Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

‘When We Rise’ filming coming to SF

A scene from the 1979 White Night Riots. Photo: Dan Nicoletta.

A scene from the 1979 White Night Riots. Photo: Dan Nicoletta.

Filming of the ABC TV miniseries When We Rise, based in part on the memoir of Harvey Milk confidante Cleve Jones, is set to take place in San Francisco April 28 to May 8, according to a city film commission official.

The scenes reenacted here are expected to include the 1978 Gay Freedom Day parade, as the LGBT Pride parade was then known, as well as the 1979 White Night Riots. The latter refers to the fiery battles between police and residents that erupted after a jury convicted Milk assassin Dan White only of manslaughter, rather than murder.

Jones, who lives in the Castro, went on to become a well-known AIDS and labor activist. His book is set to be released on his 62nd birthday, October 11.

He said although the film is not a documentary, “We’re going to do our best to have it be as truthful as possible. I think we all have a very keen sense of responsibility to make sure that the overarching narrative is accurate – though I’m sure many people will point out many things that aren’t quite accurate,” he quipped.

Manijeh Fata, a film coordinator with the city’s film commission, said most of the filming would take place in the Castro, although scenes would also be recreated at City Hall. Producers are expected to put out a call for volunteer extras. The film is currently being shot in Vancouver, Canada.

Milk became the first out LGBT elected official in California when he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977. White, a former supervisor, assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone in City Hall in November 1978.

Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for the 2008 Milk biopic, also wrote the screenplay for When We Rise.

The Castro has been used by several LGBT-related movie and television film crews in recent years. Whole swaths of the neighborhood were decorated to recall the early 1970s for Milk in January 2008. More recently HBO’s Looking, about the modern-day lives of three gay men living in San Francisco, filmed inside various businesses in the gayborhood and at nearby Dolores Park, as did  Netflix series Sense 8, which also utilized the 2014 Dyke March to film scenes involving the shows’ lesbian and transgender female couple.

Fata said people associated with When We Rise are scheduled to appear Thursday, April 7 at the regular meeting of the Castro Merchants business group.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the April 7 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 31, 2016 @ 3:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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