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.
The film has been hailed as a “moving and meticulous documentary about AIDS activism in the late ’80s and early ’90s” by the New York Times, and “electrifying” by the Los Angeles Times. So far, it has been nominated for three Cinema Eye Awards, and is the recipient of the International Documentary Association’s Emerging Filmmaker Award as well as the Gotham Awards' Best Documentary Winner.
The film screening will be followed by a brief Q&A with David France, Director of the film, and Gregg Gonsalves, leading AIDS activist and former Open Society Fellow who is featured in the film. The Q&A will be moderated by Brett Davidson, Project Director of the Health Media Initiative of the Open Society Public Health Program.