We were lucky enough to have the chance to go to the Sundance Film Festival this year to satisfy (at least for a short while) our appetite for documentary films. Hands down our favorite film was How to Survive a Plague, which we’re excited to say we’ll be able to see again when we head to the True/False Film Fest at the beginning of March.
(It will be screened at the Missouri Theater, which is a big beautiful theater originally built in 1928 and which always manages to bowl over filmmakers who come to True/False as they look out over the capacity crowd.)
How to Survive a Plague tells the story of the origins of ACT UP and TAG, activist groups that, in the 80’s and 90’s, educated and committed themselves—often motivated by a very real desire to save their own lives—to demanding the development of and access to effective treatments for HIV/AIDS. The film uses footage of the activists at home, at demonstrations and in meetings, shot primarily on relatively low end consumer video cameras, which only serves to emphasize the intimacy and DIY nature of the movement. Watching the film, you are compelled to wonder if those who were engaged, who were watching their friends die, who were fearing for their own well-being, knew that their actions would literally result in millions of lives saved around the globe.
We should all be grateful to them for their bravery—and brilliance.
We’re excited to see how the film could have an impact beyond the confines of festivals and a theatrical release. Not only could it serve to educate and reignite commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but it could also serve to inspire new generations—and all of us—to see what a small but passionate group of people can make happen.
We hope you get a chance to see the film sometime soon. Stay tuned to this site because we’ll be sure to let you know when you can.