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Mama's Boy - Dustin Lance Black
Mama’s Boy – Dustin Lance Black (Photo by Alain Benainous/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)(HBO)

The HBO documentary Mama’s Boy centers around the upbringing of Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Milk.

Directed by Laurent Bouzereau (HBO’s “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind”), the documentary debuts Tuesday, October 18 (9:00-10:42 p.m. ET/PT) during LGBTQ history month.

Traveling back to the places where he grew up, Black explores his childhood roots, gay identity and close relationship with his mother, who overcame childhood polio, abusive marriages and Mormon dogma, while becoming Black’s emotional rock and ultimately, the inspiration for his activism. With a wealth of personal photographs and candid memories from Black’s family, colleagues, and friends, MAMA’S BOY embraces the personal to tell a universally hopeful tale of resilience and reconciliation through the power of love and shared stories.

Raised in a conservative Mormon home in the American South, Dustin Lance Black’s mother, Anne, contracted polio as a child and endured years of hospital visits and brutal surgeries. Reliant on crutches for the rest of her life, Anne refused to be defined by the disease; she went to college and forged a successful career for herself whilst also raising a family and surviving two abusive marriages. When Black came out to Anne at the age of 21, the close mother and son began a difficult journey together, reconciling her conservative, Mormon belief system with his new life as an openly gay man. By the time he won an Academy Award in 2009, she accompanied him proudly on the red carpet, wearing the white ribbon in support of same-sex marriage. Her support and encouragement led him to fight for marriage equality by overturning California’s Proposition 8, reach out to Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City and re-embrace his extended family in Texarkana.

Adapted from Black’s 2019 memoir “Mama’s Boy: A Story from our Americas,” Mama’s Boy is a provocative and powerful journey through America as well as a moving tribute to a mother’s courage and a reckoning with the strength she instilled in her son to fight for his beliefs. The film features interviews with screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (HBO’s “Big Love,” “Milk,” “Under the Banner of Heaven”); members of Black’s extended family; Black’s husband, Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley; filmmaker Paris Barclay; former president of the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin; and executive director of Equality Utah, Troy Williams.

As our country stands once again at a crossroads, with stark political divides, the documentary is a timely reminder that open dialogue and storytelling are essential human tools for building bridges, changing hearts and healing the wounds that tear us apart.

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