Pioneers of Queer Cinema
Screening Dates
  • September 17, 2022 6:30

Challenging, enthralling, impassioned filmmaking … Brilliant and gripping.”

Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times

Rob Epstein intended his follow-up to Word Is Out (also screening as part of this series) to focus on California’s Proposition 6, commonly known as the Briggs Initiative—a homophobic gambit that would ban gays and lesbians from teaching in the state’s schools. It was during this period of tumult that Harvey Milk, the first non-incumbent openly gay man in the United States to win an election for public office, came to Epstein’s attention. Epstein’s film is a powerful record of the beloved activist/politician’s inspirational life and work, which illuminates a key period in the struggle for gay rights. Through deep archival biographical material and emotion-filled reminiscences of friends and colleagues, Epstein reveals an intimate and complex portrait of the many sides of Milk (including his irreverent sense of humour). From Milk’s improbable, heroic rise to his horrific, senseless murder, Epstein’s work serves as a potent and unwavering eyewitness to history. – Todd Wiener

Academy Award, Best Documentary Feature (1985)

Immensely moving. Combines real emotional urgency with a most compelling grasp of the filmmaking craft.” Stephen Harvey, Village Voice

preceded by

Coming Out
USA 1972
Arthur J. Bressan Jr.
10 min. DCP

Arthur J. Bressan Jr. gives us a documentation of San Francisco’s 1972 Gay Freedom Day parade utilizing simple, non-synch sound, on-the-street interviews, and joyous footage of the day. The film’s rich, saturated colours vividly bring out the wild colourful costumes of San Francisco’s handsome young homosexuals who still seem fresh off the high of Stonewall just three years earlier. – Jenni Olson

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive on behalf of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project

Extraordinary [and] groundbreaking … Though queer culture has changed enormously over the past three decades, Word Is Out remains timely.” Melissa Anderson, Village Voice