Contact: Cathy Renna, 917-757-6123,

The Pew Center For Arts & Heritage
Awards $300,000 Grant For 50th Documentary
National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration

JUNE 16, 2015, Philadelphia, PA - Organizers of the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration, from July 2 to 5, announced that Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has awarded Independence Visitor Center Corporation (IVCC) a $300,000 grant to produce a one hour LGBT 50th Anniversary documentary, titled Gay Pioneers at 50.

The documentary will be produced in collaboration with WHYY, the Philadelphia PBS affiliate, and Equality Forum.

The film will illuminate the 50-year history and progress of the LGBTQ civil rights movement by highlighting the powerful experiences of Gay Rights movement pioneers including a reenactment of the 1965–69 peaceful demonstrations at Independence Hall.

Said Malcolm Lazin, Chair, National LGBT 50th Anniversary: “Equality Forum partnered with WHYY to produce the 1999 documentary Gay Pioneers. We are delighted to collaborate with IVCC and WHYY on this documentary supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.”

The documentary will be directed by Ilana Trachtman. Trachtman is an Emmy award-winning documentary director and producer with twenty years of credits on PBS, HBO FAMILY, ABC-TV, SHOWTIME, SUNDANCE, LIFETIME, DISCOVERY, TRIO, A&E, THIRTEEN/ WNET, THE BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL, and SESAME WORKSHOP. She has a long history of directing original programming for PBS's national prime time schedule.

Under the direction of WHYY Executive Producer Trudi Brown, WHYY will oversee the production of the documentary and its broadcast with Equality Forum responsible for screenings and non-broadcast distribution. IVCC, the official visitor center of Philadelphia and the region, will expand the documentary’s appeal outside the Delaware Valley, and connect the important historical events covered in the film to the historical site of Independence Mall.

The organized LGBT civil rights movement was galvanized when activists from New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia staged demonstrations at Independence Hall for equality each Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969. When 40 activists picketed in front of Independence Hall in 1965, it was the largest demonstration for gay equality in world history.

Organized by Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, the father and mother of the LGBT civil rights movement, these “Annual Reminders” laid the groundwork for the Stonewall riot in 1969. After Stonewall, the Gay Pioneers suspended the Annual Reminders and turned their energies to help organize the 1970 march from Greenwich Village to Central Park marking the first anniversary of Stonewall.

There is no registration fee and most programs are free.

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