Dustin Lance Black is a screenwriter, producer, director and social activist, having won the Academy Award and two WGA Awards for Best Original Screenplay for "Milk," the biopic of the late civil rights activist Harvey Milk starring Sean Penn. He is also a founding board members of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) which is leading the Federal Case against Prop 8 in CA with lawyers David Boise and Ted Olson.
In 2012 Black merged his passions with "8," a new play based on the Federal Prop 8 trial. Black’s LA cast included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly. The play was broadcast live and continues to break viewership records online. Hundreds of original productions are now scheduled across the United States.
An honors graduate of UCLA’s School of Film and Television, Black began his career as an art director and quickly transitioned to directing documentaries and commercials. Black’s documentaries "On the Bus" and "My Life With Count Dracula" debuted to acclaim and lead to a successful stint producing and directing TLC and BBC’s hit program "Faking It," which received notices for its unflinching sociological commentaries.
In 2004, Black signed on to draw on his Mormon childhood experiences in San Antonio as a writer and co-producer on HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe nominated polygamist drama "Big Love." He continued to write for the show through its third season in 2008. During that time, Black also penned the screenplay "Pedro," about the life and legacy of famed openly gay, HIV positive "Real World" cast member Pedro Zamora. The film earned Black his second WGA Award nomination when it premiered on MTV and VH1 in 2009.
In 2011, Mr. Black earned his 2nd “10 Best of the Year” award from the American Film Institute for his Clint Eastwood directed screenplay "J. Edgar" starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He recently completed "The Barefoot Bandit" based on the true story of Colton Harris-Moore for FOX, and is now adapting Jon Krakauer’s acclaimed "Under the Banner of Heaven" about Fundamentalist Mormonism for director Ron Howard. Black’s feature directorial debut "Virginia" (Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris) premiered in May 2012.
Since winning the Oscar in 2009, Black has split his creative time in order to fight for LGBTQ equality at the Federal level. Beyond working with AFER, he is on the Board of the Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ youth suicide hotline. Black has also been on an international equal rights speaking tour, and was one of a handful of organizers of the LGBT March on Washington in October 2009 where he spoke to an audience of over 150,000 demonstrators in front of the Nation’s Capital.
Mr. Black has had three books published, has written for every major screenwriting magazine, contributes to The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post, topped the list of OUT Magazine’s 40 under 40, and has repeatedly been named one of the 50 most powerful LGBT people in America today.
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