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GLAAD Media Awards- Winner Best Documentary
Spokane GLBT Film Festival- Winner Audience Choice Award for Best Film
OutTakes (NZ)- Winner Audience Award for Best Documentary
Melbourne Queer Film Festival- Winner Selector's Choice Award
San Francisco International Film Festival- Golden Gate Award Nominee


“Timely and balanced... a strong, serious effort at mixing a discussion of civil rights and a look at Americans forced to choose between love for their country and love for another human being.”
—Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

“Potent…engrossing…brisk and smart.”
—Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Compelling...ASK NOT has startling facts on its side...but the gay soldiers
make the most potent case, simply by doing their jobs.”
—Jesse Ellison, Newsweek

“Award-winning Bay Area filmmaker Johnny Symons adds to his string of excellent documentaries on gay culture with this stinging examination of the policy’s failure and injustice.”
—Deanna Quinones, San Francisco International Film Festival

“The film makes an irrefutable case for repealing the folly of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ ”
—David Wiegand, “Chronicle Picks: A Feast of Film at the Fest,” San Francisco Chronicle

“With perfect timing, Johnny Symons has given us a marvelous, stirring gift of a film…Go see it.”
—David Mixner

“The country’s flagging military is now accepting criminals and youth with mental issues, and has even lowered the IQ standards, but the Armed Services continue to refuse to take “out and proud” gays and lesbians. In his excellent new film, ASK NOT, Johnny Symons explores the irony of the current situation…Symons’ film is an elegant case asking not to let this continue.”
—Kathleen Wilkinson, Curve Magazine

“A riveting documentary”

“Every registered American voter should be required to see this film. It’s amazing in this day and age that injustices such as these still reside in the “land of the free.”

"In addition to being the story of the policy itself, it is also the story of the effect it has on the troops currently serving in the closet, those who have been discharged under it, and of the activist efforts to repeal it."
Pam's House Blend

“Couldn't be timelier, just as gay America waits for President Obama
to dismantle DADT as he had promised to do.”
—Lewis Whittington, Edge Magazine

“The fast-paced film is both entertaining and thought-provoking, and offers viewers an insightful look at a growing movement… a film that everyone can enjoy, regardless of sexual orientation or political beliefs.”

“Anyone who denies that the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a failure needs to watch director Johnny Symons’ new documentary ASK NOT.”
—Carey Norris, Birmingham Weekly

“Shows just how damaging and pointless the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy truly is ... Symons persuasively makes his case by clearly and coherently presenting the facts.”
Pittsburgh Post Gazette Blog

“A vivid behind-the-scenes portrait of the movement to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell"…”[a] singular achievment.”
—David Lamble, Bay Area Reporter

“Insightful…an effective examination of one of the many ways gay Americans are still second-class citizens.” Rating: ∗∗∗∗
—Tim Plant, Metro Weekly, Washington, DC

“This pointed documentary…explores the relevance of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the era of the war on terror. Grade: A∗
—Grant Butler, The Oregonian

“Johnny Symons has crafted a smart, balanced, provocative documentary that is as informative as it is emotionally charged. The blend of testimonial and archival news footage lends credibility to both sides of the issue. Andrew Gersh’s editing is masterfully executed.”
Splash Magazine

"The film is poignant and thought provoking and would lend itself to a very solid discussion about discrimination and the rights of the individual in the military."
Library Journal

"Three storylines are woven together to present a cohesive argument as to why DADT should be eliminated...Clips from politicians, activists, and scholars help ground the storylines in the contemporary social situation and the historical context."
Teaching Sociology

"Three Stars! Recommended."
Video Librarian

“Veteran filmmaker Johnny Symons has turned out an incisive and compelling documentary on a contentious issue.”
Chicago Pride

“[Johnny Symons’] most provocative film to date…Symons creates a visible stage for people to interact with the tougher issues in the gay and lesbian community.”
—Michelle Michael, On Screen Magazine

“Since its adoption in 1993, more than 12,000 queer soldiers have been discharged, while the remaining 65,000 are compelled to keep their sexual identity a secret. Symons, who spotlighted the hurdles of gay and lesbian Americans in DADDY & PAPA and BEYOND CONCEPTION, explores this under-reported situation in the straight-shooting documentary ASK NOT.”
—Michael Fox, SF360

"Tells a very human story."
—Malcom Maclachlan, Capitol Weekly

“Praise to Johnny Symons for sternly continuing the documentation of the various aspects of contemporary gay culture and offering more human and real portrayals than those usually offered by mainstream fictional movies.”
—Jano Cortigo, Edge Magazine

“A thorough look at the military’s homophobic policies.”
—Brandon Judell, Indiewire

“Compelling…thoughtful and poignant.”
—Anthony Falzone, Executive Director, Fair Use Project, Stanford Law School

“After all that’s been done to try to suppress, conceal and deny the truth about gays and lesbians in uniform, ASK NOT is a great gift. A rigorous and heartfelt look at the true costs of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the film gives voice to men and women who too often can’t be heard, and brings light to a subject that—absurdly—remains very much in the shadows.”
—Dr. Nathaniel Frank, Senior Research Fellow, Palm Center, Author of "Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America"

 “A must see film.”
On Top Magazine

“Polished and informative...puts a face on the people who have been affected by Don't Ask Don't Tell…If you don't know much about Don't Ask Don't Tell, or the history of gays in the American military, ASK NOT is a great place to begin your education.”
—Johnnie Walker, Torontoist

“Takes audiences to the frontline of this intensely personal battle.”
—Andre Soares, Alternative Film Guide

“Through heartbreaking personal interviews, fascinating history, and shocking statistics, ASK NOT presents a damning case for the repeal of a harmful, unjust law and acts as an impassioned plea to the American public that something must be done to change it.”
—Jes Gonzalez and Adam Lubitow, ImageOut

“A straightforward and detailed account…Symons makes his point well with specific statistics and clearly delivered reasoning. Personal testimonials from active gay soldiers, as well as discharged veterans, are particularly moving.”
—Rose Egge, The Spectator

“Weaves a full picture of Don't Ask, Don't Tell's effect that focuses on the immediacy of the issue.”
—Jessica Carreras, PrideSource.com

“An impassioned and ruthless investigation of the failures of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Symons does an excellent job of balancing the political and personal stories of the [policy]. The number of active duty and retired military personnel he was able to convince to speak on camera is particularly moving.”
Steady Diet of Film

“Johnny Symons’ documentary [includes] the compelling story of “Perry,” an out and proud Castro Street queer who goes back into the closet to join the Army in Iraq and slowly but surely gives up his queer identity for the safety of being a soldier.
Willamette Week


Interviews with Johnny Symons
Courier Press
Windy City Times
Johnny’s blog entry
Interview with Fred Fox
Interviews with Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski
Alex, Jarrod, & the Voices of Honor Tour in HRC Backstory
Jarrod's blog
on touring with ASK NOT