Monday, January 21, 2008

Jan 18, 2008 Production Start press release



NEW YORK, January 18, 2008 – Production begins next week on location in San Francisco on the biographical drama Milk, to star Academy Award winner Sean Penn as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk for Academy Award-nominated director Gus Van Sant. Joining Mr. Penn in the cast are Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, Victor Garber, Lucas Grabeel, Denis O’Hare, Alison Pill, Stephen Spinella, and James Franco. The announcement was made today by Focus Features president of production John Lyons.

Milk is being produced by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, the Academy Award-winning producers of American Beauty, through The Jinks/Cohen Company. Milk is a co-production between Groundswell Productions and Focus Features, which are also co-financing the film. Milk will be distributed worldwide by Focus.

Executive-producing the film are Groundswell’s Bruna Papandrea, Milk unit production manager Barbara A. Hall, William Horberg, and Dustin Lance Black (Big Love), who wrote the original screenplay. Groundswell CEO Michael London will also serve in a producing capacity.

Harvey Milk (1930-1978) was an activist and politician, and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America; in 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors’ board of San Francisco. The following year, both he and the city’s mayor George Moscone were shot to death by another city supervisor, Dan White. Mr. Milk was previously the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary feature The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), directed by Rob Epstein and produced by Richard Schmiechen. Milk is the first non-documentary feature to explore the man’s life and career.

Mr. Hirsch (who was directed by Mr. Penn in Into the Wild) is portraying Cleve Jones, who was an activist on the front lines with Mr. Milk and who is a historical consultant to Milk. Mr. Brolin (of No Country for Old Men) is cast as Mr. White. Mr. Luna (Y tu mamá también) plays Jack Lira, Mr. Milk’s second lover in the film. Mr. Garber (Alias) is cast as Mayor Moscone. Mr. Grabeel (High School Musical) is portraying Danny Nicoletta, a
friend and supporter of Mr. Milk’s. Tony Award winners Mr. O’Hare and Mr. Spinella are playing, respectively, state senator John Briggs and attorney/city supervisor candidate Rick Stokes. Ms. Pill (Dan in Real Life) is cast as Anne Kronenberg, a close friend and political aide to Mr. Milk, and Mr. Franco (the Spider-Man movies) is portraying Scott Smith, Mr. Milk’s first lover in the film and his campaign manager.

Mr. Lyons said, “Harvey Milk has been an inspiration to a generation. Now, a new generation will hear, and learn from, his story. The caliber of the artists coming together to make this film, entirely in San Francisco, ensures that a hero’s legacy will be respected.”

Focus Features International is handling overseas sales for the movie. Kahli Small, Focus senior vice president, production, is supervising for Mr. Lyons.

Harris Savides, in his fifth feature collaboration with Mr. Van Sant, is the cinematographer on Milk. Bill Groom, whose previous credits include The Pledge (directed by Mr. Penn), is the production designer on the film. Danny Glicker, whose credits include Transamerica and Towelhead, has joined Milk as the costume designer.

Gus Van Sant has directed such films as Mala Noche (a restored version of which was re-released last year), Drugstore Cowboy (which won Best Film and Best Director from the National Society of Film Critics), My Own Private Idaho (which earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay), To Die For (for which Nicole Kidman won a Golden Globe Award), Good Will Hunting (for which he received a Best Director Oscar nomination), Finding Forrester (which was honored at the 2001 Berlin International Film Festival), Elephant (which won the top prize, the Palme d’Or, at the 2003 Cannes International Film Festival), and Paranoid Park (which will be released in March).

In addition to the aforementioned multi-Oscar-winning American Beauty, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen have produced films including Tim Burton’s Big Fish; Peyton Reed’s Down with Love; Joseph Ruben’s The Forgotten; and John August’s The Nines. Their producing credits for television include this season’s new hit series Pushing Daisies.

Groundswell Productions is an independent financing and production company, founded by Academy Award-nominated producer Michael London in February 2006, with office headquarters located in Beverly Hills. Groundswell is currently in post-production on Appaloosa, for New Line, with Ed Harris directing and starring opposite Renée Zellweger and Viggo Mortensen; and The Marc Pease Experience, for Paramount Vantage, directed by Todd Louiso and starring Jason Schwartzman and Ben Stiller. This month, Groundswell is world-premiering The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and based on the Michael Chabon novel, starring Sienna Miller, Peter Sarsgaard, and Nick Nolte, at the Sundance Film Festival; Smart People, directed by Noam Murro and starring Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page, and Sarah Jessica Parker, will be released by Miramax Films this spring; and The Visitor, a co-production with Participant Productions, from writer/director Tom McCarthy and starring Richard Jenkins, will be released this spring by Overture Films.

Focus Features ( ) is a motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company committed to bringing moviegoers the most original stories from the world’s most innovative filmmakers.

