Wednesday, May 22, 2013

575 CASTRO ST. Harvey Milk Day Update

I have two exciting bits of news to share about my short film, 575 Castro St. today.

Harvey Visits the 8th Graders
First and foremost I just have to share that I had the opportunity to present the film to the 8th Grade class at Brandeis Hillel Day School this afternoon and had a fantastically inspiring experience with the kids talking about Harvey as the gay (and Jewish) hero that he was. Here in California, the law that set out May 22nd as Harvey Milk Day also encourages public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises.

In my introduction to the film I spoke a bit about who Harvey was and how FilmInFocus.com had asked me to make this short film for the Milk website back in 2009; and then asked the kids to think about why Harvey was so focused on how important it is for people to come out.

I confess I brought along a box full of HRC equals sign buttons to hand out to the kids afterwards — yes, I have some political bones to pick with HRC but the ubiquitous and highly meaningful symbol was too valuable to resist. It was incredibly moving to see most of the kids pinning the buttons to their jackets and backpacks without hesitation, and to know that they and their generation are literally making the world safer for LGBT people.

For any of you California educators out there — I have a great little double-sided one-page hand out you can use to present the film to your class as a Harvey Milk Day activity next year. You can use the handout to guide the discussion and show the film directly at the FilmInFocus.com 575 Castro St. page or the Sundance Screening Room YouTube page (just send me a Facebook message and I will get you the handout).

Watch at the Sundance Screening Room & Elsewhere
I’m also proud to share that there is a brand new opportunity for everyone to see the film by visiting the Sundance Screening Room YouTube page where it is being freshly showcased for Harvey Milk Day.



As always, San Franciscans and visiting tourists can view the film in the most perfect venue I could ever have imagined: The HRC Action Center & Store which is located at the now legendary address of Harvey Milk's old Castro Camera shop (yes, that would be 575 Castro St.).

Working with our awesome GLBT Historical Society the HRC folks have created a wonderful historical display about Harvey Milk and Castro Camera. A prominent part of the display is an installation of my film, 575 Castro St. exhibited on a continual loop, with a set of headphones so you can listen to the soundtrack while you watch.

Of course the most amazing thing about this is the fact that not only was my film footage shot at this address (in 2009 when it was the empty Castro Camera Store set of Gus Van Sant's Milk) but the audio of Harvey Milk talking about his wishes in the event of his assassination was also recorded in this very room (not upstairs in his apartment as fictionally depicted in Milk).

Big continuing gratitude to everyone at FilmInFocus.com, the GLBT Historical Society, HRC and also the Harvey Milk Foundation for their ongoing work maintaining the legacy of Harvey Milk.