575 Castro Street was the address of the camera and photo supply store owned by Harvey Milk in San Francisco during his years as one of the most visible gay rights activists in America and the first openly gay man elected to public office. Production designer Bill Groom recreated Milk's camera shop as it looked in 1977 as a major set for Gus Van Sant's film Milk, and filmmaker Jenni Olson also used the set as the location for her short film 575 Castro Street. The film is designed to recall the visual style of some of the experimental filmmakers who participated in the inaugural San Francisco Gay Film Festival in 1977, as light and shadow play against the walls of the store as sun shines through the shop windows. (Many of these early films were shot in Super 8, using equipment and film purchased and developed at Milk's store.) As we watch the subtle shifts of light on the walls, the soundtrack plays a recording made by Milk shortly before his death, in which he talks about the importance of the gay rights movement and his role in it. 575 Castro Street was an official selection at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival.
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