David France makes his directorial debut about the indelible protests and fights against the U.S. government’s ignorance against the HIV epidemic of the 1980s. How to Survive a Plague is a weighty and fierce subject that tells the unwavering power of human activism.
Official and informative synopsis can be read as follows:
“Faced with their own mortality an improbable group of young people, many of them HIV-positive young men, broke the mold as radical warriors taking on Washington and the medical establishment.
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is the story of two coalitions—ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. With unfettered access to a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and ’90s, filmmaker David France puts the viewer smack in the middle of the controversial actions, the heated meetings, the heartbreaking failures, and the exultant breakthroughs of heroes in the making.”
“Director/Producer David France is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author who has been writing about AIDS since 1982 and today is one of the best-known chroniclers of the epidemic. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, GQ, and New York magazine, where he is a contributing editor, and has received the National Headliner Award and the GLAAD Media Award, among others. Several films have been inspired by his work, most recently the Emmy-nominated Showtime film OUR FATHERS, for which he received a WGA nomination. He is at work on a major history of AIDS, due from Alfred A. Knopf in 2013. Based on decades of reporting, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is his directorial debut.”
Snapshots and official trailer can be viewed / streamed (respectively) down below.
Trailer for How to Survive a Plague.
DP / 30 interview with director David France at Sundance 2012 (~30 minutes).