Dustin Lance Black
Director and screenwriter Dustin Lee Black escaped a repressive childhood to explore the reality of gay life in a variety of film projects, including "On the Bus" (2001) and the acclaimed "Milk" (2008). Black found an escape from his strict religious upbringing in theater, which in turn introduced him to film production, where he began his career as a filmmaker with the critically praised "Journey of Jared Price" (2000) and "On the Bus," both of which examined identity and relationships among gay men with sensitivity and skill. He returned to his roots as a writer and co-producer on "Big Love" (HBO, 2006-11) before penning "Milk," a biographical feature on the life of San Francisco politician and activist Harvey Milk, whose life and tragic death inspired generations of gay adults to seek respect and representation for their own lives. The outpouring of praise from critics and award organizations for Black's script was a clear indication that he was soon to enter the top echelon of Hollywood writers.