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Local gay athlete Jason Collins attends President Obama’s State of the Union

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Local star basketball center Jason Collins, who attended Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, Calif. will be sitting next to First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday evening (Jan. 28) along with two survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombing and other distinguished guests.

Collins, who made headlines for being the first professional athlete to come out as gay, will also be in the honored seats with a teacher-of-the-year, the fire chief of Moore, Oklahoma where there was severe tornado damage and a teen who designed a marshmallow-shooting cannon.

“He seems like a terrific young man, and I told him I couldn’t be prouder,” President Barack Obama said after he first spoke to Collins.

Collins will also be part of a new documentary in the works called “Game Face” by director Michiel Thomas, who lives in Studio City. His film project interviews Collins, but also involves a college player who is experiencing a coming-out journey (but is not yet out), and a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter Fallon Fox.

Thomas just found out this week that he will be receiving a grant from the California Institute of Contemporary Arts to finish up his movie, as well as a matching grant from the charitable organization.

"The grant will help me immensely, and this is a very timely project," Thomas said, pointing out that LGBT athletes at the winter Olympics Games in Russia, with anti-gay laws, will dominate the news soon, too. "Some people feel uncomfortable about having LGBT athletes in sports, and this is the chance to finally break all stereotypes, by following professional and college LGBT athletes during their careers."

Stay tuned for more details about Thomas and the “Game Face” project, but you can donate or find out more about the movie by going to: http://www.gamefacedoc.com.

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