Broken Heart Land

DIRECTORS: Jeremy Stulberg, Randy Stulberg

Expected to attend: Directors Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg, Producer Eric Juhola

Zachary Harrington came out at fourteen, accepted and embraced by close friends and family. So what made him take his own life just five years later? In their terrible shock and grief, his loved ones desperately try to understand. In 2010, the mayor of Norman, Oklahoma, proposed October as LGBT History Month. Before the city council passed the proposal, hours of public testimony revealed a divided community. Citing traditional Christian values, a vocal minority made vitriolic homophobic and AIDS-phobic statements and threatened to go after progressive city council members’ jobs. Just a week after attending that meeting, Zack committed suicide.

Zack’s death broke the silence of a family that didn’t talk about personal things. Seeking clues in his journals, the Harringtons learned how deeply Zack had been struggling with pervasive attitudes condemning him. Devastated, they also discovered his secret: Zack had been HIV-positive for more than a year. He’d gotten AIDS medication on the street. He’d had no doctor. He’d told no one. Oklahoma is one of 39 states where any mention of homosexuality is banned from sex education and STD prevention. With the religious right dictating public health measures, Silence = Death. When conservative Christians ran for Norman city council, Zack’s family joined activist mothers of LGBT kids to fight back, and this is where the film truly shines. Through their heartbreak, the Harringtons found a greater purpose, a strong community, and ways to honor Zack’s dream of acceptance.

— Carol Harada

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D304

Co-presented by:
Level Ground
PFLAG - San Francisco
Positive Resource Center
San Francisco Suicide Prevention

Sponsor: KALW

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