(2017, 85 min each)
Country: U. S.
Producer: Dustin Lance Black
Studio: ABC Studios
"When We Rise" chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs
and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women, who helped pioneer one of
the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the
20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today.
Starring in the miniseries are Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential) as LGBT
activist Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds, Angels in America) as women's rights
leader Roma Guy, Rachel Griffiths (Brothers and Sisters, Six Feet Under) as her wife,
social justice activist Diane, Michael K. Williams (Boardwalk Empire, The Wire) as
African American community organizer Ken Jones and Ivory Aquino as transgender
activist Cecilia Chung.
Joining them are Austin McKenzie (Spring Awakening) as Younger Cleve Jones, Emily
Skeggs (Fun Home) as Younger Roma Guy, newcomer Jonathan Majors as Younger Ken Jones,
and Fiona Dourif (The Master) as Younger Diane.
"When We Rise" is executive produced by the Dustin Lance Black (Milk, Big Love, J.
Edgar), Gus Van Sant (Milk, Elephant, Good Will Hunting) Laurence Mark (Julie & Julia,
Dreamgirls, I, Robot, Jerry Maguire), and Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Milk, Silver
Linings Playbook). Van Sant directs the two-hour premiere of the eight-hour mini-series
event. "When We Rise" is produced by ABC Studios.
A dramatization of the real life San Francisco centered fight for LGBT rights from
1972 to 2015 is presented, the LGBT community which arguably has had the most numerous
organized campaigns against them of any minority group to suppress those rights in the
United States during that time period. It focuses on the advocacy and other supportive
work of four individuals, Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, Diane Jones and Ken Jones, whose
experiences focus on different aspects of the issue.
Cleve's story focuses primarily on the political and legislative fight for gay and
ultimately LGBT rights. Roma's story focuses primarily on her fight for women's rights,
especially safe places for women, within that where she as a lesbian fits, ultimately
a fight for universal health care in San Francisco, and her personal relationships
particularly with Diane. Beyond that relationship with Roma, Diane's story focuses on
her work as a nurse in caring for AIDS patients, and her want as a lesbian to have a
Episode 1, April 1st
In 1972, calls for gay rights inspire a new movement.
Cleve flees his repressive family for San Francisco.
Episode 2, April 15th
Ken, Cleve and Roma fight the Briggs Initiative.
Roma moves to San Francisco to open a women's center.
Episode 3, May 6th
AIDS ravages the gay community during the 90's.
Cleve works on the Harvey Milk election campaign.
Episode 4, May 20th
Cleve inspires young activists to march on Washington.
A disease dubbed "gay cancer" starts killing gay men.
Episode 5, June 3rd
Ken enters a VA Hospital to receive HIV treatment.
Episode 6, June 17th
Cleve moves to Palm Springs for his health.
Episode 7, July 1st
Cleve inspires a group of activists to protest.
Episode 8, July 15th
Cleve, Ken and Roma are reunited at a wedding.