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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Academy Award winning writer and director to visit Aggieland

Dustin+Lance+Black
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Dustin Lance Black

From “Milk” to “J. Edgar,” Dustin Lance Black’s film repertoire has been referred to as socially conscious and progressive. 

Black, who won an Academy Award for best screenplay for his work on “Milk” — a film on the first openly gay man to be voted into a major public office in America — is also a social activist and one of the founding members of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, AFER, which successfully led the federal cases for marriage equality in California and Virginia. Black will give a lecture on his journey as an artist from Texas to the steps of the Supreme Court Wednesday in Rudder Theatre.

Jack Hansen, president of Screenwriting, Acting, Movie Production and university leadership studies senior, said movies like “Milk” are crucial to film and culture.

“As much as we love films about superheroes or the next Star Wars film or the big, fun blockbusters, we also need to make sure we have films about real people who did real life things,” Hansen said. “And I think movies like ‘Milk’ or ‘Straight Outta Compton’ or ‘Twelve Years a Slave’— it’s good to have these films that document social progression because a lot of times these minorities don’t get a voice in big-budget Hollywood media.”

Hansen said he sees these films as opportunities for old, forgotten stories to take on new relevance.

“When I first heard of ‘Milk’, I had no idea who Harvey Milk was, and the film drew my attention towards those historic points and the events of Harvey Milk’s life,” Hansen said. “So it’s cool to see a writer dramatize and put his passion into filmmaking to bring these stories to life.”

Denika Soria, acting chair of SWAMP and university business studies junior, said she is glad Black will make an appearance at A&M.

“I’m surprised that somebody who won an Academy Award is coming over here,” Soria said. “I think it’s great we’re able to be exposed to an activist such as himself. Because, I mean, as a predominantly conservative school, I think it’s good to be exposed to that.”

Soria, who was born in Mexico, said she thinks honest representations of minorities in media are critical.

“Whenever I see something significantly Hispanic, I feel a sort of nostalgia,” Soria said. “I think everybody should be able to experience that, and sometimes it’s really hard to come by.”

Black’s lecture will be at 6:30 p.m.  in Rudder Theatre. Tickets are free and can be reserved online or at the MSC Box Office. 

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