2009 Academy Award ® Winner, Dustin Lance Black was the guest of honor at the second Bruce Geller Screenwriting Awards held last night, held at the American Jewish University.
The late Geller was the writer, creator and producers of the “Mission Impossible” TV series and also wrote and produced “Have Gun, Will Travel” and “Rawhide” that launched the career of actors such as Clint Eastwood.
The Bruce Geller Screenwriting Awards were established though the generosity of Geller’s wife, Jeannette who saw the realization of her dream with the Awards’ inaugural launch last year before she too passed away.
Writer, Joel Silverman won top honors with his spec script, “Barney Ross”, the story of a talmudic scholar turned boxing champion and WW II hero who is credited with helping Jews gain acceptance in America.
Runners up were “Eight Knights” by Caroline Carrigan and “Kabbalah” by Mark Levenson.
The president of the American Jewish University, Dr. Robert Wexler interviewed Dustin Lance Black in an informal TV talk show setting.
Black talked candidly about his coming out as a gay man, Prop 8 and his years of research on the Harvey Milk story. Black had originally lobbied hard to be hired to write a version of “Milk” for Warner Bros. After much detective work, travelling to San Francisco in order to track down friends and co-workers of Harvey Milk, Black was dismissed in a cool, off-handed way by Warner executives who told him they can’t give him the job because “he had never won an Academy Award.” Deeply disappointed, Black went on to write his own spec script that was eventually read by Gus Van Sant and the rest as they say, is history.
The evening included a cocktail and appetizer reception before the award presentation and dessert afterward.
Black spent the later reception posing for pictures and signing autographs.