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Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 2008’s Milk, will be presented with the Writers Guild of America West’s 2018 Valentine Davies Award in recognition of his civil and human rights efforts and work on behalf of the LGBTQ community at the Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Feb. 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
“Dustin Lance Black is the embodiment of the Valentine Davies Award. A tireless advocate for the cause of LGBTQ+ rights, his accomplishments in that arena have been truly profound. The Board of Directors of the WGAW considers it our honor to give him this award,” WGAW president David A. Goodman said Wednesday in announcing the honor.
In addition to writing Milk, a portrait of gay activist Harvey Milk, which won both an Academy Award and Writers Guild Award for best screenplay as well as the WGAW’s Paul Selvin Award in 2009, Black was a key figure in the campaign to overturn California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. He was a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which successfully led the federal cases for marriage equality in California and Virginia with lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson, which led to the Supreme Court overturning Prop 8. In his 2012 play 8, he also dramatized the Proposition 8 trial in California.
Black, who most recently wrote the ABC miniseries When We Rise, which chronicled the beginnings of the modern gay rights movement, has served three years on the board of the Trevor Project; was one of the organizers of the LGBT March on Washington in October 2009; and is a co-founder of the Uprising of Love Coalition, which seeks to raise awareness of violence and discrimination committed against LGBTQ+ people in the international community.
Black’s credits also include HBO’s Big Love; the TV movie Pedro, about the late Real World castmember Pedro Zamora; and the biopic J. Edgar. He currently is developing the HBO telefilm Bayard, about civil rights leader Bayard Rustin; the Paramount TV limited series Lindbergh, about Charles Lindbergh; and an adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book Under the Banner of Heaven for FX, to which Ron Howard is attached to direct. Black also is set to direct the feature film The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
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