ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’s YAEL STONE says I DO to the idea of equality in Australia in a new online film project.
Yael Stone, the Australian star of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, is saying I DO to marriage equality in a new online film project, in which Yael stars alongside SNOWTOWN’s Daniel Henshall, singer/actor Zindzi Okenyo and 7 other Australian actors and artists.
THE I DO PROJECT was created as an artists’ response to the Marriage Equality Postal Survey and features 10 microshort films, shot in New York, Sydney, Melbourne, London and Los Angeles, and put together by more than 25 Australian filmmakers working collaboratively and internationally. Yael’s film was shot in New York, at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park
In each of the I DO films, the simple statement I DO is made by the featured artist, as a statement of belief in the idea of equality and of the right of an individual to place their trust and hope in a future to be shared with the person they love.
The first three films are being released on YouTube on Thursday 2nd November, and two more will be released in the following week, with a further 5 more in production. The artists involved are also putting out a general call to people everywhere to make their own I DO films, with the project’s dedicated website providing downloadable resources and advice for people wanting to do so. Click here to find out more.
Beyond the immediate context of the Marriage Equality Postal Survey, the I DO films also express a broader hope for an Australia that is more open, inclusive and diverse, and are intended both as a statement looking to the future, and as a message of support for the LGBTIQ community, particularly those who have been most affected by the commentary over the past three months.
Yael Stone, who plays Lorna Morello in Netflix’s ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, said ‘I do’ immediately when asked by the project’s producers if she wanted to take part.
‘I say I DO to marriage equality because I believe that love is for everyone. A profound commitment to love and family strengthen Australia and we should not exclude anyone from that opportunity. Let’s move forward on this and embrace our celebrated national trait of a fair go for all.’
Yael’s I DO film was shot in New York in front of the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, on the same day as Daniel Henshall’s was shot in front of the Brooklyn Bridge, by Director Of Photography Joel Froome, who is also Australian. For Yael, the fountain has a special resonance, as it’s a powerful reminder of Tony Kushner’s play, the Pulitzer Prize-winning ANGELS IN AMERICA, in which the Fountain features significantly, and which is considered the definitive account of gay life in the US in the 1980s. Says Yael:
‘ANGELS IN AMERICA, and the Bethesda Fountain reverberate on earthly and mythological levels with the humanity that we must recognize in each other if we are to move forward. And that’s what I wanted to touch on with my I DO film.’
Queer musician and actor Zindzi Okenyo’s film, which is being released at the same time as Yael’s and Daniel’s, was shot in Hollis Park, Redfern, Sydney, by photographer/ filmmaker Kate Cornish.
By saying I DO we are not only saying we believe LGBTIQ people should have the right to marry, we are standing by the ethos that all people are valued and respected. I want to be valued and respected no matter who I choose to love.’
Daniel Henshall, who won an AACTA Best Actor award for SNOWTOWN and who recently appeared in GHOST IN THE SHELL, described I DO as ‘a beautiful and important project’ in which he was also keen to participate.
Other films from The I Do Project have been shot in Melbourne and on the Pulaski Bridge in Queens, New York. More are being filmed in Los Angeles this week and in both Sydney and Melbourne in early November.
THE I DO PROJECT was devised by filmmakers Laura Scrivano (London), Dan Prichard (Sydney) and Kim Ho (Melbourne), who collaborated previously on the short coming-out film The Language of Love. When the survey was announced, and on seeing the impact it then was having on a personal and national level for the LGBTIQ community, the trio began discussing how, as artists, they might respond.
Marriage equality is a no brainer – it is about human rights and equality for all in Australian society. But on a human level, on an individual level, it is about love. It’s really that simple. That joyous, incredible, wonderous, painful emotion that we all experience and we all share and that we should all be able to celebrate equally in front of our friends and family while they embarrass us with awkward stories about our teenage years. Perhaps most importantly, marriage equality is about saying to vulnerable young queer people that you are equal. That we see you, we hear you and we love you. And so that’s what I DO is about – saying I DO for a fairer, progressive, caring Australia. For the future.
Says Dan Prichard:
We wanted to create an artwork that was beautiful and simple, and with a powerful aesthetic. The words I DO have such resonance in our culture, expressing as they do the decision and avowal of a person to put their faith, trust and future in the hands of the person they love, and we wanted to explore the power of those two simple words that mean so much.
Equally, we wanted to create a project that people everywhere could be part of, and to provide the resources to allow people to make their films of love in a simple, elegant way. Anyone can make an I DO film – on their own, with friends, classmates, workmates, family, and then can download the I DO music and titles from www.TheIDoProject.com to give it the sense and feel of being part of a communal effort. There’s even a basic editing frame into which people can drop their shots of themselves saying I DO. We are hoping that people’s films will be individual, diverse and joyous, to present a panorama of Australians celebrating the power of the words I DO, in a project that will be collaborative, beautiful and healing.
Says Kim Ho:
The postal survey has affected me and those I love pretty hard while the current political climate of negativity can easily get us down. It’s more important than ever therefore to love and respect one another, to look after one another, find strength in our difference and look to the future with hope and determination
Find out how you can be part of The I Do Project, here, or see below.