A Marine Story'

"Don't ask, don't tell," a controversial policy that continues to result in men and women being ejected from the military because of their sexual orientation, is the focus of an independent film set to premier Oct. 22 at the Palace Theatre in Eastwood.

Fayetteville-Manlius 2003 graduate Paris Pickard co-produced and stars in the movie, "A Marine Story," directed by Ned Farr. It depicts the life of a young woman who runs with a rough crowd, is arrested and consequently forced to change her ways. She's given a choice between jail and the military and, choosing the military, she is paired up with Alexandra, a former Marine battling her own demons.

Eagle Bulletin Editor Tami S. Zimmerman had the opportunity to interview Pickard about her stance on the movie, the policy and why the Palace Theatre should be packed with people next weekend.

EB: What inspired you to make this movie?

PP: As a co-producer and actress in this film what inspired my involvement was the chance to tell a very important story. I was intrigued by the relationships and the emotional struggles that the characters endured.

EB: Where do you personally stand with the policy?

PP: Personally, I am against the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. I think it is a blatant prejudice to ask a person to follow a different set of rules purely based on their sexuality (that really can't be argued) and that type of inequality is unconstitutional. No person giving up so much for their country already should be asked to give up their chance at happiness as well.

EB: Is this movie based on familiar or personal experience?

PP: The writer/director did have a lot of contact with service members and did research to make sure his storytelling was an accurate account of what a gay service member would experience, but this story is based on many different people. But no, Ned is not involved in the military and is in fact a straight married man. He's actually married to my co-star Dreya Weber. He equates his involvement with this issue to his parents' involvement in the civil rights movement. They marched on Washington, this is how he marches for equality.

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