Claremont, Calif. (July 27, 2015)—Pitzer College alumnus Ben Cotner ’02 received an Emmy nomination for the documentary The Case Against 8, which he co-directed and co-produced with Ryan White. The film, which takes an in-depth look at the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, was nominated for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming.
Cotner and White shot the documentary over five years, gaining behind-the-scenes footage of the famed legal team of David Boies and Ted Olson and the four plaintiffs in the suit. The film recounts the journey that took the fight for marriage equality all the way to the US Supreme Court, which voted 5-4 in June that the US Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
The Emmy nominations are the latest in a slew of honors for the film, which opened in theaters and aired on HBO in June 2014. Cotner and White won the documentary directing award at Sundance Film Festival last year and the audience award at the SXSW Film Festival. The Case Against 8 garnered numerous other awards at film festivals across the country and was a 2014 New York Times Critics’ Pick.
“The Case Against 8 functions as a valuable record of the nuts-and-bolts conference room side of advocacy—an aspect of civil rights work not often seen on screen,” the Times review said.
Ben Cotner has served as an executive for ten years at Paramount Pictures and Open Road Films, where he most recently oversaw acquisitions and production. He has worked on such films as An Inconvenient Truth, American Teen, The Grey and End of Watch.
Cotner majored in media studies at Pitzer College.