determination.
JC: There have been many news stories that report the many difficulties gay couples have in being recognized and afforded their rights. What makes your story so unique?
LH: First it would have to be, having a first date at an International Airport is a great conversion in itself! In 2005 I met Caroline on an online lesbian dating site; after months of endless calls she traveled 3,500 miles from the UK to Boston’s Logan International Airport but little did we know this would be the same place that would cause us so much heartache.
In 2006 Caroline and I married in Massachusetts, the first state to recognize same sex marriages but that meant nothing to the federal government with DOMA (The Defense Of Marriage Act) standing in the way. As a American Citizen I was denied my civil rights, if I would have married a man from the UK my marriage would have been recognized and I would have been able to sponsor him for a green card. I didn’t want any special treatment just to be EQUAL.
Unable to obtain a green card only meant more problems both emotionally and financially. We continued to travel between countries because of Caroline’s visitor visa restrictions. After being questioned many times by border protection, Caroline was warned that the next time she tries to enter the country she would be denied entry because she was spending too much time in the USA.
After seeking legal advice we decided we needed to tell our story to anyone who would listen and social media was our biggest fan. We started media frenzy after the first article that Glad Law had featured; we were receiving messages of support on Twitter from celebrities Martina Navratilova, Jason Alexander, Elizabeth Vargas, Gloria Estefan a message of support from Sharon Stone and people from all around the world! It was very humbling to receive so much LOVE and SUPPORT from people we didn’t even know. The support only made us stronger and we knew that we not only had to fight for us and our marriage BUT for everyone facing discrimination.
Oh and did I mention that STATUS UNKNOWN has an original song? Yes! British singer-songwriter Julia Fordham who actually was a school friend of Caroline’s on Hayling Island back in the UK wrote an original song GOT YOUR BACK and it’s just brilliant!
JC: What have been the challenges you’ve faced in becoming first time filmmakers? Did you write the script together?
LH: One of our biggest challenges is finance. As new comers to the industry no one knows who we are as writers and many hesitant to invest. Yes, Caroline and I have co-written STATUS UNKNOWN. We thought what better way to get known in the industry but with our own story. Think about it…. Two lesbians, two countries, fighting for LOVE against federal government, all the people that had our backs and in the end proves that LOVE WINS!
Another big challenge for us was location. Who writes their first short with an International Airport as the location? We did! But it came with a hefty license fee, a two million dollar liability insurance fee and restrictions. Could we have chosen a location and make it look like an airport, maybe but Caroline and I knew it could only be Logan Airport, it’s the place where we
first met and the place that made out life for the past ten years a living hell. STATUS UNKNOWN was written to inspire, no matter what you’re going through NEVER give up!
JC: Cate Carson directed and starred in STATUS UNKOWN. Tell us about what she brought to your film?
LH: Cate Carson is a force to be reckoned with and has a bright future ahead of her. As women directors in Hollywood are few and far between Cate’s work ethic and talent will prove that she is more than worthy for great success in what they call a man’s world. Cate actually portrays me in the film and I could not have asked for anyone better. Her conviction in the final scene brought me to tears; her ability to feel the depth of the script and bring our story to life is something I will hold in my heart forever.
JC: If you could magically have the film ready for the entire world to see, where would you like to premiere it?
Of course, all of the film festivals including the Boston LGBT Film Festival, London, San Francisco and New York. It is more than just our story. It is an eye opening educational film as well. So, to have it seen in schools or public television would be wonderful. Obviously, though Boston holds a special place in our hearts.
For more information, check out www.hart2hartproductions.com