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Colorado's civil unions bill got shut out, but filmmaker Mike Shum shows the human side

Even after a committee killed HB 1006, thecivil unions bill, late yesterday, filmmaker Mike Shum holds out hope. While the documentary creator says he doesn't usually consider himself an activist, he was particularly moved by the recent round of civil unions discussion at the legislature -- and wanted to do something about it.

So Shum started looking for a family that represented what he calls the "human side" of the political issue, and put out a call to his friends and colleagues. A lobbyist friend connected Shum with Anna, Fran and Jeremy Simon after they were featured in the Denver Post, and they fit the bill perfectly. Shum wanted to put a face to the civil unions issue simply by showing a family at home, doing what families do. The result was "Mother's Day Breakfast In Bed," a short film that shares a small piece of the Simons's story.

Shum says that Governor John Hickenlooper's call for a special session last week mobilized him to act, but as with most of his documentary work, the focus here was on the people. "I was getting so annoyed by the politics of bills like these," says Shum. "These are real people's lives, and we can easily forget that."

Though the civil unions bill that Fran and Anna Simon had testified in favor of died in the State Affairs committee last evening, Shum hopes that his short film will continue to be shared; he plans on re-releasing it if a similar bill surfaces next year. He also says he's continuing to film the Simons for a larger, yet-to-be-named project that will dive deeper into the family's journey.

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"I am interested in stories that speak to human issues," says Shum. "I want to take a personal story and illuminate the greater issue within." Ultimately, he'd like to see his one-minute documentary reach a national audience in the fight for civil rights.

To see more of Shum's work and to follow the progress of his future filming of the Simons, visit the filmmaker's website.

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