Two Florida communities, united in grief and anger from deadly mass shootings, ignited a national uprising against the gun industry and the politicians who profit from gun violence in America.
After the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre that took 49 lives, state legislators from Orlando targeted Florida’s lax gun laws and demanded change in Tallahassee. But they were rebuffed at every turn by the NRA-owned legislature and governor who refused to do anything about assault weapons or gun policy. Less than 2 years later, these ripples of resistance grew into a tsunami after a gunman opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. 17 more lost their lives because Florida’s government failed to care or act after Pulse.
The movement for sane gun laws swept up the Florida peninsula, marched into the nation’s capital, and is now sweeping across the country, led by heroic students who are demanding nothing less than an end to assault weapons and gun violence in America.
Features: Sen. Linda Stewart, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani
On June 12, 2016, a Florida resident with a military assault rifle attacked a gay club in Orlando. He killed 49 and injured another 53 in the worst anti-gay hate crime in American history. This short film is both an indictment of those who fuel hatred toward LGBT people, and homage to the LGBT and ally community whose efforts have helped make Orlando one of the most inclusive cities in the South.
When Orlando Weekly writer, Billy Manes, lost Alan, his partner of 11 years, he nearly lost his home, his car and everything he owned as homophobic “in-laws” swept in. They disposed of Alan’s body, claimed his earthly possessions, and tried to take the wedding ring from Billy’s finger. In the 2012 anti-gay State of Florida, where same-sex relationships were not recognized and not afforded any legal protections, Billy had to fight to save everything he and Alan owned together. Billy Manes shared his deeply personal story in the pages of Orlando Weekly after learning that others had similarly experienced the devastating consequences of living in one of the nation’s most anti-gay states. Billy tragically discovered that in life, love and death, equality matters.
Featuring Billy Manes; with David Baker-Hargrove, Martha Haynie, Tony Mauss, Mary Meeks, and Erin Sullivan. (Global Peace Film Festival, Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Ft. Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Daytona Beach Film Festival, Flagler Film festival, Ft. Myers Film Festival)
In 2011, the word uterus was banned from the Florida House of Representatives even as GOP members in that room were voting to regulate all uteruses across the state via 18 anti-choice bills. As these extremists and their national leaders continue their war to limit access to contraception, women's health care clinics, comprehensive sex education and abortion services, the Uterati are fighting mad and are fighting back! Join Susannah Randolph, Sue Idtensohn, Sally Blackmun, Jenna Tosh, Martha Haynie and Joyce Hamilton Henry as they stand up against the GOP's war on women, and stand up for the full emancipation of women everywhere. Also featuring Rev. Bryan Fulwider, Joe Saunders, Shirley Jantzen, Pat Scully, Ida Eskamani, Alexa Nelen and and many others. (Global Peace Film Festival)
UPDATED EDITION In Anita's Wake: The Irrational War on Florida's Gay Families
The film looks back at the hysteria surrounding the 1977 homophobic crusade of Anita Bryant, and the resulting anti-gay adoption statute that was passed by the Florida Legislature.Featured in the film are courageous parents and children who fought to save their families from a Florida government that irrationally and unfairly endorsed anti-gay adoption discrimination for 33 years.
Features: Martin Gill, Vanessa & Melanie Alenier, Cynthia Nixon, Stuart Milk, Elaine Bloom, Nadine Smith, Sen. Dan Gelber, et.al. (NTSC / 49 min / 2010)
This film was screened across the state of Florida with assistance from the ACLU of Florida. (Global Peace Film Festival / Tallahassee Film Festival)
"It is a really moving and superb piece of work." HOWARD SIMON, Executive Director, ACLU of Florida
Choosing Absalon (Thanks to the June 2013 Supreme Court decision overturning Section 3 of DOMA, same-sex couples may now sponsor their foreign spouses for permanent residency.)
