Out in the Night is a documentary that tells the story of a group of young friends, African-American lesbians who are out, one hot August night in 2006, in the gay friendly neighborhood of New York City. They are all in their late teens and early twenties and come from a low-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. Two of the women are the focus – gender non-conforming Renata Hill, a single mother with a soft heart and keen sense of humor, and petite femme Patreese Johnson, a shy and tender poet.
As they and their friends walk under the hot neon lights of tattoo parlors in the West Village, an older man sexually and violently confronts them. He says to Patreese “let me get some of that” as he points below her waist. When she says that they are gay, the man becomes violent and threatens to “fuck them straight”. He spits and throws a lit cigarette. Renata and Venice defend the group and a fight begins, captured by security cameras nearby. The man yanks out hair from Venice’s head and chokes Renata. Then, Patreese pulls a knife from her purse and swings at him. Strangers jump in to defend the women and the fight escalates. As the fight comes to an end, all get up and walk away. But 911has been called and the man involved has been stabbed. Police swarm to the scene as their radios blast out warning of a gang attack. The women are rounded up and charged with gang assault, assault and attempted murder.
Three of the women plead guilty. But Renata, Patreese, Venice and friend Terrain claim their innocence. They are called a “Gang of Killer Lesbians” by the media. In activist circles they become known as The New Jersey 4.
Director and Producer blair dorosh-walther worked for six years to bring this story to the screen. dorosh-walther received the Joyce Warshow Award from Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, was selected as a Sundance Producer Fellow, and a Fast Track fellow by Film Independent, and was awarded a special prize by ImageOut for Courage in Documentary Storytelling for Out in the Night.
Out in the Night has been awarded several festival jury awards and audience awards and screened at over fifty international festivals since it’s world premiere in June 2014. As the year comes to a close, OITN has been recognized by Alternet as one of the 12 best and most powerful documentaries of 2014, was #6 on film critic Steven Boone’s top 10 list at RogerEbert.com, and was called one of the 10 best LGBT documentaries by the Advocate. Canada’s oldest literary journal by and about women called Out in the Night one of the 14 top feminist films of 2014.
Stay Tuned for the upcoming spotlight in the Q2 release of #RAmag….. This will be EPIC…….