Milk the movie
In the winter of 2008 Gus Van Sant began production on Milk. For
those of us close to Harvey, it was a long-awaited dream come true.
Over the next year a devoted crew set forth to craft the amazing film that Milk became and I was invited to document the project in still photographs. My time shooting stills on Milk was one of the most poignant times of my life. To work with and be embraced by such a stellar cast and crew was beyond surreal.
In 2009 the film garnered two Academy Awards (one to Sean Penn for best actor for his brilliant portrayal of Harvey and the other to Lance Black for his adept and deeply moving screenplay) and the prestigious Independent Spirit Award (to James Franco for best supporting Actor for his eerily accurate portrayal of Scott Smith).
The success of the film marked the beginning of a new era of heightened awareness about how important Harvey’s legacy was. Those of us who were in the spotlight had our lives forever changed, countless people sought us out as touchstones and we saw all corners of the globe awaken to a deeper appreciation of the LGBT civil rights movement.
Within the next year after the film was released, countless Harvey Milk tributes emerged and most significantly US President Barack Obama named Harvey as a posthumous recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, and also The State of California approved the creation of a yearly holiday in honor of Harvey on his Birthday, May 22.
Now, thanks to the success of Milk the movie and the groundswell that continues to follow, Harvey’s dream of being a voice for everyman has become a reality.