Three years ago today, the TABC and Fort Worth police raided a gay bar in Fort Worth. The controversial raid, which occurred on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid in New York, inspired one local filmmaker to take action.
Robert Camina was one of the first members of the LGBT community to realize that eye witness accounts and police reports were inconsistent. A patron injured during the raid was in ICU for weeks in what Fort Worth police later determined was not the result of excessive force. Allegations of brutality seemed to be all but ignored.
With no budget, or clear starting point, and with almost no initial cooperation from local authorities, Robert began putting together a documentary that would consume the next two and a half years of his life.
Raid of the Rainbow Lounge traces the path from the initial raid to the eventual,outcome and changes in the community.
In the wake of the raid, the city instituted mandatory diversity training for all city employees, revised their bar check policy, expanded the city's anti-discrimination ordinance to include the transgender community, and began offering domestic partner benefits to city employees.
Patrons involved received settlements and eventually had the charges against them dropped.
Following a successful premier of the documentary in March, screenings for a variety of audiences have been requested. Schools across the country, as well as the White House and Justice Department have requested viewings.
This month, the film received the “Best GLBT Film Award” at the Breckenridge Festival of Film in Breckenridge, Colorado; the “Audience Choice Award” at the 14th annual QCinema Film Festival; and the 2012 QBliss GLBTIA Creating Change Community Award for Outstanding Documentary.
Thursday night, the Magnolia Theatre in Dallas will show the film for the last planned theatrical release at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets will be available for $10.
Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion with Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead, TABC Major Robert Cloud, the newly appointed TABC liaison to the LGBT community Agent Leigh Ann Wiggins, Director Robert L. Camina, and others. Questions from the audience will be accepted.
The official film trailer can be viewed here.