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Screenwriter, Producer and LGBTQ Activist Dustin Lance Black to Speak on Campus Oct. 2

Dustin Lance Black

Events

  • President's Lecture Series
    Tues., Oct. 2 at 7:00pm
    North Cafeteria, Webb Center
  • VIP Reception & Fundraiser
    Tues., Oct. 2 at 9:00pm
    Baron & Ellin Gordon Art Galleries
    (Tickets available through ODU Out at oduout@oduout.com)
  • Production of the 8 the Play
    Oct. 3-5
    University Theatre
    Tickets and show times at www.oduartstix.com

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black will speak at Old Dominion Tuesday, Oct. 2, for the President's Lecture Series and Literary Festival.

Also a director and LGBTQ activist, Black won an Oscar and two WGA Awards for Best Original Screenplay for "Milk," the 2008 biopic of the late gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, starring Sean Penn.

His talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP at odu.edu/univevents (event code: DBL12)

Black is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which led the federal case against Proposition 8 in California 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 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.

(ODU Out and the ODU theatre department will present a performance of "8," directed by Ricardo Melendez, at 8 p.m. Oct. 3-5, and 12:30 p.m. Oct. 3-4 at the University Theatre. Part of the proceeds from the play will go to the ODU Out organization. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students. To purchase tickets call 683-5305 or visit http://oduartstix.com.)

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. His documentaries "On the Bus" (2001) and "My Life with Count Dracula" (2003) debuted to acclaim and led 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 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.

Last year, Black earned his second "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 theaters 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 2009 LGBT March on Washington, where he spoke to an audience of more than 150,000 demonstrators in front of the nation's capital.

He has published three books, 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.