MARSHALL - He felt like he needed to do something, Derick Schultz said.
After watching the debate on whether to ban or legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota, Schultz, a senior at Southwest Minnesota State University, said he wanted to engage people on the subject. It led him to make a documentary film, which will have its first screening today.
"It's a powerful way to reach someone," Schultz said of making the documentary. "It's many voices coming together to tell one story, of what has happened, what is happening and what could be."
Schultz produced and edited the documentary, which is called "Now Is the Time, This Is the Year." The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. today in the lower level of the SMSU conference center. The event is open to the public.
Schultz said there were several reasons he wanted to make the documentary. His experiences working with the efforts to defeat a proposed marriage amendment to the Minnesota constitution helped inspire him, as did watching footage of legislative debates on the amendment.
Schultz said he had three main goals in making the film. He hopes to educate people on the issue of same-sex marriage in Minnesota, as well as to preserve a significant event in the state's history.
The third goal is to get people involved on the issue.
"The fight's not over," Schultz said. While the amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman failed at the polls in November, same-sex marriage is still not legal in Minnesota. A bill that would authorize same-sex marriage is currently awaiting action from the state legislature.
Schultz said the documentary chronicles the same-sex marriage movement in Minnesota, from an overview of same-sex marriage bans in other states, through to last year's marriage amendment and the new bill.
"There's a lot of dialogue from both sides," Schultz said. He said he wanted to present voices both for and against same-sex marriage and hopefully inform people who are undecided on the issue. Schultz said he also wanted to clarify that the same-sex marriage movement was focused on civil and legal rights and not religion.
Going through existing footage on the topic, getting permission to use clips and editing them into the finished film was a process that took about two months, he said.
"It was stressful. There were a lot of late nights," Schultz said. "But it was worth it."
The title of the film came from the Freedom to Marry rally in support of same-sex marriage, which Schultz attended in February.
"People were saying, 'We want to see 2013 be the year we open marriage up to everyone,'" he said. "I remember distinctly the chant, 'Now is the time, this is the year.'"
Schultz said he was interested in getting feedback on the documentary.
"I'm excited to see the audience's reaction and what people have to say," he said.
After the screening, Schultz said he will make the documentary available to watch online. He also plans to add to the documentary to make it more complete. But for now, he said, the timing of the film will be good to encourage people to get involved or take a stand on the same-sex marriage issue.
"I hope it further encourages people to stay involved and keep standing up for people who can't stand up for themselves in every situation," Schultz said.
The event will be hosted by the SMSU GLBTA organization, and refreshments will be served.