What if you had to choose between love and your country? Prior to June 2013, U.S. immigration law permited only heterosexual citizens to sponsor a foreign spouse for permanent residency. The discriminatory "Defense of Marriage Act" prohibited the U.S. government from recognizing a same-sex union or marriage, even if that relationship was recognized by an individual state or foreign nation. Over 40,000 same-sex, binational couples in America were forced to choose between love and country. Eric and Absalon, legally married and madly in love, faced that unfair choice. (NTSC/27 min/2009) Central Florida Film Festival (winner) / Global Peace Film Festival / Tampa Int'l Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Producer/Director: Vicki Nantz
Accessory to Murder: Our Culture's Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper Why does our culture promote violence against the gay community? In March 2007, Ryan Skipper was targeted and brutally murdered in Central Florida because he was gay. Ryan's violent death at age 25 was the final act in the life of a man who endured years of harassment and assaults simply because he was gay in a rural community. Ryan was also victimized in death by a county sheriff who stereotypically and wrongly declared that Ryan was responsible for his own murder by cruising for sex and colluding in check fraud with his own killers. Ryan was further victimized by a media that blindly accepted the sheriff's homophobic assertions as fact, instead of uncovering the truth and exposing a heinous anti-gay hate crime - a crime that our culture was complicit in perpetrating. (NTSC/72 min/2007) Tampa Int'l Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Film Series Producer/Director: Vicki Nantz.
Remembering Ryan Skipper This 4 minute short serves as the epilogue to "Accessory to Murder: Our Culture's Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper." In a rural courthouse in Polk County, justice was sought for the brutal 2007 murder of Ryan Skipper. Joseph Bearden and William Brown, two meth addicts who bragged about killing a "faggot," faced a prosecutor intent on putting them away for life. Hear the powerful condemnation of anti-gay hate from Assistant State Attorney Cass Castillo and Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Hunter during the 2009 trials for the killers of Ryan Skipper.
"A terrific film. It's a DVD that I've had the pleasure of watching, and I highly recommend it. It's beautifully done." Lisa Bloom CNN Legal Analyst February 2009
"Now a documentary casts the net of blame for the crime wider: on a society that enables disrespect for gay men, lesbians and transgender people, law enforcement officers who consider some less deserving of justice, reporters who regard hearsay as truth, and religious and political figures who preach intolerance. Accessory to Murder: Our Culture's Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper is a no-frills, emotional declaration that all of this must end." St. Petersburg Times, May 29, 2008
"Accessory to Murder: Our Culture's Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper should be required viewing." Tom Dyer, Publisher of Watermark, March 6, 2008.
"The documentary details the life and death of Ryan Skipper but also deals with what it describes as the societal forces that encourage homophobia and violence against gays and lesbians." Orlando Sentinel, March 2, 2008.
"A bold new documentary takes a piercing look into the anti-gay rhetoric that surrounded the investigation into this young man's death." Watermark, Jan 24, 2008 "The documentary is a thoughtful examination of how the crime was investigated and portrayed in the media." Express Gay News, Jan 24, 2008
"I wish every city council, law enforcement center, church, school board, and high school could view this. The attitude of society in general has to change so there will never be another tragedy like the one you told of Ryan." Debra Smith, PFLAG Great Lakes Regional Director, Michigan
"Thanks for producing something this powerful in recognition of GLBT and their families." Alesa Glazier, Polk County PFLAG
"It is our obligation as human beings to utilize this documentary in any way possible to raise awareness of the fact that people are still being murdered for who they are. As the parent of a gay child it is impossible for me to look at a picture of Ryan and not see my own son's face reflected. I cannot overlook the possibility that my own child could be the next victim. Thank you to Pat and Lynn for allowing Vicki Nantz to make this film. I believe it will play a vital role in educating people in the fight for acceptance and tolerance." Lisa Rivero, PFLAG Brevard County, Florida Safe Schools Coordinator
"What a powerful and moving documentary. You interviewed people that really 'got' how important it was to get this story out to the mainstream public." Margo Saltzman, PFLAG Philadelphia Safe Schools Coordinator "It is a great film." Sally Hewit, Orlando PFLAG
Vicki Nantz is a graduate of Florida State University. The award-winning producer/director spent her career in broadcast and cable television where she directed hundreds of hours of programming. Now Vicki only produces documentary films about important subjects that matter to her.