Stars, No on 8 Supporters Turn Out for S.F. Milk Premiere 

No on 8 protesters lined Castro Street, shouting at the top of their lungs for marriage equality as Hollywood gathered for the premiere of Gus Van Sant's Harvey Milk biopic. Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Diego Luna, and Sean Penn were all on hand. Penn, notoriously press-shy, got out of his car and went over to shake hands and give a thumbs-up to the protesters. It was a fitting celebration of a great man's legacy. 

BY Corey Scholibo

October 28 2008 11:00 PM ET

As I approached
the Castro Theatre Tuesday night in San Francisco for the
world premiere of Gus Van Sant’s long-awaited biopic
Milk, hundreds of No on 8 protesters lined
Castro Street behind the red carpet, shouting at the top of
their lungs. At the same time, a young girl, who was
riding her bike with her father, asked him,
“What is going on over there?”
“It’s a movie premiere,” he said,
“for a very great man named Harvey Milk.” And
then the two rode off down Market Street.

The juxtaposition
seemed to sum up the legacy of Harvey Milk in San
Francisco, a city that will never be the same because of
him. Castro Street was closed for the evening, and the
premiere’s red carpet was rolled out in
the middle of the street. Crowds gathered against
every barricade as Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco,
Diego Luna, and Sean Penn (who plays the title
role) all arrived. Penn, notoriously press-shy,
got out of his car and went over to shake hands and
give a thumbs-up to the protesters. Surprisingly, there were
no demonstrators in support of Proposition 8, the
ballot measure that would rescind marriage equality in
California.

The premiere was
a screening to benefit the Point Foundation. James
Shamus, the CEO of Milk's distributor, Focus
Features, took the stage to start the introductions,
announcing that over $200,000 had been raised that
evening. He first introduced a man who needs no
introduction in San Francisco -- the city’s
mayor, Gavin Newsom.

Newsom, like many
of the night’s guests, was wearing Levi’s
jeans, as Levi’s was the night's key sponsor.
Newsom, in turn, introduced Van Sant, calling him
“one of the greatest directors of our time.”
Van Sant, who spoke in a low, muffled voice that
could barely be heard around the auditorium,
joked that he hoped the film was any good.

Tags: film

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