Inside the True Life Legal Thriller 'The Case Against 8'

How filmmakers captured the historic same-sex legal battle.
11:38 | 06/16/14

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Transcript for Inside the True Life Legal Thriller 'The Case Against 8'
It has been five years in the making a true to life. Legal thriller. Taking us inside the groundbreaking Supreme Court case that overturned proposition eight. California's ban on same sex marriage. And the HBO documentary the case against eight. Will debut on June 23 and today we're looking at to have two filmmakers -- Connor and -- White with us in the studio guys thanks stopping by today. Thank you so congratulations on the documentary. I watch this. We -- talking with us earlier you know the outcome of the case but at the same time the gravity. Of this case really weighs on you at the end of watching us thank you -- I mean that's what we were going for we were in that courtroom every day watching Chris Jeff on sandy who were the plaintiffs in this case. Seeing them testify and seeing the weight of what they were saying they articulated in that courtroom such. Amazing things that sort of as gay people we were just blown away by the things that they were saying in a federal courtroom so. The bravery that it took to do that and you know the seriousness of the things that they were dealing with we wanted to capture the film. If at all possible. Working Californians. It's -- as filmmakers that you're working on something that is so personal where the outcome of -- found. Also as a direct outcome on how you can -- your life and so. For us it was that you know five here long journey we shut 600 hours of footage and countrymen and -- that footage was extremely emotional for us just because we were so invested in the outcome as well. Did you did you start work on this is soon is prop -- had passed in 2008 or was prior to that. -- -- prop eight passed November 2008 we began shooting in early 2009. When we found out that a federal lawsuit was going to be filed so bad and I. Began documenting the process just to be safe just in case the snowball into something bigger the foundation was organizing the lawsuit allowed us access. But and we had to get on board titles and David Boies who are that through legendary attorneys who took on proposition eight -- -- was. -- meeting conservative litigator one bush V gore has -- -- -- bush -- -- with David -- that they joined forces to fight proposition eight together so. We got them on board in the middle of 2009 they sort of recognize that. If they allowed cameras to document this process that they allowed that -- nine. To follow than that it could be an important video record for the American people when -- when all said and done well let's talk a little more about the dynamics of that. Relationship in just a minute because that and it itself I think could be a totally separate documentary because of the history that those two -- insurance. But when he sort of worked with the American foundation for equal rights which -- organization that had started. Pushing forward on this case there. Did you get any resistance -- -- from that group or from ultimately the two couples that filed the case about you know yes in fact they were going their stores were going to be very public. But at the same time a deal to capture the moments that you both were captured. It meant. Getting into their households getting into their cars as they were driving kids to school it was -- a lot of very person. Moments well there certainly was understandably a lot of reluctance on several of their parts and and I think it goes against every instinct in a lawyer's body to. Have cameras filming such a confidential process. For Chris and -- Paul and Jeff their families that they want to protect so. Letting cameras sort of expose this very personal experience with something difficult and and nobody knew whether this case would win or lose. I think everyone was prepare prepare for the fact that if this case lost. It would be an embarrassing in a movie for them possibly but it's also something that they thought they educational element was important enough that they were gonna allow us to capture either way. Did among pledged that -- just as some of the moments that you're caught one of the plaintiffs that we are talking about there. When they had realized that their marriage was no longer valid and recognized by the state of California and. What happens is you get a letter. Saying dear -- Kerry -- here. We're letting you know you are no longer legally married that marriage that was performance -- Cisco is invalid. And if you would like to have your filing fees returned to -- you may have been returned to you by check or you can get. Senator charity or something along those signs just a form letter in the mail saying you thought you -- -- that you're not. It's. A tough moment being captured right there with Ted Olson listening -- I mean that's why we have so much respect for their bravery because it wasn't. Those -- -- what we -- Clinton -- that wish you know get fifteen minutes of them and are found but those went on for days and the plaintiffs have to go through the -- where every moment. Up their lives for looked at with a microscope because they were suddenly gonna have to go into a federal courtroom. And testify can be cross examined about their lives then to to allow our camera crew is in there you know Chris and sent him -- -- allowed us to film every moment of fat. You can imagine putting yourself in that situation where every moment from your life is looked at with such scrutiny. And so we're just so happy that they -- -- you're part of that process because really when it comes down to it. Our film is about their journeys on the five year journey that they took from the time property past that they got married in June 2013 and it's moments like that I think that really. Humanize it for people when they watch the found. Well you know one of the things that struck me is that Chris had said this one of the plaintiffs had said this as that is the case is moving forward that -- was testified in federal court she hit said that. She -- realize this is afterwards after she provided her testimony that she had realized that she was quote. Under a blanket of -- that she didn't realize too that up until that point until she had to verbalize exactly how she was discriminated against. -- is being discriminated against her wife. Just exactly how -- she was being seen by the rest of the state a revelation. That is a bombshell whether other revelations like that -- -- -- were filming them. That that that you caught maybe they didn't realize that they