In addition to Milk, current and upcoming Focus Features releases include Joe Wright’s Atonement, winner of 2 Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture [Drama]; Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes, which is world-premiering this week as the Opening-Night film of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; Bharat Nalluri’s Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams; Shane Acker’s animated fantasy epic 9, starring Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly; Henry Selick’s 3-D stop-motion animated feature Coraline, starring Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher; Cary Fukunaga’s immigrant thriller Sin Nombre; Joel and Ethan Coen’s Burn After Reading, starring George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and Brad Pitt; writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s new film, tentatively titled The Limits of Control, starring Isaach De Bankolé; and Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, winner of the Best Picture [Golden Lion] Award at the 2007 Venice International Film Festival.
Focus Features is part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.


Raul Zambrana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raul Zambrana said...

Hey Guys..

Just sharing my thoughts with you... Here is an article I wrote on my blog...

Sorry if it does offend you and I hope it does not, but wanted to share my thuoghts with everyone. Take care! Raul

On December 5th, I was reading "The New York Times" online and came across and article about a video posted in the Funny Or Die website called: "Prop 8 -- The Musical". At that point the video had received more than 1.2 million hits. The comedic song-and-dance diatribe about the California ballot initiative to define marriage as existing only between a man and a woman stars a cast of dozens, including John C. Reilly, Neil Patrick Harris, Maya Rudolph, and Jack Black as Jesus Christ.

If you watch the video, you will laugh your pants off... as much as I did. I decided to send the link to my friends so they could enjoy it as much as I did.

One of my friends decided to send me a reply which I will share with you in a moment. From what I gather, I guess she did not like the video much... but we will get back to that in a second...

Today, December 14th, I went to see the movie "Milk" with Sean Penn. Some people might say it is a "gay" movie or issue. The fact is that it is none of that. It does deal with the essentials of our basic rights as human beings and as American citizens. The movie characters constantly remind you, in their own ways and by Harvey Milk, that this is an issue where we are all equal citizens and should be treated as such by the Constitution and the basic rights of our Government. Finally, it does deal with the issue of religion and how it does constantly invades the basic right of "separation of church and state". I do recommend everyone to see this movie as it will strike a cord deep inside of you that will move you to be more understanding of everyone as people and not as a group, ethnic, religious group or stereotype. In my own words, this movie is just "perfection" and I do hope it wins as many awards as possible. Hopefully, by doing so, it will bring attention to equality for everyone.

If you do take this movie and change the names and situation to the current issues facing California over "Proposition 8" (marriage rights for all citizens), it its almost like story is repeating itself.

Proposition 6, which is a central plot point of the movie "Milk", was an initiative on the California State ballot on November 7th 1978,and was more commonly known as The Briggs Initiative. Sponsored by John Briggs, a conservative state legislator from Orange County, the failed initiative would have banned gays and lesbians, and possibly anyone who supported gay rights, from working in California's public schools. The Briggs Initiative was the first failure in a conservative movement that started with the successful campaign headed by Anita Bryant and her organization "Save our Children" in Dade County, Florida to repeal a local gay rights ordinance. The movie also deals with the different state initiatives where local state constitutions have added ammendments to ban same-sex civil unions or marriages.

On today's California issue of Proposition 8, the religious far right (i.e. the Mormon and Catholic Church) decided to take the lead on this proposition and be the guiding light of the movement. Mormons? The ones that say a man can marry as many women as he wants (is that the basic sanctity of marriage?) or the Catholics (children sexual predators?) but I digress... There is a lot to be said about Proposition 8 as to background information and other current issues. I do suggest reading Wikipedia's Proposition 8 section to truly understand the current issues at hand.

The movie does a great job at combining real footage with acted ones. I do highly recommend watching the documentary "The Life and Times of Harvey Milk" (circa 1982) where you will be able to see the actual footage and interviews with those personally involved with the story, such as the Harvey's campaign manager and friends . And in the movie, three of the characters are played by the actual people involved.

Now, lets go back to my so-called friend...

After I sent the video link of the "Prop.8-The Musical" to my friends, I got a nasty reply from Lori Mercil, a person who was my roommate while living in Germany and working as flight attendants. Here is her reply:

"Hey Raul, The US has a democratic system and the people of CA have spoken. How intolerant of you and the angry gay movement to be shove your ways into people's faces, take crosses and stomp on them and batter little old ladies ect.... because they do not believe the same way as you. Shame on you!!!! I find the people who scream intolerance, are the very ones who are the biggest INTOLERANT people!! Lori"

I was shocked and hurt by her choice of words. After much thinking, I decided to reply to her and here is my response:


Don’t take it so personal... It was a joke...

I guess “Christianity” took the best of you...

Sorry to see that you cannot take a joke, enjoy it and if you don’t like it, just don’t pay attention to it.

Also, I say to you, that tolerance is taught by all religions and seems that, whatever religion, cult or group you are following, does not teach that.

As a woman, my dear Lori, you need to understand that it was not until 1920 that women fought to change the Constitution of the United States and were allowed to vote.

In addition, as recent as 1965, blacks had restricted civil rights and civil liberties. State-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education. Generally, the remaining laws that prohibited blacks from having equal rights were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Furthermore, Lori, the United States Bill of Rights States the following:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

As you can see, proposition 8 violates the entire bases of the USA Bill of Rights – which covers all the States of the Union and citizens.

