Golden Gate Award, Bay Area Documentary San Francisco International Film Festival
Jury Award, Best Feature Documentary Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Chris Award for Social Issue Documentary Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Jury Award, Best Feature Documentary Seattle International Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals
Audience Award, Best Film Fresno Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Audience Award, Best Documentary Pittsburgh Int'l Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
Best Documentary Fort Worth Int'l Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
In the midst of America's most conservative era, as Joseph McCarthy interrogated suspected Communists and deviants, political activist Harry Hay started America's first successful gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society. Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay tells the compelling story of Hay's work creating the framework for the modern US lesbian and gay rights movement.
The film traces Hay's roots in the Communist Party and the Labor Movement, where he learned the organizing skills he needed to bring together "America's most hated minority." In 1948, while working on the Henry Wallace presidential campaign, Hay wrote a startling document, declaring homosexuals an oppressed minority. While the idea is second nature today, at the time the notion of homosexuals as a minority was considered absurd. It was this key concept that would eventually bring the movement together.
As the Mattachine Society's secret underground meetings grew larger, Hay was forced to resign from the Communist Party. Ironically, within a few short years he would be ejected from his own Mattachine Society for his former Communist involvement. Harry Hay's 90 years of activism make for a roller coaster ride of triumphs and defeats.
Featuring interviews with the surviving members of the group, dramatic archival film and photos, and evocative stylized imagery, Hope along the Wind follows the founding of the group, the dramatic court trial that puts Mattachine in the spotlight, and the group's politically charged break up. The film follows Hay’s life into the 1970’s and beyond, including his co-founding the Radical Faeries, counter culture gay people who explore a spiritual dimension of their sexuality.
Hope Along the Wind shows the personal price Hay paid for his commitment to true liberation for his people. In the end, the film is an inspiring chronicle of an activist who refused to quit.
"With a story worthy of a Hollywood film, this is highly recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with collections on gay studies and social movements."
- Library Journal
"Harry Hay’s…lifelong efforts to bring a sense of unity, community and joyous spirituality to gays in the US make for remarkable viewing in the documentary Hope along the Wind."
—Los Angeles Times
"Using incredibly penetrating interviews, well-appropriated archival footage, and a gift for combining complex ideas with compelling narrative, Slade demonstrates the depth of character and tenacity that, to some degree, explain Hay’s legacy."
- The Advocate
"Eric Slade’s illumination of Hay’s life is engrossing and fast paced. Hope along the Wind hits all the markers that distinguish Hay’s personal journey."
- Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco
"…an outstanding documentary that gives historical context to both the social underpinnings and sexual rebellion at the root of the modern gay rights movement."
- Gay City News, NYC
"Hope along the Wind is as tender, informative and captivating an hour as you’re likely to spend…"
- MetroWeekly (Washington DC) "Critics Pick"
"A sweet film, and everyone who considers themselves a freethinking homosexual should see it."
- Willamette Week, (Portland, OR)
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Eric Slade is a Portland, Oregon based director who creates independent documentaries, programming for PBS, educational features, and films for museums. His work has screened around the world and won dozens of awards from numerous groups including the Seattle International Film Festival, the American Medical Association Film Festival, and the Florida International Film Festival. His independent documentaries include Acting Up for Prisoners, The Impact of AIDS, and his latest feature, Big Joy, The Adventures of James Broughton.