Thursday, July 25, 2013

"I Thought It Was Forever" Hits D.C. Big Screen

How does someone respond when a spouse comes out as gay? Why would you try to make that type of marriage work? Would you try to kill the person or yourself? Those questions and many more were answered as tears, laughter, anger and cheers filled the packed Wechsler Theater at American University, in Washington, D.C. July 20. "I Thought It Was Forever," a film about people who were married to someone secretly gay, hit the big screen. "It was very timely and hard to watch because that was my life," said a woman who did not want to be identified. 
Photo Courtesy of Lawrence Larry Dortch
The nearly one-hour documentary features seven people, two are gay and five are straight. At one point in their lives, they were all in traditional marriages. Through candid and tough on-camera testimonials, each person gives an emotional and at times, uplifting reality of life before, during and after a spouse secretly came out. "You never really get over it and for people to suggest by a certain time you should be able to cope, that's an insult," said Carolyn Lowengart. Lowengart was married more than 30 years, before she found out her first love was gay.

With the recent decision by the U.S Supreme Court that drastically changed the Defense of Marriage Act, many in the audience felt the film was the missing message that's often overshadowed by traditional news coverage of same-sex marriage. The court's decision means the federal government cannot discriminate against same-sex couples, when it comes to benefits in states where same-sex marriages are legal.
Marc Gravallese (holding microphone) responds to questions from the audience at the Washington, D.C. screening  (photo courtesy of Jeff Ray)
Not everyone believes the systemic recognition is the stop sign needed to prevent people from hiding their sexuality. "Until families and churches on a large scale accept gay people, this (secretly gay people entering into a traditional marriage) is going to keep happening," said Marc Gravallese, one of the men featured in the film. Gravallese was married 16 years and says he came out twice, before he and his now ex-wife agreed to divorce.

Photos courtesy of Lawrence Larry Dortch and Jeff Ray
We'll keep you posted on what's next for the film, as "I Thought It Was Forever" has been submitted to the Omaha Film Festival, the Portland Oregon's Women's Film Festival, the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, and the True/False Film Festival. To view the trailer, log on to

"I Thought It Was Forever" is a Southern Belle Productions film. Maniko Barthelemy is the CEO of Southern Belle Productions.  You can e-mail her directly at 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thank you for purchasing tickets to the July 20, one night only screening in Washington, D.C. of "I Thought It Was Forever." Many of you are coming to the screening at American University from different states.

We want to ensure you navigate without headaches to the parking lot on campus closest to the Wechsler Theater. The theater is inside of the Mary Graydon Center, near the Butler Pavilion.

Please follow the directions below and contact Maniko Barthelemy at (240) 274-9713, if you have any questions.

DIRECTIONS to the Wechsler Theater at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
  • ·        Once you reach the traffic circle on Massachusetts Avenue, NW near American University, the Katzen Arts Center will be on your right at the intersection of Ward Circle and Nebraska Avenue, NW.
  • ·        Veer to the right like you are going to the Katzen Arts Center and be prepared to make a quick left turn at the traffic light, directly in front the Katzen Center’s parking garage.
  • ·        Once you turn left, you should pass a bus stop on your right.
  • ·        At the first stop sign, you will be facing the Butler Pavilion and underpass.
  • ·        At the third stop sign, turn right, into the Butler Pavilion parking garage.
  • ·        Park on the 3rd level on the right side where you’ll see a sign for the campus book store.
  • ·        Someone will be standing at the entrance door waiting to escort you to the Wechsler Theater, once you park. 
  •     Parking is free.

·         If you get lost on campus, call Maniko Barthelemy at (240) 274-9713. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Secret Homosexuality, Adultery and Marriages all Unravel

"I Thought It Was Forever" Screens in Washington, D.C.
What would you do if you found out your spouse was secretly gay? With the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, many people may think there is no reason for anyone to conceal their sexual attraction. But research shows, nearly two million marriages are struggling because of a painful secret that eventually interrupts the plans to live happily together forever. 

In "I Thought It Was Forever" seven diverse people give a powerful and  passionate real answer to the uncomfortable and unnerving question. The film puts a microscope on misconceptions and stereotypes that often flash through traditional news stories and peels away at every emotion most people would be too afraid to honestly share on-camera. Thoughts of suicide, depression, compromising, counseling, and forgiveness are just some of the ways healing gradually wrapped around everyone in the film. 

The documentary, directed by Maniko Barthelemy, screens at American University, Saturday, July 20 at the Wechsler Theater and is nearly sold out. 

To view the trailer, log on to Please comment on the trailer.

For ticket information, log on to

You can e-mail Maniko Barthelemy at