EXCLUSIVE: Linda Bloodworth Thomason‘s feature-length documentary looking into the issue of marriage inequality has been acquired by Virgil Films, which has nabbed all North American rights. The plan is to release Bridegroom later this fall, followed by VOD and DVD rollouts. The pic, which won the Audience Award at this year at the Tribeca Film Festival, centers on the real-life story of Shane Bitney Crone, who lost the love of his life, Tom Bridegroom, in an accident. Because they weren’t married (and despite the partners having been together for six years), Crone had no legal connection to Bridegroom, and he was barred from the funeral and received no survivor benefits. His YouTube video posted a year later about the ordeal, titled “It Could Happen to You”, went viral, generated worldwide support and attracted the attention of Bloodworth Thomason, creator of such TV series as Designing Women and Evening Shade. The pic is timely with several states weighing same-sex marriage bills and has been selected by the entertainment industry nonprofit Creative Coalition as a 2013 Spotlight Initiative Film.

“The story of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom has touched millions and now Linda Bloodworth Thomason has created an equally poignant and powerful documentary feature” Virgil’s Joseph Amodei said in announcing the deal. “We are excited and honored to bring this important story to audiences everywhere.”  The agreement was negotiated by Amodei and Harry Thomason, managing partner of KMA Productions president of Mozark Productions, which produced the film.

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