Inlaws & Outlaws

The Film

The Filmmaker

Drew Emery, Director/Producer

Based in Seattle, writer and filmmaker Drew Emery has created a significant body of work exploring themes of community, identity and belonging. After receiving his MFA in playwriting from the University of Virginia and winning the Virginia Playwriting Prize and the Howard Scammon Drama Prize, Drew moved to Seattle and began working with the late, great Alice B. Theatre, a gay & lesbian theatre for all people.

In addition to co-directing the nation's first national lesbian and gay theatre conference, Drew collaborated with director Patricia Van Kirk to create Hidden History: True Stories from Seattle's Lesbian & Gay Elders, and with actor Lewis Merkin to create Language of One, the personal odyssey of a deaf gay man. Hidden History joined forces with Hands-Off Washington and toured throughout Washington state. Language of One went on to a successful Equity showcase production at New York Deaf Theatre, which Drew directed, and a critically-acclaimed run at the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, produced by Australian Theatre of the Deaf. Other theatrical work includes Solo for Four, a short performance poem for queer youth and contributions to Voices of Christmas at the Group Theatre.

After receiving a Seattle Arts Commission Seattle Artists Award in 1998, Drew broadened his artistic work to include fiction and poetry. But it is his foundation in oral history that has led him on a path of documentary filmmaking.

In 2000, Drew received a City of Seattle ArtsUp community collaboration grant to partner with the Seattle LGBT Community Center and create The Bridge, a video documentary built around a virtual dialogue between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders and queer youth. Premiering in November 2002 at The Broadway Performance Hall, The Bridge was created to address a generational divide within the LGBT communities. By creating a collective narrative from a variety of everyday storytellers, this project became a springboard for the creation of the True Stories Project and the development of Inlaws & Outlaws.

In 2004, Drew collaborated with Eric Lane Barnes on the book for The Stops, a new musical that premiered in Seattle at The Empty Space Theatre, produced by DramaQueen. Since then, The Stops has enjoyed considerable success with well-received runs in Chicago, Richmond, Madison, San Francisco and and the 2006 National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival where it won Best Musical.

When Inlaws & Outlaws premiered to sold-out houses at the Seattle International Film Festival, Drew was chosen as a runner-up for Best Director. The film has since gone on to win the Grand Jury Award at the deadCENTER Film Festival, Best Local Film at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and was chosen Best of Fest at the Palm Springs Film Festival. The final version of the film received it's theatrical premiere at the Seattle Cinerama in 2007 and went on to an extended run at the Uptown Theatre. In 2008, Drew was honored by the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), receiving a Special Recognition for Social Change Through the Arts.

Following the theatrical premiere, Drew launched the Hearts + Minds Campaign, which, to date, has partnered with hundreds of equality organizations, schools and faith communities to present over 500 community screenings of Inlaws & Outlaws throughout the U.S. and Canada. Drew continues to tour with the film and is frequently sought after as a public speaker, guest lecturer and storytelling evangelist. Recent appearances have included the College of William & Mary, Phillips Exeter Academy, Ferris State University, McDaniel College and as a featured speaker for Drury University's annual Convocation series.

In 2011, Drew partnered with the Refugee Women's Alliance in Seattle to create ReWA Youth Take On Tobacco, an empowerment video featuring 19 refugee youth from seven countries. He then directed and produced Todos Juntos a video short for Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Drew's writing has been published in the Virginia Literary Review, The Drama Review,, RootSpeak and The Bilerico Project, in addition to his blog at Open Salon.

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