Archives / 2012 Sundance Film Festival

How to Survive a Plague

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Director: David France

Screenwriters: David France, T. Woody Richman, Tyler Walk

Description

Faced with their own mortality, an improbable group of mostly HIV-positive young men and women 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.

Blisteringly powerful, How to Survive a Plague transports us back to a vital time of unbridled death, political indifference, and staggering resilience and constructs a commanding archetype for activism today.


(Archives note: see also David France's Meet The Artist interview on our YouTube Channel.)

— D.C.

Screening Details

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