See, my dear Lori, gays are fighting as hard as women and blacks did for many years to have equal rights... And that is what is happening in California today. The Constitution of the United States has been changed many times to create equality for everyone... Including women and blacks.

It will be a matter of time before people like me (who did not choose to be gay – regardless of what you might think – I didn’t choose to be this way) can have the same rights that you have.

Just look around the World...

Nations that recognize gay marriage:

Canada -- In June of 2005, the Canadian Parliament enacted a law allowing legal marriage for same-sex couples.
Belgium -- The second nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003.
Netherlands -- The first country to grant gay marriage in 2001.
Norway -- Became the sixth country to legalize same-sex marriage on May 11, 2008.
South Africa -- South Africa became the fifth nation to recognize gay marriage in 2005.
Spain -- Spain became the fourth nation to allow gay marriage on June 29, 2005.

And the list keeps getting longer and better...

Nations that allow same-sex partnerships or unions:

Brazil -- the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul currently allows same-sex civil unions (June 2006).
Croatia -- Civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been granted since 2003.
Denmark -- Legal civil partnerships have been allowed since 1989.
Finland -- Has offered registered partnership benefits since September 2001.
France -- Pacte Civil de Solidarité” (PACS), or “Civil Solidarity Pacts,” were instituted in France on November 9, 1999.
Germany -- Gay couples can register as "Life Partnerships," granting lesser financial and pension benefits than marriage.
Hungary -- Gay couples have been protected under common-law marriages since 1995; however they are not eligible for legal marriage.
Iceland -- Since 1996, gay Icelanders have been protected under registered partnerships.
Luxembourg -- Civil partnership legislation modeled after France's PACS were introduced in Luxembourg in 2004.
Mexico -- Same sex civil unions were legalized in Mexico City in November 2006 and in the state of Coahuila on January of 2007, essentially making civil unions legal in all of Mexico (by law, each Mexican state must recognize the laws granted to individuals of the other states).
New Zealand -- In December, 2004, New Zealand enacted legislation recognizing same-sex civil unions.
Norway -- Since 1996, gay Norwegians have been protected under registered partnerships.
Portugal -- Same-sex partners have the same rights as opposite-sex partners in common law marriage.
Sweden -- Swedish same-sex couples have been able to register under domestic partnership laws since 1995.
Switzerland -- Same-sex couples are given limited legal benefits with civil recognition.
United Kingdom -- Domestic partners can register under the Civil Partnership Act. This legislation took affect in December 5, 2005 giving registered same-sex couples all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities of married heterosexual couples. The Civil Partnership Act applies across all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

In the United States:

US States that allow same-sex partnerships or unions:

Connecticut -- Although Connecticut defines marriage as between a man and woman, it became the second U.S. state to grant same-sex civil unions in April, 2005.
New Hampshire -- New Hampshire, home of the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, became the 4th state behind Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut to offer civil unions. Same-sex partners were allowed to register for civil unions in January 2008. More on New Hampshire Civil Unions
Oregon -- Under Oregon's new domestic partnership law gay and lesbian couples are eligible for all the state-wide rights and benefits of marriage. Oregon also outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Vermont -- The first U.S. state to offer same-sex civil unions in 2000. Learn about Vermont civil unions.
Washington -- On April 21, 2007, Washington's domestic partnership bill was signed into law giving gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits of marriage.

US states that recognize gay marriage:

Connecticut -- In a 4 to 3 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, making it the third state to allow legal gay marriage.
New Jersey -- New Jersey is the third U.S. state to offer same-sex civil unions behind Vermont and Connecticut. The new same-sex civil unions law, which goes into affect on February 19, 2007, grants gay and lesbian couples the same rights as marriage. *(Although same-sex unions in New Jersey are classified as civil unions, couples are granted the same rights as married heterosexual couples.)
New York -- By a May 29, 2008 directive, New York only recognizes gay marriages from couples legally married outside of the state. read more
Massachusetts -- On May 17, 2004 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. The State of Massachusetts also issues licenses to gay couples from New Mexico and Rhode Island since neither state explicitly prohibits same-sex marriage.

Even though Don and I have been together for almost 12 years (more than most ‘straight’ couples will ever be together), we cannot file taxes together, have the same rights to visitation in a hospital or intensive care unit (God forbids!) or even access to joint finances and insurance... And even in most states, adopt a child in need.

The day will come were everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, will have the same rights... Not in the next few years, but it will come and I can’t wait for that day!

We have been through this “intolerant and narrow-minded” personality of yours before... You have major issues of not understanding and respecting others (remember the argument you had with Khaldoun in the apartment in Frankfurt because you could not open your mind to understand his religion – believing that yours is the only “right” one and tried to impose it on him and me?)

Lastly, Lori, go ahead and delete me from all of your address books, emails, facebook, etc... I don’t want to be friends or even have any contact with people that are narrow-minded, intolerant and cannot open their hearts and minds to equality, liberty and tolerance for all.

Take care and I do hope you have a good-fulfilling life.

Raul Zambrana"

I would like to see people that think like Lori to see this movie. It will show and make everyone understand that it is a basic human rights issue where we should treat everyone equally and respect.

That's my 2 cents for the day...