were. Well I think all of the people that went into this didn't realize the emotional impact that that that the courtroom -- -- that the testimony would have because they were talking about things -- You just don't tend to talk about out -- a -- a lot of people don't even realize a lot of the discrimination that they're facing. And the impact that that has on -- we sort of put up a wall of the you know today is going to be good and we're going to be strong you don't wanna. Sort of lead in those feelings in to talk about it from strangers to talk about it in front of a federal judge -- was a really you have incredibly brave thing that they did. And there are a lot of other revelations from people like David blackened -- who is the proponents principal witness who admitted things like we would be more American -- days that we allow. The day that we allowed gays and lesbians to marry and the children of gays lesbians would be better off and this was the live witness it was and as well -- -- shouldn't be there. -- a lot of revelations that what about in those supporters of proposition eight was it difficult to get their voice into this. -- I mean. For from the very beginning we we didn't set out to tell a story about whether gay marriage was right or wrong we could've made a film like that we could've made an African because he -- our social issues found. And we wanted to make a character film that was about this team of people with very unlikely -- who had -- 86 combat these very human stories to of the four point test. Obviously follow them all along. But with that the yes on eight campaign I mean -- him. There are a major part of our home as well including David Lincoln harness as as -- referenced but we always try to not. Parity -- in -- -- and always put their best arguments forward because in the end we wanted to film that was you know fair and balanced tell me. A little bit about the dynamics -- between those two very famous. Lawyers Ted Olson and David -- obviously going head to head in 2000 and bush V gore. A very unlikely -- in fact a lot of people in the LG BT community said wait a minute I don't know exactly this is the best legal team we should have going forward on this issue. Did you notice any thing -- you started filming that you sought a genuine relationship between these two Joan. Certainly we weren't sold going and we didn't know anything about titles and other than the fact that he was this extremely conservative lawyers that we weren't sure if he was summoned you can trust necessarily but. The moment we met -- and saw. What -- warm person he is and how -- he actually believed in this cause. But -- really and you said earlier that it was a thriller I think watching the sort of twists and turns and sort of legal maneuvering of these truly genius legal minds. Was incredible to watch David Boies cross examine witnesses on the stand is it's like watching a -- -- warrior. And so we -- really lucky to sort of experience that and with Ted -- you know I think a lot of people assume that. There there were a lot of risks involved with taking on someone like him but at the end of the day he was able to speak to conservatives in a way that I don't think anyone else could. Because of his reputation because of his credibility as such. A great lawyer. What was ever apply when you're shooting this that you -- -- Supreme Court this a slam -- we've we've got the outcome that we've been hoping for or. Had they've been undecided in your own minds up until that ruling finally came out. No we were on pins and needles the entire time it's not the most fun way to live your life for five years -- phone makers just never knowing -- -- we made this film for. Three and a half years not even knowing it was gonna become a -- because. As any Dr. -- -- -- you need a third act to finisher -- that was the supreme court for us. We were on pins and needles up until the moments that decision came men and and so were the plaintiffs that we were we were living with bout with. We were living with them at every moment through that for those nerves through that through that anxiety and up until the moment -- -- -- the ruling no one no one knew what was gonna come. I don't wanna be. A spoiler alert on this one but logistically it must have been a nightmare ticket when -- the -- shots which is. The you can -- And AME. You know I can say it's it -- you you will not be left you know without an overabundance of emotion when you see this but when both of the couples were finally married. It didn't go as smoothly -- as we've read about afterwards as you would have been you know able to hear arguments to. I means I think there were there were to visit two of us and we were filming -- the weddings are cells that day I was upon just Los Angeles and and Ryan was with Chris and sandy in San Francisco and it was kind of like winning the lottery ticket that we just happen to be there because no one knew that the decision is going to come down that quickly. So we rushed to the various cities and got there just in time to see this. Which is still wasn't a foregone conclusion that they were gonna get married that day even as they were at the window trying to get a marriage license there was still some last minute resistance. So there are sort of -- -- our stomach as we were filming it and it was a really emotional day. But it -- and happy with -- we think the impact is gonna have a states that have bans on same sex marriage. Well we do you think about the -- that the case the film I mean. We hope that. Apologize for Christmas any stories can inspire people you know we were -- Californians when prop eight passed it was devastating and you see what these people went through to reverse that and judge walker -- the book the judge that presided over the district court was the first federal judge to ever strike down a state ban. Now in 2014 you see it happening left and right you know -- happening in states like Texas it's happening and -- thank you talk happen in Wisconsin a week ago. Comments that we we're trying to take the phone to as many of those states that as possible and we have and we met with a lot of plaintiffs and those lawsuits because there's. -- it's going in every state now that doesn't have marriage equality. And hopefully they can go on that journey with -- and Jeff and Chris and sandy and believe that they can do the same thing too and their respective states it is an eye opening a very emotional documentary guys thank you so much it's called the case. Against eight. It debuts June 23 from HBO bend -- Ryan just like -- -- to thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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