The powerful documentary Bridegroom brought many in a star-studded audience to tears at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday (15 October).
Adam Lambert, who allowed his song Outlaws of Love to be used on the film’s soundtrack, was in attendance and later tweeted: ‘Humbled to be part of this beautiful film!’
Other celebrities in the audience included multiple Emmy winner Lily Tomlin, Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr., director Adam Shankman and out actor and GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz.
The movie, which won the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, was written and directed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.
Bridegroom tells the love story of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom. Their six-year relationship ended tragically when Bridegroom died in an accidental fall.
They had shared a house, a business, a dog, a large circle of friends, and a well-documented series of traveling adventures around the world. But after Bridegroom’s death, his family shut Crone out and tried to act as if the relationship had never existed.
Crone says in the film: ‘I received a phone call from one of Tom’s relatives, and she wanted to let me know that I wasn’t welcome to attend his funeral. Because if I do show up, his uncle and his father had planned an attack.’
To channel his grief, on the first anniversary of Bridegroom’s death, Crone posted a video tribute to his partner entitled It Could Happen to You which went viral and has garnered more than 4 million views on YouTube.
Bloodworth-Thomason told the audience at the premiere that she wanted to expand the YouTube video into a film to pay forward a debt to someone who had shown her a great kindness.
When the Designing Women creator’s mother was dying of AIDS in the mid-1980s – she was infected by a blood transfusion – she and other patients at the hospital were being treated inhumanly by the staff.
Bloodworth-Thomason said Dr. Jeff Galpin, who was in attendance on Tuesday, stood up for the AIDS patients and was able to change things. She called him ‘my hero.’
Choking back tears, Bloodworth-Thomason said she made Bridegroom to likewise ‘stand up to the bigotry and hate.’
She then paid tribute to Crone who she said is ‘probably the bravest person that I’ve ever known. It was an incredibly brave thing that he did (making the video then the film). I think he did it because he knew what an important (message) he had.’
Crone confessed to being ‘really nervous right now’ when he took the stage. But gave thanks for the support of those in the audience and to the more than 6,000 people who contributed money via Kickstarter to get the film made.
He also singled out his mother, Cindy Bitney, who is interviewed extensively in the film and is seen as a shining example of parental support throughout her son’s sometimes difficult life.
Bitney, seated in the back of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Samuel Goldwyn Theater, received a spontaneous and prolonged standing ovation from the crowd who wanted to pay tribute to someone who seems like a really great mom.
Bridegroom will premiere on OWN on 27 October and be available for streaming on Netflix the same day with VOD and DVD rollouts coming next month.
The film also premiered in limited theatrical release in New York City last week and opens Friday (19 October) in Los Angeles theaters.
Below is the film’s trailer as well as Crone’s original video: