For many high school students, maintaining an identity at an age when all you want to do is to fit in can be challenging. But what happens when conforming is not an option, and "being yourself" sets you dangerously far apart from everybody else?
Out in the Silence chronicles the journey of filmmaker Joe Wilson, who is drawn back to his conservative hometown of Oil City, PA, by the plea of a worried parent. After announcing his engagement to a man in the local newspaper, Wilson experiences a backlash of hate mail and angry reader comments. What he did not expect was a letter written by a desperate mother, describing the heartbreaking torments that her 16-year-old son is subjected to at school on a daily basis--begging Wilson for help.
The hour-long documentary follows Wilson as he meets C.J., a passionate basketball player and former jock whose life turned upside down after other students discover he is gay.
Together, Wilson, C.J., and his mother challenge the school board, conservative leaders, and the deeply-rooted traditions that perpetuate the silent acceptance of discrimination among generations of Oil City residents. The film portrays the ongoing struggle for justice and equality in communities across the country and depicts the change that is possible when people search for what they have in common rather than what that set them apart.
Not In Our Town features an excerpt from the film about CJ and his mother, who urge the Oil City community and their school board to create an environment where all students feel safe and included. To watch the short film, click here.