Dustin Lance Black is a director, producer and screenwriter, and a social activist in the tradition of Harvey Milk.
In 2009 Black won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Milk, the film starring Sean Penn that chronicled the momentous final months of the LGBT civil rights activist before he was assassinated, in 1978.
Black will present Harvey Milk, Proposition 8 and Me on May 8 at Elmhurst College.
In addition to his work as a screenwriter and filmmaker, Black is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which successfully led the federal case against Proposition 8 in California and continues to work for LGBT equality today. In 2012 Black merged his creative and civil rights work to write 8, a play that portrays the closing arguments in the federal trial that led to the overturning of Prop 8 and the establishment of marriage equality in the nation’s largest state. The Los Angeles cast for 8 included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly. The play has been staged in eight countries and all 50 states.
Black also has served on the board of the Trevor Project, a national nonprofit that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people. In 2011 Black helped to give the Trevor Project’s hotline call center a permanent home, in Harvey Milk’s old camera shop in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.
His current projects include The Barefoot Bandit, a screenplay based on the true story of outlaw Colton Harris-Moore, for 20th Century Fox; an adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s book Under the Banner of Heaven, about fundamentalist Mormonism, for director Ron Howard; and a miniseries for ABC on the LGBTQ rights movement in America.
Black’s talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center. A book signing will follow the lecture. Admission is $10 for the general public and free for Elmhurst College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available online or at the door, depending on availability. For more information, call (630) 617-3390.