A look back at this day in film history
November 01
November 1, 1984
The First Milk Film

When Gus Van Sant’s biopic Milk premiered at San Francisco’s Castro Theater on 28 October 2008, it was not the first story of the slain politician to be appear there. In 1984, another Milk film, Rob Epstein’s documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, premiered at the Castro. The project, which had taken over six years to make, began when Milk was still alive. Director Epstein was living in San Francisco working on the documentary Word is Out when Harvey Milk emerged as pivotal figure in Californian politics. By 1978, Milk was leading the fight against Prop. 6 (aka The Briggs Initiative), and Epstein decided to document this campaign for a film he had tentatively named American Values in Conflict. It wasn’t till a few months later, when Epstein stood with the over 50,000 mourners who spontaneously marched down Market Street in a candlelight vigil for the slain Milk and Mayor George Moscone, that he realized the significance of his film project. Between paying gigs, Epstein researched, fundraised, wrote and recorded material for his film. He got playwright Harvey Fierstein, who was enjoying great success with his Torch Song Trilogy at the time, to narrate. Its premiere proved a momentous event both for the filmmakers and city, who could see with sadness and hope the events that had torn them apart years before. The film went on to win the Best Documentary Oscar.

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Adrienne Shelly November 1, 2006
Adrienne Shelly killed

Adrienne Shelly, one of independent film’s true stars of the 1990s and, with her features Sudden Manhattan, I’ll Take You There, and Waitress, a skilled director, died tragically November 1, 2006.

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November 1, 1938
The Lady Vanishes opens in US

When Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes opened in America, it confirmed his reputation as the best British director, although Hitchcock was hoping that the film would lead to him becoming one of Hollywood’s best as well.

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