Upstairs Inferno has been in the works for a while know, and know we can get a fresh look at this documentary that looks at one of the most terrible – yet little known – events in LGBT history. The new teaser comes just as the film’s latest crowdfunding effort raised much of money it needs to cover the exorbitant licensing fees for historical newspaper photographs and newsreels.
On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to a gay bar in New Orleans called the Up Stairs Lounge. The result was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the tragedy. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified because their families were ashamed that the victims were gay. No one was ever charged with the crime.
The tragedy did not stop at the loss of lives.There were also the delayed injuries: lost jobs, fear, public ridicule and severed families. The devastation was compounded by the homophobic reactions and utter lack of concern by the general public, government and religious leaders. The fire permanently altered lives and was the root of many lifelong struggles.
According to the makers, Upstairs Inferno is poised to be the most comprehensive and authoritative film on the fire. Interviews with survivors and witnesses to the aftermath have been heart wrenching and insightful. Some of the people we interviewed haven’t discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. The documentary also features interviews with historians, experts and current leaders of the New Orleans LGBT community. Police reports, crime scene photographs, personal photographs, newspaper clippings and video clips from local news stations are also featured in the film.