In this heated election year and with the recent turn of events across the country, the debate over same-sex marriage is as prevalent as ever. In Tying the Knot, director Jim de Seve exposes the social, financial, and legal ramifications of marriage inequality that gays and lesbians face by not being protected under the civil right of marriage. If a police officer is killed in the line of duty, the surviving spouse of the legal union, is entitled to the deceased's pension -- and the state of Florida does not recognize gay unions. Mickie, whose partner Lois was gunned down while on duty in Tampa, was denied Lois' pension, even though she was recognized during the funeral as the surviving spouse. Mickie must now fight for the right to the pension which went to Lois' family. When Earl died, Sam, his partner of 23 years, was left with nothing, and now faces eviction, with his sons, from the ranch that they built together. These are some of the cases depicted in this groundbreaking film which travels worldwide from Holland and to Canada, a nation that recently established federal recognition of gay marriage. de Seve eschews formulaic trappings of chronological documentation and instead explores the meaning behind the debate over an important political and social issue that should be resolved. Tying the Knot effectively interweaves discussion of the issues involved with deep human stories, allowing the film to send its message with a solid emotional foundation.
Working from the frontlines of independent filmmaking, Jim de Seve is the chronicler of America's new culture war -- the divisive battle over marriage. He has produced for Nickelodeon, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. His work includes the documentary Burying the Saints, a personal portrait of his eccentric aunts and their search for lost history. In his PBS short, Sigrid and Rudi Do New York, two Bavarian tourists experience danger and love on New York's streets. He is the cinematographer for The Path to Peace, about a revolutionary summer camp for ethnic enemies. De Seve teaches courses in digital filmmaking and directing documentaries at Film Video Arts. He attempts to bring the activist documentary back to its roots with Tying the Knot, which seeks to be an example for independent producers on how to create networks of support and build community through the filmmaker's vision of social justice.