Broken Heart Land
In one Oklahoma town, his secret changed everything. A conservative, former-military family is shattered when their gay teenage son commits suicide after a bitterly controversial Norman, Oklahoma town meeting discussing a proposal for Gay and Lesbian History Month.
In their search to unravel the mystery behind his death, they discover a tragic secret, and begin to question their own civic responsibility as they undergo a harrowing transformation from private citizens to public defenders of their son’s legacy.
On an early autumn afternoon, gay teen Zack Harrington killed herself with a gunshot to the head in his parent’s ranch house in Norman, Oklahoma. One week earlier, Zack allegedly attended a local city council meeting in support of a proposal for LGBTQ History Month. When the floor opened for public comment, some community members made highly controversial statements equating being gay with the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS.
Against the backdrop of a town bitterly divided on the issue of homosexuality, Zack’s parents, both conservative Republicans and military veterans, are forced to reconcile their own social and political beliefs with their son’s death. Determined to understand him, they discover a diary, which paints a portrait of a boy in crisis, and a chilling secret that Zack has hidden for almost two years. It leads them to some painful conclusions about their son’s death.
When an outspoken conservative citizen runs for City Council, the Harrington’s decide to join the politically active group, “MOMS: Mothers of Many”. Over the course of the election season, we witness Zack’s family come out of the closet, moving from private denial to a climatic and very public acceptance of their son’s legacy. More about the film here.
"Real Life is messier and more complicated than our politics pretends...This is what 'Broken Heart Land' captures, movingly." - Miami Herald
"It’s easy to take for granted the progress of LGBT rights in America — until you see a documentary like Broken Heart Land...Haunting." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Beautiful." - OUT
Directors/Producers: Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg
Producer: Eric Juhola
Executive Producer: Diana Holtzberg
Co-Producers: Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt
Director of Photography: Jason Oldak
Editor: Jeremy Stulberg Music by: Christopher Libertino
2014, USA, 90 min, in English