It’s incredibly difficult for those of us who grew up gay after the 1980s to understand what it was like then, when a deadly, unknown disease was cutting a swathe through the gay population. The result of HIV and AIDS wasn’t just sickness and death, but a growing backlash against the forward strides the gay rights movement had made.
There have been some great documentaries on the subject, including the excellent We Were Here, which was released last year. Now another one is one the way, which focuses on the early days of the activist groups ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and TAG (Treatment Action Group). The trailer for How To Survive A Plague has just been released. The film reaches US cinemas on September 21st, but as yet it doesn’t appear a UK release has been set.
Here’s the synopsis: ‘HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is the story of the brave young men and women who successfully reversed the tide of an epidemic, demanded the attention of a fearful nation and stopped AIDS from becoming a death sentence. This improbable group of activists bucked oppression and, with no scientific training, infiltrated government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry, helping to identify promising new medication and treatments and move them through trials and into drugstores in record time. In the process, they saved their own lives and ended the darkest days of a veritable plague, while virtually emptying AIDS wards in American hospitals in the process. The powerful story of their fight is a classic tale of empowerment and activism that has since inspired movements for change in everything from breast cancer research to Occupy Wall Street. Their story stands as a powerful inspiration to future generations, a road map, and a call to arms. This is how you change the world.
‘Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/New films, San Francisco International FF, Provincetown FF, Outfest Documentary Centerpiece, Seattle International FF’
You can find out more at the film’s official website.