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Filmmaker to show documentary at SKC on October 21

It is remarkable. One person can have a major impact on society and culture simply by taking a risk and sharing their life. At least that has been the remarkable journey of Montana native Shane Bitney Crone. Crone released a YouTube video that told of his relationship and the tragic loss of his partner. The video caught on and shortly thereafter Crone was at the center of the production of one of last years’ most acclaimed documentaries, Bridegroom, which was the last name of his partner, Tom. This powerful and informative documentary tells of Crone’s experience following Tom’s death as well as looking at the issues around marriage bans. On October 21, Crone will be hosting a screening of the documentary at Salish Kootenai College. He will be speaking after the viewing and take questions from the audience. It should be a dynamic and remarkable evening that is free and open to the public. Details on time and venue will be coming in the next month. The entire program is being co-sponsored by SAFE Harbor, the SKC Center for Prevention and Wellness and the Spirit of Many Colors Club. For more information email grantdana@hotmail.com.

Shane Bitney Crone is an activist, speaker, writer and filmmaker. He grew up in Kalispell. At a young age, Shane was a very active member of the tight-knit community; he was even awarded Student of the Year for his leadership qualities. Despite his efforts to fit in, however, Shane fell victim to years of homophobic bullying and severe depression. Determined to escape the close-mindedness of his hometown, he graduated from high school, packed up all of his worldly belongings, and trekked to Los Angeles where he would pursue his dreams of working in the entertainment industry.

In 2005, knee-deep in the world of Hollywood, Shane met a young man who would change his life, and heart, forever: Tom Bridegroom. The two fell quickly in love, and soon collaborated on all aspects of their lives. They founded a social media/public relations company, established a successful music blog, purchased a home, and adopted a dog, JB. Shane and Tom shared the American dream of starting a business, buying a home, and getting married someday. Their dreams came to an end in May 2011, when Tom died in a tragic accident.

A year after the death of his partner, Shane created a YouTube video about his experiences entitled “It Could Happen to You.” The 10 minute video recounted Shane and Tom’s story, including the injustices Shane suffered during the aftermath of Tom’s death. The video ultimately went viral: it garnered over four million views and was translated into over a dozen languages. This deeply personal insight into Shane’s traumatic, but uplifting, journey was listed as one of GLAAD’s “Most

Inspiring Videos that Helped Push Equality Forward in 2012.”

Linda Bloodworth Thomason, creator of Designing Women and director/producer of the critically acclaimed Man from Hope, took interest in Shane and Tom’s story. Together Shane and Linda produced a full-length documentary, Bridegroom: A Love Story, Unequaled, which released in the fall of 2013. The film showcases the couple’s life together and the fallout from Tom’s untimely death, while exploring the ramifications of marriage bans. The documentary has earned numerous accolades, including audience awards at every film festival at which it’s been screened. Festivals of note include Tribeca Film Festival and Los Angeles’ Outfest Film Festival.

From a young age Shane has channeled his energy to support good causes, hoping to inspire others with his creativity and personal triumphs. Today he lobbies for marriage equality alongside organizations such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign. Shane’s hard work and powerful story have been recognized internationally. In 2012 he was awarded the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award and was named one of Instinct Magazine’s Leading Men of 2012.

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