See “Gay USA” at the Stonewall Stage

pridefest_milwaukee_gayusaCelebrate pride history with this special Stonewall Stage film screening!

National Gay Freedom Day marches in June 1977 are vibrantly captured across the country in this groundbreaking historical documentary, beautifully restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive in collaboration with Frameline and Outfest.

Director Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. (best known for his 1985 gay drama Buddies) mobilized camera crews across the country to document the national Gay Freedom Day marches in June 1977.

As an estimated 250,000 celebrants enjoy the 1977 festivities in San Francisco, Bressan’s camera crews interview dozens of attendees who share their stories: the lesbian couple who fled the homophobia of Wichita; the self-proclaimed androgynous hermaphrodite who describes feeling “like a whole person instead of just half a person;” the older straight woman ally who explains that, “Whenever any one group in our society is attacked, we all must come to their aid;” and the irresistible guy standing in the middle of Market Street who proclaims: “Today I’m more than gay, I’m jubilant.”

Gay USA conveys the passion, anger, and defiant optimism of a community under attack. In that month alone, California’s anti-gay Briggs Initiative had just been announced, Anita Bryant’s vicious homophobia had helped repeal Miami’s gay rights ordinance, and only days earlier Robert Hillsborough had been the victim of a fatal gay-bashing in San Francisco. Bressan weaves in audio of some of those homophobic voices and gives an overview of historical homophobia, including an account of gays and the Holocaust—and then illustrates the triumphant power of love and pride.

About the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival

Presenting regional premieres of films by, for, and about the LGBTQ community, the Milwaukee LGBT Film/ Video Festival unspools narrative features, documentaries, short films, experimental work, presentations from visiting artists, and more! The Festival is presented by the Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.